Complain with flair

Holiday Inn ~ RestaurantLast night several of us were at a new restaurant in town to celebrate a friend’s new job. It was 7:00; prime dining time in crowded Palm Beach, but that’s just part of the dining experience in this town. What is not part of the experience however is poor service; no one expects service failures, but no one wants to see a party of four raising their voices, losing their tempers, or threatening the servers.

The other party had been seated near us, so it wasn’t hard to watch the action. The servers had undoubtedly been slow to bring the food, slow to respond to the diners’ repeated demands for more bread and for more drinks. Someone’s dinner was too well done; another person’s dinner was not done enough; it was the table of doom, but did all the diners in the restaurant have to be a part of the drama? So this is what has given me the idea to list and briefly describe how to complain the right way:

– No matter how angry you get, bite your tongue before you lose your temper. It may give you a moment’s satisfaction, but it doesn’t solve anything.
– Remain calm and clear when you are expressing your complaints. Don’t be accusatory; explain what your complaints are and explain it in detail. For instance, if service is slow, and you feel you have had to wait much too long for your salad or your soup, explain that to the manager. Be firm, but don’t be rude, sarcastic, or insulting.
– Complain constructively. Suggest the servers handle less tables and hire more staff to accommodate the crowds. If a party of six has a reservation at a specific time, and the party is still waiting after an appreciable amount of time, suggest the hosting staff take another look at a better solution.
– Don’t accept a free dessert or complimentary drinks as the solution. Many times managers find it easier to send over a round of drinks to express their apology, but that doesn’t solve the problem of terrible service or food improperly prepared.
– All complaints should be followed up in writing. If the restaurant is a chain, the complaint is likely to makes its way to management.
– Give the organization one more chance.

    photo credit: prayitno