3 Common Restaurant Customer Complaints and How to Handle Them

No matter how hard you try, there is no way you can please everyone. Customers won’t be happy with your service, your food or something completely different – and there is nothing you can do about it. Yes, you can do your best when it comes to preparing food and keeping your service up to par. But you cannot keep everyone happy and that’s a fact.

In order to help you discover the most frequent restaurant customer complaints and use them to your advantage, take a look at the most common ones and find out how you should handle them.

1) Complaints about tidiness

These complaints are usually the biggest turn off for customers and are not easy for restaurants to handle as well. Customers can complain about dirty utensils, dirty table or dirty restroom.

The first thing you need to know as a restaurant owner that these issues happen to even the best restaurants in the world and they are not the end of the world. If you have a busy night in your restaurant, some utensils may end being poorly cleaned. However, what does make a difference is how you handle this situation.

When a customer complains about some dirty utensils for instance, the first thing you need to do is to apologize immediately. Then, provide them with clean ones and offer them a free appetizer or free drinks. In this way you will use this unfortunate situation to your advantage and your customers won’t leave your restaurant unhappy.

2) Complaints about the service

There are usually two types of service complaints. One of them is related to the staff that doesn’t have enough information about the food or drinks, and the other one is related to the staff being rude to customers. 

If your customers complain that your employees don’t know all about the food and drinks they serve, what you can do is to make sure that you teach them all that is necessary. Only in this way will you prevent these complaints from happening over and over again. But what you can do straight away is to apologize to your customers and to transfer your customers to another employee who knows all about the given food and drinks.

The other type of complaints directed at your staff being rude is solved in a similar manner. First, you need to call another staff member that can take over these customers. And then you need to make sure that your employees understand what it takes to communicate effectively. Encourage them to use positive body language and to actively listen to customers. If you want all your employees to communicate efficiently with customers, organize workshops with them from time to time and you will be happy with the results.

3) Complaints about the food

Complaints about the food are rather frequent as you imagine. However, as with the previously mentioned complaints, you can learn from them as well. If some of them repeat over and over again, you can inspect them and find out whether you need to change something. But what you can do straight away when someone complains is to apologize and to offer to either replace their meal completely or to fix it. That depends on the complaint itself, so you will have to be the judge of that. And of course, you can always offer a free drinks or dessert to make up for the mistake that your staff perhaps made.

There is no generic solution to each and every type of complaint, but what you can do is to apologize straight away. In this way you will let your customers know that you care about their opinion. Also, you can offer them a free meal, drinks or a coupon when they come next time – this is completely up to you. As long as you listen to them and show them that you care about their opinion – everything will be fine.

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