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It is time to talk seriously about a phenomenon that is often commented on on the Internet in a humorous way: negative reviews of restaurants. It is funny, or at least curious, to read some of the craziest reviews that customers leave when they are not satisfied with the quality or quantity of the food or the service.
Restaurants, on the other hand, do not find it funny that their potential customers depend on what an angry customer has said or has not said, often hot and without foundation (other times, bad reviews seem deserved) . The old motto of “the customer is always right” has been left behind and more and more owners decide to refute the customer with memorable responses.
Desiree Maldonado is a floor manager at Old Skool Cafe, a San Francisco restaurant. Maldonado understands the reason why people leave bad reviews: when you are angry, you want to vent, to be listened to and to be proved right. However, she maintains that there are more constructive methods for both the customer and the restaurant to win.
“Leaving a review serves as catharsis, but unfortunately it has real consequences for the restaurant. Especially in a restaurant like ours, where many young people who have had a very hard life work. A review motivated by anger that does not take into account the difficulties of managing a restaurant can do a lot of damage, ”says Maldonado.
No reader imagines his city without restaurants. If you want to help them emerge from the pandemic, you should consider the following factors before leaving a destructive review to make yourself feel better.
Talk to the restaurant employees
“Before leaving a bad review, talk to an employee right there. If it is not possible because they are so busy, sometimes it is better to wait to reflect with a cool head. Call the next day when the restaurant isn’t busy and they’re not overly stressed yet, and talk to them before you write your review. You may discover that there was an unforeseen event that made you change your perspective ”. – Neomi Negron, owner of Buggy Pops in North Carolina.
“I appreciate a lot when someone sends me an email and tells me that their experience has not been good, because that way I can analyze what happened and solve it, whether it is a problem with the workers or a flavor adjustment, which is not usually the case. When someone tells me about their bad experience at my restaurant, I take it more seriously. If it’s a rude public review, I don’t take it that seriously. ” – Erika Thomas, owner of High Point Creamery, Denver.
A little understanding
“I think we all deserve some understanding. The world of leisure and restaurants has suffered greatly from the pandemic and many restaurants that had been open for decades have closed. Thousands of people have lost their jobs. Many have become ill or have family members who have become ill. Everyone is trying to get back to normal despite the difficulties and we should treat each other with more kindness and patience. ” – Maldonado.
Be specific, even when leaving a positive review
“One of the best ways to help right now is to mention the people who serve you. Having someone come to eat at our restaurant and remember our name is incredible. It says a lot about our passion and our customer service. When a customer reviews that one of our waiters has treated them well, he tells the other customers that we do our job well ”. – Alexa Delgado, waitress at a Florida spa.
Remember that the restaurant employees are there to help you
“I just ask that customers be kind and understanding. If we say no to something, there is probably a reason behind it, it is not because we like to contradict you. The restaurant employees want to help you. It’s what we’re good at. It fills me with satisfaction when a customer leaves the restaurant and says they plan to return. It is a great compliment. Of all the restaurants you can choose from, you want to come back here. When a client complains that we cannot give him a table, it hurts us. I wish we could, but we can’t because of the capacity ”. – Slim.
Keep in mind that restaurants are still hurting from the pandemic crisis
“The industry is still shaking. We have not yet survived the pandemic because the pandemic is not over yet. Our income has dropped, but our bills and rental prices are just going up. We have not yet recovered the money we invested in adapting the restaurant to the pandemic. Most restaurants will take years to get out of this. People’s habits have changed, perhaps forever, and many restaurants are rebuilding themselves from scratch. Finding workers is also difficult because many have left the industry. Some of our workers died from coronavirus. In the United States, more cooks have died than in any other profession ”. – Will Emery, co-owner and chef of Tannat in Manhattan.
The restaurant can’t control everything, but a bad review can do a lot of damage
“The cost of our raw materials has increased between 30% and 50%, not to mention other problems that are beyond our control. It was not our fault we ran out of wings after our suppliers had to close several times due to the pandemic. I do my best, like any other restaurant, and it is grossly unfair to get a negative review for something that is completely beyond our control. ” – Matt Coggin, owner of DBA Barbecue, in Atlanta.
Read critically all restaurant reviews
“I think you need to get a general idea of the restaurant’s reviews and pay attention to the issues that customers highlight most often, not just the negative. Is there a dish that customers do not stop naming? Is there a special time or event that encourages you to visit the restaurant? Do the reviews mention the kind of outdoor terrace the restaurant has? Does it fit what you are looking for? These reviews can be very helpful in finding a restaurant to your liking. Everyone has lazy days, so a negative review or two shouldn’t tip the balance one way or the other. ” – Maldonado.
This article was originally published in the ‘HuffPost’ United States and has been translated from English by Daniel Templeman Sauco.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.