Satisfied customers are the key to success for any restaurant. Occasionally, complaint in the restaurant industry is inevitable due to different customer with different personalities and different expectations. Certainly restaurant owners have experienced a complaint from dissatisfied customer in their years or months or days of running their business.
That is why it is important to know how to handle, respond and deal with to customer complaints. Below are tips on how to reply to a complaint on poor service at a restaurant or negative restaurant reviews.
Sample Restaurant Complaint Letter Response
_______________ [Name Of Restaurant Manager],
_______________ [Customer’s Name],
_______________ [Customer’s Address],
_______________ [City, State]
Dear [Enter customer’s first name],
I’m terribly sorry to hear you had a negative experience at our _______________ [Enter Name Of Restaurant] on _______________ [Day in weeks like Monday] and received an [state meal/snacks ordered] that didn’t meet your expectations. We strive to provide only the best-quality food to our valuable customers.
Your feedback is vital to our success, and we will be using this as a learning experience to improve our dessert menu. I’ve already spoken to our chefs about this, and we’ll be adjusting the recipe.
To make up for your negative experience, I’d like to offer you two free desserts the next time you visit. Please see the gift card enclosed. I hope we’ll see you again soon.
_______________ [Enter restaurant owner’s name]
_______________ Owner, [Enter name of restaurant]
Response To Long Wait to be Seated or Served Complaint
When customers complain about the long wait on a Saturday night, respond with empathy but encourage them to make a reservation in the future. You might say, “I’m sorry about the wait. We tend to get very busy on Saturday nights! We offer online reservations if you’d like to make one for your next visit.” Then include the link to your reservations page.
You’ve also likely seen people point to empty tables and say, “But that one’s open!” Customers may complain about this online as well. One way to respond is to say, “We know how odd it looks when you see open tables and are told there’s a wait. We do our best to seat everyone ASAP, and those tables are being held for reservations. If you’d like to make one, please visit [Enter LINK to restaurant].”
Response To Long Wait for Delivery Complaint
First, make sure that hosts and kitchen staff are communicating about how long a food order will take to prepare. Then, factor in drive times and traffic before giving the guest an estimate. Then, be sure you address the situation with your delivery service or driver to make sure they didn’t run into any issues during the delivery.
Still, things happen and sometimes deliveries take longer than expected. If you can communicate with the customer, offer a sincere apology along with a credit for a comped appetizer or dessert on their next order.
Response To Food was Overpriced or Poor Value for Money Complaint
You might say: “The market price for that particular seafood ingredient tends to fluctuate, but we charge what we do because we source the highest quality possible. We’d love for you to give us another try. Our happy hour has excellent prices on similar, appetizer-style dishes!”
Response To Food Not to Their Liking Complaint
You can’t please everyone, but you can try. Locate the source of the complaint; was the food sitting out too long before being served? Look for bottlenecks on the line. Is the sandwich bread soggy? Perhaps you need a different type of bun.
Try saying something like: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy your experience. I will speak to the kitchen manager to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you’d like to give us another try, we’d love to make it up to you.” You can say this in person or in a message over social media.
If you can swing a comped meal or a round of drinks, offer it up. If the customer posted online about a bad experience, they might also be willing to share how your restaurant made it right.
Response To Food Poisoning Complaint
“We are so sorry to hear this, and this is the first case we’ve heard about. Could you please email [email@example.com] and let us know more about your meal? Our chef will also inspect the kitchen and ensure all ingredients meet our quality expectations.”
Taking the conversation into a more private sphere could save you public grief from a frustrated, sick, and angry customer. Even if the complaint is private, keeping in good communication will show that you’re genuinely interested in your customers’ wellbeing.
Response To Unable to Accommodate Dietary Restrictions Complaint
Even if you can’t accommodate guests with dietary restrictions, now’s your time to be a good neighbor. If you genuinely can’t work with them, try to provide another solution. Suggest other restaurants in the area that are better suited to their needs. Your neighboring restaurant will appreciate it, and the customer will, too.
Try saying: “We don’t offer vegan options here, but we are five minutes away from [neighboring restaurant], which serves gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.”
Response To Rude Service Complaint
You can reply by saying; “Thank you for the feedback. We’ll discuss this with our staff ASAP and hope you’ll give us a second chance soon.”
OR you might write: “I’m so sorry; poor service is inexcusable. Would you mind emailing [firstname.lastname@example.org] and letting us know what happened?”
Response To Delivery Arrived Cold Complaint
Start by having a plan for food delivery to uphold the integrity of the food from the time it leaves the premises to the time it arrives on your guest’s table. If you are doing your own delivery, make sure to use insulated food delivery bags to keep the food warm during transport. You should also pack cold foods separately from hot foods. If you partner with a third party delivery service, make sure they have food safety and food temperature protocols in place.
If you receive a guest complaint that their food arrived cold, it’s hard to rectify without being there in person. Still, do what you can to make it right. Offer a credit for a comped appetizer or dessert next time, and double-check your take-out procedures to make sure you’re doing all you can on your end.
Response To Anything Gross Complaint
When you see an online complaint about something gross happening in your restaurant, respond right away. If the post is public, comment as soon as possible requesting that the customer email your manager to describe when and where the incident happened. Then, privately reply letting the customer know that this is certainly not normal and that you’re taking every measure to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Those precautions may include setting pest traps, hiring an exterminator, or revisiting cleanliness and hygiene training with your staff.
Response To Order Mixup Complaint
Restaurant kitchens can be busy, miscommunications happen, and order mixups might occur here and there. Be sure to find out exactly what went wrong so that you can fix it as quickly as possible. If you can, take away the incorrect item and promise to return right away with the right order.
If for some reason the customer posts about the issue on social media, message the guest privately to find out what happened. Then, offer some sort of compensation. Mail the guest a gift card or offer a coupon, and encourage them to come back to give you a second chance.
Rule number one! Avoid responding via social media. When handling service complaints, take the conversation offline. While customer venting on social media can be frustrating, try and rectify the situation if you can.