Probortunities in Restaurant Customer Complaints

Consider a complaint as a “probortunity”.  Turn a problem into an opportunity to show outstanding customer service.  Customers could silently leave with a negative impression, however, by making you aware of their concerns, you have a chance to make it right and turn around that impression.  You can make the experience a memorable one and give the customer something to share with others, increasing the chance that that customer will return and new customers will visit your establishment.

Successfully handling a customer complaint is a simple series of steps.

  1. Listen to the customer’s concern.  Look him or her in the eyes and let him or her continue uninterrupted to air the grievance.
  2. Genuinely accept responsibility and apologize for not meeting the customer’s expectations.
  3. Act quickly to remedy the situation.  Expedite any replacement food or beverages to the customer.
  4. Check back with the customer afterward to be sure they are pleased with the replacement.  Have the entire staff deliver top quality service for the customer’s entire stay.
  5. Thank the guest for his or her feedback and patience.
  6. Get a business card from the customer or an email/phone number to follow up the next day to reinforce your concern and gratitude for their patronage.  Make a special offer for his or her next visit.


Based on the teachings of The Little Brown Book of Restaurant Success by Bob Brown.