How Do Restaurants Handle Customer Complaints? Here Are Four Steps For You!

When restaurant managers discuss their business experience privately, they believe that customers’ awareness of rights protection was getting stronger. Once the customer’s complaint is not handled properly, you might need to spend more money to cover the loss of your customers; or, the customer will complain to the news media or relevant departments. This will have negative effects on the restaurant’s reputation and fortune. If the “four-step method of handling customer complaints” can be used flexibly, it will be of great help to lessen customer complaints.

Step one, Listen to the complaints


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It is crucial that a waiter does not try to defend or explain the reason for the complaint to the customer based solely on imagination. Instead, the waiter has to listen to the customer’s frustration with a humble attitude and try to pinpoint the root of the problem.
Some customers complain just because they want the waiter to listen to the chatter, not because they want to cause trouble with the restaurant. If the waiter can listen carefully and give a small gift in time, such as a fruit plate, the complaint may end there. If the customer refuses the waiter’s explanation, ask the waiter to “call your manager, ” the waiter should immediately go to the second step.

Step two, Escalate customers’ complaints to superiors

The waiter should immediately find the foreman or the supervisor, report the customer’s complaint, and ask the superior to solve it. If the manager arrives at the scene right away, the customer will feel “they are highly valued,” and the complaint may end here. If the customer is still not satisfied, immediately ask the food and beverage director or the vice president of operations to come forward and go to the third step.

Step three, Ask and answer

If you are at this point, you really have nowhere to go. You must stabilize the emotions of the customers, and then find a solution that they can accept.
A more passive situation is that where the customer questions and you answer, such as “Is the quality of your dishes like this?” “, “Is your service so terrible?”, “Why is your serving speed so slow?” There is no way to answer such questions; if you don’t agree with the customer, you will have to argue with them. If you agree with their statement, the customer will think the restaurant has no principle in handling complaints and will ask for an unreasonable amount of compensation. Therefore, you have to learn how to respond to your customers, that is, to ask questions instead of answering so that you can take the initiative in the dialogue. For example, if the customer asks, “How are you going to deal with today’s affairs?”, you can answer, “How do you think it will be handled well?”, and ask the customer to state their opinions first. If it is difficult for both parties to reach an agreement, the store should consciously move to the fourth step.

Step four, Divert customers’ attention


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The restaurant’s method of handling customers’ complaints should prioritize not hurting the customers’ feelings so that the customers will continue to revisit the restaurant regardless of their previous complaints. Therefore, emotional communication in negotiation is very crucial. However, it is difficult to reach an agreement in a short period of time. It is important that your catering director gradually shifts the topic to the content that customers are interested in, so you appear as smart, decisive, and reasonable in front of everyone; then create a friendly and relaxed environment for your customers to converse in. Make the customers feel as if the restaurant’s staff are their best friends, thus laying the groundwork for problem-solving.
In order to increase the proficiency of employees in handling customer complaints, you can design the following small exercises to train them.
Each training consists of two groups of three people.
One group will act like customers, expressing dissatisfaction with the restaurant’s service. They can do what the customers usually do to them, do everything possible to find faults, and the winning criterion for them is not to pay a penny, asking the restaurant to serve their meal for free.
The other group will play the part of the restaurant, namely the waiter, manager, and store manager. Their criteria for winning are that they can’t offer discounts or gifts, but can only comfort them with good words and use skills to resolve customer dissatisfaction.
As a result of such rules, it is impossible to end in a draw, and the two teams must try to find the opponent’s weaknesses and attack with gusto, so as to practice their on-the-spot reactions and language skills.
After one set is over, switch to another set.
No matter how a company deals with customer complaints, its attitude towards the customer should be sincere, regardless of the method used. It’s not just for the sake of reducing problems for waiters, but also to prevent customers from getting angry and having a terrible impression of your restaurant. Understanding this principle is fundamental. Even if your skills are excellent, if you do not have the right attitude and practice the right method, you will not be able to satisfy your customers and risk losing them as well as the reputation you’ve set for your restaurant.

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