The Guest Isn’t Always Right

Now before I upset anyone out there with the title of this blog post, just read on and hear me out.

From time to time there is going to be differences in opinions, from how a steak is cooked, the taste of a drink, the temperature, the lighting and a whole array of other things in a restaurant. We all have our own view, and so do our guests.

When it comes down to it, it’s not a matter of who is right and who is wrong, it’s a matter of giving our guests what they want and keeping them happy.

If your guest says that their steak is overcooked, don’t tell them “no it isn’t, it’s how it should be”. Instead, ask them how it is they want it to look (still some blood in the middle, no red on the inside, no pink at all, etc., get specifics from them). Cooking temperatures can range from a restaurant to restaurant and sometimes people get used to how it’s done one way, then they go somewhere else and get it another way.

It’s never a good result when a server or manager stands at the table, with a plate of food in hand, and they are trying to indirectly tell the guest that they are wrong. Yes, there are times where a guest of yours is blatantly wrong, but that doesn’t mean you have to go head-to-head with them to prove that they are wrong. If you do, then they will have no choice but to defend their opinion and if you get to this stage there is no going back, you will upset the guest and will probably hurt your tip.

The simple solution is to just ask what it is they wanted, listen well, then work on getting them what they want (providing they aren’t asking you for something unrealistic or impossible).

If you come across a problematic guest where it seems like there is nothing to do to get them what they want/need then this may be time to speak with a manager (more than likely you already have because of the first time there was a problem), not because you can’t resolve the problem yourself, but a problematic guest feels like they are being taken care of when there are multiple people trying to fix their issue. They also feel a little special because the manager (who to the guest is seen as the “higher-powers” and leaders of the restaurant staff) is trying to help them too.

Another good reason for bringing in a manager for back up is that it eliminates from the guest’s mind that the server is incompetent or purposely sabotaging their experience (well, unless that’s what they’re actually trying to do). Some people think that their server is out to get them and will do devious things during their entire experience in the restaurant, it’s clearly not the case.

At the end of the day we are not going into battle with our guests, we are all trying to achieve a common goal, we are trying to show our tables a great time, feed them delicious food and beverages, and allow them to have a good night whether they are alone, with someone or in a party.

Thanks for reading.