Handling complaints in food and beverage service

The success of food and beverage operations is ensured when the needs and expectations of the guests are met. Guests prefer the restaurants mostly based on the meal experience they had during the last visit and if the experience was bad, they would go to some other restaurant thus, making the first restaurant lose its potential customer.

Complaints from the food and beverage operations are basically of two types.

  • Food-related
  • Attitude related

Food-related complaints are:

  • Menu – Not much variety offered, common dietary needs are not met, availability of dishes, etc.
  • Not prepared according to the guest, ‘s requirement.
  • Bad quality
  • Poor presentation.
  • Too oily, spicy, salty.
  • Poor portion size
  • Burnt taste

Complaints related to staff behavior will come under the second category. Most of the complaints of this nature involve service staff. Some of the examples are the following:

  • Arguing with guests
  • Delaying the service
  • Expecting the tips
  • Ignoring the guests
  • Poor personal grooming

Some guests will complain if there is anything serious directly to the captain or manager. when guests make complains

  • Show genuine interest and listen to the complaints carefully.
  • Do not interrupt and wait for them to complete.
  • Be empathetic

Then politely say, sorry sir, I will certainly do the best that I can, and refer to the higher authority for decision. The answer that the service staff gives depends on the situation, authority, and policy of the management. To satisfy the guests who complain effectively, empowering the staff is the best way.

The guests with complaints expect quick solutions and really do not want to wait for the managers to arrive at the scene. This can be achieved by assigning more authority to the staff. Delayed action on complaints lodged may aggravate the situation.

It is the responsibility of the supervising staff to analyze the root cause for the complaints and necessary corrective action and ensure such complaints do not occur.

All complaints made and the action taken would be recorded in a notebook for future reference. Adequate training for the staff will decrease, if not stop, the number of complaints definitely.

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