Chateaux Cordeillan-Bages, the view from the restaurant in Pauillac

At 34 years old, most of us would find it hard to count the number of restaurants we visited in our lives. I find it even harder to understand why most (practically all) restaurants are not curious to understand why I came to their restaurant, what I thought of the experience, and finally why they haven’t done anything to attract me back.

Was the food good, the service fine, the wine list to your liking?

Very few (the best ones) have the capability of handling their diners impeccably. These places know what you enjoy eating and drinking and delivery quality in their food, wine and service. Moreover they have the guts to sit down for a few minutes and genuinely ask whether the experience they have just provided may be improved, whether it is about the food, wine, service or anything else the visitor feels he or she would like to share. Cherry on the cake……they act on that feedback.

For the rest, that is 95% of restaurants, they need help. Most owners are chefs and spend most of their time in the kitchen. If they are not in the kitchen, there is no guarantee they have the guts to ask for feedback. Let’s call this pride.

The ideal situation involves the crew interacting with the diner, understanding what went well and what didn’t and then taking action. To wrap it up, collect the diner’s details and then inform him or her about new dishes, wines or any events in the future. The ones that have foresight would also trap this information by using technology to their advantage.

But what if this isn’t happening? In most cases restaurants are not inquisitive enough about the experience of their diners. Isn’t this wrong? Does it take so much effort to understand who is eating at your place and understand whether he or she really enjoyed it or not.

Seems like it does. I am loyal to those brands that deliver and at times exceed my expectations but I am also loyal to those brands that want to know more about what I think of them and are ready to take action if they believe it could make a difference.

If collecting data is considered to be an issue (it is NOT), I would just do one thing. Ask for genuine feedback and resist getting defensive when being criticized.

One Response to Scared of feedback

  1. Agreed. Another issue is the total lack of customer database systems. I book the same restaurants and each time they ask me for my cellphone number. Would’nt be great if they can link their kitchen/ordering systems and they have a history of each time I dine, what i ate, my favourite wine and my birthday etc. After dining x times it would be nice to be invited for a complimentary bottle of wine or receive a complimentary meal after spending €x…..

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