In a perfect world, there would be no problems whatsoever. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and therefore have to deal with situations in which the people we interact are not satisfied or encounter difficulties. This is certainly true with food and beverage management. Ensuring that guests are fully satisfied and their problems resolved is a major component of having a successful food and beverage establishment.
It is vital that food and beverage personnel be fully trained and effective in dealing with guest problems and complaints. A restaurant manager should institute continual training procedures to ensure that personnel maintain a high level of awareness and proficiency in this area. The old adage that “the guest is always right” is an integral component to the success of food and beverage operations. Here are some highlights on dealing with guest complaints that can be found in our restaurant SOP.
When personnel become aware of a problem, they should take responsibility for it. It doesn’t matter if this staff person was directly involved in the problem itself or not. Their job once it has come to their attention is to resolve it. Staff should then hear the guest out, being attentive and concerned about the situation. Ask questions if there is a need for clarity. When appropriate, staff should apologize for any perceived or actual error. Finally, ensure the guest that you are going to assist with the problem and proceed to do so or seek the necessary assistance to do so. Also, the restaurant manager should be informed of the problem regardless if staff is able to resolve the issue or not.
In the event that a guest’s problem is not resolvable by immediate staff, the problem should be directed to the manager or immediate supervisor. In this instance, staff is responsible with providing managers with all the details so that an informed decision and course of action can be determined. The one thing you do not want to have happen is to frustrate the guest further by having them repeatedly explain the problem.
Nevertheless, managers should be completely aware of all problems and complaints that occur in the restaurant. In this way, a restaurant manager can ensure that guests receive a level of satisfactory resolution. Managers should follow up any guest complaint with an apology from management. In addition, the problem should be noted or logged so that it will not be repeated by other personnel.
In fact, it is a really good idea for a restaurant manager to maintain guest service logs that track problems and resolutions. This is also a good way to make sure that when a guest who experiences a problem returns, that the establishment pays a little special attention to them. This is also a good way to show guests special recognition as well.
A restaurant manager, if they remain active on the floor and visible, will be able to provide staff and guests with additional guest service support. In fact, by being attentive, managers can often head off a problem before it occurs. A detailed restaurant SOP will go a long way to ensure that guest service concerns are efficiently and effectively addresses.