Making a scene and/or alienating members of the staff are rarely the most effective ways to resolve an issue at a restaurant. Employ a little low-key diplomacy to set things right.
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Give your order clearly.
Make your requests for service or changes in service tactfully. If you and your business partners are about to be seated next to a family with several youngsters, you might say, "We were hoping for a quiet place to conduct a meeting. All of us would be more comfortable over there."
Avoid placing blame directly on an employee or directing disappointment or hostility toward a specific person.
Excuse yourself from the table and quietly ask to speak with the manager if you cannot get the service you expect.
Write to the restaurant about your complaint if the manager does not or cannot address it immediately. This will give the manager time to investigate, to help you attain resolution, and to help the restaurant solve a potentially recurring problem.
Notify your local health department if your complaint concerns more than an incidental health or safety issue. Notify the Food and Drug Administration to report a serious adverse reaction to products that the agency regulates.
Tips and warnings
- You can avoid a lot of problems by communicating special requests clearly when making reservations, arriving on time, and confirming that your requests have been addressed before you're seated.
- Always ask how long it will take to be seated and served when you're visiting a restaurant without a reservation.
- Enlist the help of customer complaint Web sites to resolve disputes. UGetHeard.com offers templates for you to type your complaint, along with what you would like the company to do. It then forwards the complaint to the company and follows up. Feedback Direct and The Complaint Station, likewise, will send complaints to the appropriate parties and will log in the number of complaints a company receives.