We've all heard the saying "Don't f*ck with people who handle your food".
|Whatever you do, don't be her. +10 Life Points if you can name the movie.|
Here's some handy hints for not being an arse when giving feedback in the hospitality industry.
1. First up, do recognize that different places cater for different tastes and audiences. If you walk into a tapas bar and then complain about the portion sizes, you're a dick. If you are not interested in trying new experiences or are after something specific, do your research (ie. read the restaurant's online menu) before going out.
2. Do make the effort to be civil to your service staff. Even when giving criticism, keep in mind you are one of many people your server is looking after, likely over a long shift. If your problem is to do with the food? Your server is the one who has to relay that to the chefs. If your problem is with the prices? Guess what - your server doesn't set them. If you had a crappy server experience? Berating your server directly isn't constructive - they obviously need more training which is a management issue. If you are enough of a fuckwit to make your server cry? It then adversely affects every single one of their other customers. Good job, asshole.
3. If you have a dietary preference, do communicate this; but don't be the asshat who claims to be anaphylactic when you are not. There is a tremendous amount of work for the chefs to prevent cross contamination when the latter is involved, whereas 'no cheese for table seven, or people will be enjoying their meals to the nasal accompaniment of Eau de Colon' is usually an easy fix which doesn't involve scrubbing half the kitchen in the middle of service.
3.5. Continuation from point #3 ... know about your own damn allergies. While there is a learning curve involved when beginning the process of cutting out a particular food component from your diet, it is ultimately your responsibility to know if rice contains gluten or not (handy hint: feed it to the anaphylactic diner and wait ten minutes to find out).
4. Don't be the twit who does the name/place drop. The only reason to do this is because you expect either better service or free stuff. You know what? Any restaurant worth their salt will treat all customers equally - whether you're John Diddly-Doe or Heston Blumenthal's own mother. If you are an Australian who utters the phrase 'I'm from Melbourne, I know good coffee/service/tapas/whatever' ... please, for the love of Cthulhu, stop. No-one gives a fuck, you pretentious twat.
5. If you are asked about your meal or experience, don't say 'fine' and then go bitching online. We get it - a lot of folks don't like direct confrontation, particularly when food is involved. Different people, different palates, yada-yada. I absolutely do the /mutter/yeahgood/mutter/. If where you are dining is conscious enough to meal-check you, appreciate the effort - if you are too self-conscious to speak up for your preferences, then you should take that on the nose like a goddamn gentlemen.
5. Consider the best course for giving feedback. Rating websites might be considered the bane of the modern dining industry, because many people don't consider point #1 at the top of this list. I have also witnessed a reasonable amount of 'gaming' that goes on by owners and employees which absolutely skews ratings as well. If you really want to ensure your voice is heard, as opposed to generically bitching about it online (or as you may justify it, dutifully warning others) there is absolutely the option to email the manager or owners directly. While it might take an extra two minutes of your time (gasp!) that minuscule amount of extra effort will be appreciated much more by any owner or manager who's worth their salt.