More in the category of social media manners matter.
Recently, a friend of mine posted their experience at an upscale restaurant in a closed group that is supposed to be about restaurant reviews and more. They weren’t nasty. They loved the food, but there were other parts of the overall restaurant experience outside of the food that bothered them.
Things like driving some distance to a restaurant that said they had valet parking only they did not really. Apparently around the corner, there was a valet guy, but he wasn’t particularly pleasant. A restaurant should not offer valet, if they cannot offer valet and it’s all right to tell people they don’t have enough staff for valet or whatever the case may be. And if someone has called in a reservation and leaves their phone number or they email a restaurant, why can’t a restaurant let the customer know that valet staff might be limited, here are the self-parking options? When people are prepared ahead of time, a problem isn’t necessarily a problem is it? Or if life happens and people don’t show up to work, just take a little more time with your customers when they arrive.
Other things like where your table is located. No one wants to be in restaurants Siberia, which to me is right by the kitchen door, having a go fwack, fwack. Or a table immediately opposite a bathroom. I mean who wants to hear flushing toilets as part of their expensive dining experience? It doesn’t lend to the ambience of a place. Which is why a lot of restaurants will have partitions going to the bathrooms so you don’t hear them or down a little hallway so you don’t hear them, see them, smell them. Some restaurants are small and should consider maybe a couple of less tables.
Also on the topic of tables would be specific requests. If a customer calls and says to the hostess or whomever when they are making the reservation that they would really love a table in a certain spot and can they be accommodated, don’t say yes, you can accommodate them if you actually cannot. It’s OK to politely say no I wish we could do that but we’re all booked or whatever. No one wants to lose a customer in this economy, but a quicker way to lose a customer is to say you will do some thing and then when they arrive, it’s not that at all.
Little bits of conversation with a potential customer, especially if they might have a special need goes miles in keeping customers. For example, a friend of mine said to me just recently that now because of health concerns, they have a very specific diet and they were super impressed with the new restaurant out near us, who took the time to steer them on the menu before they came in, to make sure that health related dietary restrictions could be kept. that is very cool customer service. I have food allergies and sometimes I ask questions ahead of time and I’ve had people be annoyed with me for asking questions. Personally, I think if one of my allergies caused a medical emergency in the middle of their dining room floor, that would be a lot worse but what do I know?
And that’s just the real world of it all. The not so real world of it all occurs when people leave an honest review of a restaurant within a closed group that is about restaurant reviews. No one wants to see a restaurant unnecessarily slammed, but if someone is thoughtful in their reply, and they show balance of what they loved, and what they liked and what they didn’t really care for how is that a bad thing? But we’re not talking about a review on the restaurant’s website or a Google review or a Yelp, we’re talking about a conversation you should be able to have within a closed group that is about the topic of local dining or travel, or whatever. Or even just a local group where you live that’s more generalist in nature, but contains things like this.
I am someone who knows a few restaurant owners, and a few chefs. One literally said to me yesterday when we were talking about this very topic that even if they do not want to hear it, they really want to hear it. Because sometimes they don’t know because they are so close to the topic. This person said to me they like to hear about a total experience, not just the food because it is something that could be a simple fix or improvement. To this friend, it’s simple: if they don’t know they can’t address and/or potentially improve the situation.
The flipside of this is, I have seen plenty of people who were just nasty to be nasty about a place. And I have seen restaurant owners and chefs be so incredibly gracious to these people to try to address their concerns.
I am someone who was totally slammed by a restaurant owner because I gave a mixed review one time. I wasn’t even negative. I praised to the heavens everything I liked, and was honest, but not mean about what I didn’t like. As a result of the way I was treated I will never be a return customer. Maybe that doesn’t matter to some people, but the restaurant owners and chefs I know really want to do the best by their customers whenever possible. And when this happened to me, it wasn’t in person, it wasn’t in a phone call, it was on social media. So when I see this happening to someone else for whatever reason, it gives me pause, especially when it’s from another member of the community.
Then there are the people that don’t like the terminology you use. If you use waiter or waitress instead of server. if you say janitor instead of custodian. Or my favorite is, you could never refer to a secretary as an administrative assistant. Some secretaries prefer to be referred to as a secretary. These words aren’t pejorative terms, they are alternate terms for a similar job description. But people get so hung up on being the online political correctness police that they go on and on and on about this completely missing the point of what somebody was trying to say, and being rather rude while they were at it.
Do I take offense if somebody just calmly kind of says to me, have you considered using a different term? I’m actually kind of OK with that even if I don’t agree with them, but the whole heavy-handed approach of the keyboard warriors leaves a lot to be desired. Keyboard warriors or typing tigers have room only for what their perspective is, not anyone else’s. And when you’re in a group setting or a guest on someone’s page, how is that even appropriate or helpful?
I belong to social media groups like ones that tell you about restaurants and different places to go and visit because I’m genuinely interested. But I also appreciate people who will say what their experience was honestly without being mean because I think you should be able to discuss things. And I think that is the biggest problem with so many people on social media today is that you cannot discuss anything.
There are some groups, even some which I belong to, that you’re never allowed to really be completely honest if anything is negative that you have to say. You cannot write it even if you are balancing with several positives. You’re just not allowed to say it. I understand wanting to keep a balance and keeping a group membership happy, but when did we lose the ability to be honest with one another, without tearing each other to bits?
When it comes to dining out or traveling, I appreciate the feedback of others, who aren’t just publicists or members of some marketing team for a restaurant or a resort, but people who have actually done what you’re thinking of doing or visited where you’re thinking of visiting or dined where you want to dine. That’s why I’m not a compensated blogger. I chose that because when I voice my opinion, or give a review, it’s because I am just like everybody else, a customer.
And while on the topic, I appreciate actual writers who write a review who are not being compensated by the business to do so, it’s their job to review things. And I also appreciate the reviews of people in a comparable industry, who tell you what it was like for them to go somewhere. I don’t necessarily have to agree with any of these things that others are writing, but I appreciate the time they took to be honest.
Anyway, sorry to have another post on a similar topic, but these things keep cropping up and honestly? My opinion is people can be better and do better. I don’t pretend to be perfect, by any stretch of the imagination but I do not get why people join groups to share experiences, only they’re not allowed to open their mouths if their experience is less than glowing. After all, not all unicorns fart rainbows, some are just regular unicorns.
Have a great afternoon.