When dining at a restaurant it is natural to have certain expectations. You’re paying good money in the hope that you’ll receive well prepared, attractively presented food, served by polite and attentive staff. In the vast majority of cases this is exactly what you’ll get. Sometimes, though, your dining experience will be less than satisfactory, and it is on these occasions that you will need to alert the restaurant staff to the issue by making a complaint.

Complaining Successfully

Done correctly, complaining about some aspect of your meal can be a constructive process. You will feel the satisfaction that comes with voicing your disappointment, and the restaurant will receive valuable feedback which they can use to improve their service for all future customers. An incorrectly made complaint, however, can ruin your meal and lead to flared tempers and an embarrassing shouting match.

Step by Step

By following the steps below you should be able to avoid any significant unpleasantness and achieve a successful resolution to your problem.

  • Make your complaint as soon as the issue arises. If, for example, your meal is cold or not prepared to a satisfactory standard tell your waiter straight away, don’t wait until the end of your meal to complain.
  • In order to communicate effectively, take a moment to identify the origin of the problem. Poorly cooked meat, for instance, is unlikely to be the waiter’s fault.
  • Call your waiter over discreetly, speak calmly and politely and outline the reason for your dissatisfaction. Complaining in a rude or aggressive manner will only create an antagonistic situation that is unlikely to lead to a successful outcome.
  • Be clear about what you want to achieve with your complaint and suggest a solution that matches your problem. Do you simply want an apology? Or would a replacement meal or a reduction in your bill be more appropriate?
  • It is more than likely that the waiter will fall over himself to address your concerns, but if he is unhelpful or cannot provide a satisfactory resolution ask to speak to the manager and reiterate your problem to him.
  • If a resolution can still not be reached and you feel the matter warrants further action, you might consider getting in touch with the owner of the restaurant after you’ve left the premises and stating your case to him. Alternatively, your local Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to offer advice.

Act Swiftly

By acting swiftly, communicating well and maintaining a calm and measured approach, you stand a good chance of voicing your complaint in a way that provides a learning experience for the restaurant and, at the same time, does not ruin your dinner.

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