If You Need to Complain at a Restaurant, Remember These 2 Tricks!

There are a couple easy things to remember if you’ve had a bad meal

Shutterstock / Kamil Macniak

Don't get angry, get calm. 

We’ve all been there: You’re trying to enjoy a meal at a restaurant, but something goes terribly wrong. Your server is grossly incompetent, your food is ice cold, you find yourself waiting forever just to get your drinks, you’re forgotten about altogether, or any combination of the above. While it might make sense in the moment to get angry and shout about the restaurant’s missteps, there’s actually a much better way to communicate your unhappiness. Don’t vent on social media; Start by finding the manager, then remember these two tricks:

One: Stay Calm
Ask anyone who’s ever had a customer service job, and they’ll tell you that it’s much more pleasant to deal with someone who’s keeping an even keel than someone who’s yelling. Even if you’re extremely upset, the manager will be far more inclined to help you out if you politely and respectfully communicate exactly what the issue is. Talk to him or her on a human level instead of as a sounding board to vent all your frustrations and you’ll have a far more successful interaction.


Two: Suggest a Solution
A good rule of thumb, in life as well as in dining, is to never present a problem without also presenting a solution to that problem. In many cases, the solution to your problem in a restaurant will be obvious — if your steak is undercooked, for instance. But by leaving it up to the manager to figure out a solution to a more complicated issue on the spot, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment — for example, if a cockroach crawls out of your salad, a free dessert won’t do much for your spoiled appetite. In extreme cases, if you feel that your meal should be comped, communicate that to the manager along with your reasoning. And if they don’t agree with you, remember rule number one.