The Great Hall
Abusive Customers The Great Hall: Abusive Customers
By foodguy on Sunday, January 16, 2000 - 07:34 am: Edit

How much is too much!!!

The customer may always be right, but does that give them a licence to be a complete ass in my restaurant. I recently had a customer who become irate about there being no bacon on a sandwich that was supposed to have it. It was our fault, we were having a busy day and ran out. I tried to explain to him but he was not interested in my excuses ( as he put it). I tried to offer a complimentary beverage or dessert but he just wanted to yell and make me feel bad. I patiently let him go on about it for a while but after about ten minutes of disrupting the rest of my clients I told him his meal was taken care of and he should leave.

Perhaps it wasnt the best way to handle it but I felt I had exausted all other options. When does your irate customer take a backseat to the rest of your dining room patrons?


By Gord (Gord) on Sunday, January 16, 2000 - 09:53 am: Edit


I assume your server did not know the kitchen had run out of bacon. From your description it sounds like the kitchen knowingly sent out the meal without the bacon (they didn't just forget to put it on).

I have to say that, to an extent, I would side with the customer. As soon as the kitchen realized they couldn't fulfill the order the customer should have been given a chance to accept the meal without the missing parts or select a different entree. He had his mind focussed on the meal he ordered and when told there was no bacon (but the meal was served anyway) he may have felt you were trying to slide something past him. Also, I'm not sure the offer of a beverage or dessert as a pacifier would make up for not allowing the customer to make the choice on his meal. Comping the meal right away, or offering to rush-prepare an alternative meal may have saved you here, as well as making sure you had a word with the kitchen to ensure incomplete meals didn't knowingly get served (also telling the serving staff to inform customers of the missing components when they order it).

Having said that, there is also no excuse for someone to go way over the top and get, as you say, abusive. Physical aggression, insults and foul language would all fall in that category for me.


By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Sunday, January 16, 2000 - 03:21 pm: Edit


I think this is a mixed situation. First, I think you did well by making your apology and then trying to make amends -- although it would have beeen better if the serving staff knew about the problem in the first place. Second, some people are just purely abusive and haven't learned the art of diplomacy. I hardly consider getting a sandwich without bacon as requiring ten minutes of ranting. When I experience this, I just think to myself that the customer's over-the-top response will eventually catch up to him in the form of stress induced high-blood pressure, heart attacks, etc. Some people just need to chill out -- it's no wonder Prozac is prescribed so much.

Finally, like I said, some people are just jerks. I have an aunt who I refuse to eat with because she makes the kitchen and wait staff's lives so miserable that the last time we went out, I had to make up an excuse to run back into the restaurant so I could apologize.

Cheers, Mike

Add a Message

This is a private posting area. A valid username and password combination is required to post messages to this discussion.