Follow Me Foodie: How to handle diners’ complaints (Social media tips for restaurants)

Photo from Comminquiry

Follow Me Foodie: How to handle diners’ complaints

Anti-bullying day or “Pink Shirt Day” is on the last Wednesday of February. People sport the colour pink to stand together against bullying, and celebrate diversity.

I’d like to think I was never a bully and am grateful to never have been bullied… Well, maybe a bit online, but you put yourself out there and once in a while you get it back.

With the popularity of social media and “you be the judge” blogs, there is a lot of online noise — some comments are good, some are fair, while others are hurtful and disrespectful. Diners often tweet and post things in the heat of the moment with no fear of consequences, especially if they post anonymously.

I’ve seen more Twitter arguments between restaurants and customers than I want and, simply put, it looks bad. I’m not a restaurateur or chef, but I understand how damaging negative public banter can be. I get criticized, too.

So how do you handle it? Read the full story.

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  • Hank Lewis says:

    Sometimes it’s entertaining to watch Ricky Craig of Houston’s Hubcap Grill get into it with the griping customers. Other times, it can be really awkward, like you’re sitting at a table with another couple arguing and you want a fast, graceful exit. I hear you, Mijune!

  • Natalie says:

    I remembered a battle on twitter between a local restaurant and a magazine blog – from a consumer perspective it’s hard to watch. I had to unfollow them on twitter for a bit. It’s not worth it to me to have stress online when my work is already stressful.

  • Yves Farges says:

    Twitter tantrums & Facebook battles I never start. That said, given the average Canadian’s default behaviour of saying nothing and never returning to the restaurant (ever) while diligently telling dozens of their friends to avoid a location drives restaurant owners wild in despair. They really want to know if something is wrong.

    Be factual, objective, polite, and constructive in an brief email and most restaurants will make it right one way or another. Being in the industry I am really forgiving generally knowing that a bad day just happens.

    While we are on the topic of communication, if it tastes great to fantastic, have the waiter tell the Chefs. It doesn’t have to be bad news to tell a restaurant that there is something to talk about. I recently “discovered” a Cornish Hen dish in Yaletown that was so shockingly good that I admit I made quite a point about it. Humerously some diners recently given a table hear me and all ordered the Cornish Game Hen, and mid-meal told me “You are so right, this is amazing”.

    If you can give a brick you can toss bouquets as well. Given the amazing skill set of our Chefs, that is a lot of deserved compliments.

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