Consider this, what if a restaurant manager looked at a complaint as an opportunity rather than a problem. Some complaints you know are coming- food taking a long time because the kitchen is in the weeds on a Friday night, for example. Other customer complaints may come as a surprise to managers, such as rudeness on the phone or problems taking a dinner reservation. To help pinpoint problems both big and small restaurant can periodically distribute comment cards.
Comment cards are an opportunity for customers to both praise your restaurant and make suggestions. They offer instant feedback for servers, food and atmosphere. While you will receive criticism, many restaurant staff will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of positive feedback customers leave on comment cards.
What information should go on a comment card?
The obvious stuff, such as questions about the menu selection, prices, quality of the meal as well as service and cleanliness. You can also leave a space for customer's name, phone number, email and mailing address. A comment card is also a great way to add names to your mailing/social media list.
How many questions should be on a comment card?
You want the questionnaire to be thorough without being so long customer won't want to take the time to fill it out. Ten questions with an easy to rate scale is ideal. You can leave a space for comments at the end. Check out this sample restaurant card.
How often should restaurant comment cards be distributed?
You can choose to put comment cards out periodically every couple of months, or every day. Distributing cards periodically saves on printing costs. Simply drop the cards with the dinner check, slip them inside menus or leave them in places where customer will see them, like at the bar or in the waiting area.
I have a complaint, now what?
Some owners or managers view every complaint as a customer's attempt to exhort a free meal out of the restaurant. They refuse to believe that there are any valid problems with their establishment. Don't let yourself fall into this category. If a customer is taking the time to alert you to a problem (rather than keeping silent and never coming back) then have the courtesy (and common sense) to respond to it. Read on for more tips on handling customer complaints.