Chef Thomas Keller on Customer Service

"I don't think the question is, 'Is the customer always right?' but rather, 'Do you want to make your customer happy?'"



With great respect for Thomas Keller I fundamentally agree with his quote yet I believe there is a point where customers cross the line and by rewarding their bad behavior we are creating a culture where peoples sense of entitlement becomes too much. My favorite customer line from this season is "this is unacceptable" and "I should have my meal comped". These expressions are thrown out at our hard working staff for the most minor of inconveniences such as a short wait or a special that has run out while they are taking an order. Many people don't say a word when they have experienced much worse situations and respond with dignity and class. We try to always do something nice for these folks not only because they are nice but also because these are the folks we want returning to our restaurant. I want all of my customers to be happy but I also want a restaurant full of happy customers. Just some thoughts:)


I'd ask: How did we get to the point where this customer is unhappy? If it's on us, then let's do what we can to make it right. If the customer is being a jerk, different story. My husband's in the industry and some people just come in spoiling for a fight, chip on shoulder, looking to be miserable and then making unreasonable demands. Some people cannot be made happy no matter what they're offered. Some want the staff to violate company policy. Some customers we do NOT want to see again because they're nothing but pains in the neck. We're happy if they go inflict themselves on our competitors.


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The second question is more appropriate. The costumer has to be happy because then he will come again, and so you gain a client and the tips will be also big.


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