Hello. I’m A Review

1-12464499871iB5Hello. I’m a negative review.

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The person who wrote me didn’t go into the restaurant expecting to author a negative review; quite the contrary. He entered the restaurant with a formidable excess of enthusiasm and positive expectations, undoubtedly licking his lips in feverish anticipation. His dashed hopes and my later birth were the inevitable result of a series of forces beyond his control. Don’t hate my author for my existence. When my author opts to squander some of his precious time and money at a given place to eat, he does so with a big slice of optimism. It would be surprising if anyone were to claim anything less than joyous expectation toward a dining choice.

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While eating might indeed be one of the primary human needs, ‘where’ such culinary pleasure occurs is at the whim of the person eating. There are innumerable outlets to satisfy one’s hunger – it is therefore illogical to jump to the conclusion that the diner opted to spend a sliver of his life in a place designed for his dissatisfaction. Why then is it such a common occurrence for some people to erroneously conclude that the fault with someone’s dining experience lies with the consumer? My author chose one restaurant among many, narrowing his choice of dishes among a further variety. It’s logical to assume that he ordered based on his known preferences, again reinforcing the idea that he expected a positive outcome in exchange for his time and money. Under this alignment of variability, the choices made should normally yield positive results.

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(Note: Just because 99% of everyone who has ever eaten at your place love it is not proof that my author didn’t have a horrific experience, both in food and service. I’ve seen food picked up from the floor and served, dirty fingers in my plate, glass in my salad, and much worse.)

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Since restaurants generally exist to positively satisfy a person’s palate and hunger, it’s assumed that the negative experience happened at a place of business so inclined toward hunger satisfaction in exchange for monetary reward. It is possible that some crazed restaurateur might have opened an eatery toward the goal of conducting an intensive psychological study, but not likely. Maybe in that place the chefs and owners take secret delight in the displeasure of its patrons. “We’re not satisfied until you’re not satisfied” might be one of its many optional slogans.

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But I digress. Don’t get frustrated with my author because he didn’t enjoy your eatery. Whether his experience was out of the ordinary or as common as confused looks at a Mensa-Sarah Palin convention, the truth is that most of the burden falls on you, the person operating the restaurant.

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Don’t get mad at my author for helping you when he writes, calls, or tells you about the substandard food or experience. Truly angry people vote with their feet. They also depart, eager to share their negative experiences. If you compound the issue by being less than receptive, the motivation to complain to friends and family increases greatly.
If your restaurant is fortuitously on a remote island, you’re in luck. You have a captive audience. If not, you’ll need to ensure that your staff is trained to be receptive to negativity. Handling issues is a complicated business and one not suited for people whose main focus is on efficiency or the bottom line. It takes time and patience to address complaints. If you can’t afford to slow down and directly deal with food or service gone wrong, your business is going to fail once enough such incidents have accumulated.

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P.S. Some of the best places to eat make horrible mistakes. But they can build loyalty and profit by dealing with the mistakes openly and quickly. People remember great service.

Tongue-In-Cheek Review

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