Do restaurateurs listen to patrons?

In one word, yes. At least the owners of a local St. Louis establishment that I visited at the beginning of the year do.

Today, I received a personal phone call from a restaurant owner regarding some issues that arose during a visit to one of his new restaurants. I chose not to write about my experience initially because I just didn’t feel it was the appropriate thing to do at the time. I am all for second chances and figured I would go once more and if I did not find things improved, voice my opinion.

There has been much debate amongst some of St. Louis’ eaters regarding the current state of food in our beloved city. Some feel the city has an abundance of magnificent, world class cuisine….others feel that there are only a select few that can fit the bill. To each thier own, I say….this post is not meant to further that debate.

I also believe that it is the patron’s duty to inform the chef/manager/server if you are not satisfied with any aspect of your meal. It is all too often that I hear complaints that go un-voiced. I wonder how things will change if no one is willing to discuss their concerns with the restaurant staff. Some may say “What’s the point? The server won’t tell the manager.” or “The manager isn’t going to bother the owner. It’s his job to field these things.” Wrong. Part of my letter to the owner is as follows:

I wanted to send you these comments because I know how hard it is to run a restaurant. I also know that when you have a restaurant, you put your heart and soul into it and want to know if thing could be improved upon. I hope that you find my criticism constructive and know that we appreciate you choosing to open up in our city”

So, the next time you find your dinner experience is not up to par….please tell someone. Be kind, be honest and most of all speak with a good intention. This is someone’s livelihood. They do listen, they do want to improve and they appreciate your kind honesty.

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