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Restaurant Customers And Comping Meals

May 16, 2008
Are you saving restaurant customers when you comp meals or are you losing money? It depends on what they given situation is so you need to be open to the idea. Sometimes it is the right course of action to take and other times it is a waste because that was the intention of the customer to begin with.

They wanted you to comp their meal and set out to get you to do just that. They aren't going to stop complaining until that offer is extended to them. It is expensive when restaurants have to comp meals because they don't make any money off the sale at all. Yet it can be a great way to get a customer who didn't have a wonderful dining experience to come back again.

This can be quite a dilemma to deal with because you don't want to run the customer off for good. Unhappy customers can cost you money as they won't be returning. They can also post information online about the experience as well as tell those they know. It can certainly result in many more people not coming to your restaurant either.

It also shows good faith in your customer service values. It lets your guests know that mistakes can be made but that there are solutions. It shows that you really do care about more than just their money - you want them to have an amazing dining experience. Most people are willing to let the issue go if you find a way to make it right for them.

Some individuals take restaurants for a ride though. They are looking for a free meal and they know that many restaurants offer just that if they complain. They will look to make the most out of it by creating an issue that everyone in the restaurant can see and hear. As a result many managers feel pressured into comping the meal so that all the customers will be happy with the outcome they saw.

It doesn't seem practical that people go out for dinner with the intention of getting it paid for, but many do. You only have to search this information online to see how true that is. You will read stories from those who have done it as well as the restaurant owners who are tired of it. This game is hard to prove and it is costing the business money.

It is important for the restaurant to have a plan of action for dealing with such issues. That way they don't escalate out of control. This is a decision that the manager needs to execute though rather than the staff. This way discretion can be used to determine when offering a free meal is right and when it is a ploy that someone is after.

Sometimes extending a free meal is worth it to save the customers from avoiding your restaurant in the future. Other times though it is just someone trying to see if they can get that food for free. This can be a hard decision but one you need to firmly stand behind. Look for warning signs though about the party being loud or asking for a free meal. They may be doing all they can to keep their money in their pockets.
About the Author
Patricia Farnham is a restaurant business veteran. Before you decide to http://www.restaurantpitfallsandprofits.com/buyrestaurant.htm">buy a restaurant, you might want to read some more of her insights on the restaurant industry on here website.
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