As servers, we often must come up with complaint responses when we encounter grievances that are not fully thought out. Whether it is that the dining room is too hot or the prices are too high. In many of these circumstances, we have nothing to do with the cause of the complaint. Usually, these are things that we would agree with the guest about, but are out of our control. In these situations, the guest needs to be reminded that we have limited ability to take personal responsibility for these issues. One of the most effective ways to point this out is through humor.
In the past I have written about some of the one liners for servers that I use. These were primarily related to the process of ordering. Today, I am going to share some of the ones that I use when things go awry. Some of these relate to simple mistakes that are made by a server, but most are complaint responses for issues that are beyond a server’s control. Be very careful when using these. They cannot be delivered with heavy sarcasm without escalating the complaint. When delivered with a smile, they will often remind the guest that their complaint should be directed elsewhere. Here are 10 examples of complaint responses that I use.
When a guest complains it is too hot:
“I think it is coming from the kitchen. I keep telling them to turn down the oven, but the chef says it would make your wait for dinner very long.”
When I spill some water or tea on the floor:
“If you don’t water the carpet, it will never grow.”
When a guest complains about a price:
“I assure you the person who makes such decisions is not wearing an apron right now. If it were up to me I would give it all away. I think my tips would improve dramatically.”
When I deliver the wrong plate to the first guest at a two top:
“I have a 50/50 chance of getting that right, but guess wrong about 80% of the time.”
When a guest complains about a fly:
“I keep telling the boss that if we locked the doors, they wouldn’t get in. He says that would be bad for business though.”
When a guest complains of cold fries:
“I keep telling the chef he needs to let us sample them before we bring them out, but he isn’t convinced you would like that plan either.”
When we run out of an item:
“I always wonder about places that never run out of things. The good news is that we do not have 3 more cases of each entrée in the freezer to defrost like they do.”
When a water glass gets too empty:
“I am sorry. I have a policy that no one dies of dehydration on my watch. I am at three days and counting.”
When I drop a fork/spoon/etc:
“Highly trained professional here. Do not attempt these stunts at home.”
When a guest worries about the calories in a dessert:
“Don’t worry they are calorie free. We only charge you for the food. The calories are on us.”
There are 10 more one liners for you to use. If this post is half as popular as the last one, you can count on another batch soon. Do be careful about using these so as not to create any awkward moments. If you have some complaint resposnes to contribute, drop them in the comment section.
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