Let’s be honest for a moment.  I am about to make a statement that is often acknowledged as truth, but seldom spoke aloud.  No one in the industry will really doubt this statement.  It is too controversial for most people to acknowledge on the record.  Today, I am going to go into uncharted territory by introducing it for discussion.  Are you ready to hear the two words that so many people are afraid to say?  Here it is.  Guests lie.

Now I am not willing to go so far as to say that all guests lie or to say that guests are liars.  I will say that most all guests have lied at some point.  I am willing to admit that I have lied when I was a guest.  If you are honest, you will too.  The most common question a server can ask to cause a guest to lie?  “How does everything taste tonight?”

Spotting the Complaint

This week the skills focus is about spotting the complaint.  Your guests will sometimes have complaint about the food or service that they will not volunteer to you.  They will respond to your inquiries about their meal with “fine” or “okay.”  They will not mention that it is only fine because the potatoes are cold or the steak is overcooked.  This does not however mean that they are “fine.”  In reality they are disappointed, but many fear that you will not care enough to fix the problem.   Others will suffer through the meal out of fear of being an imposition.  The end result is the same: dissatisfied guests who will not be returning to your restaurant.

It is vital that you demonstrate to your guests that you are concerned about their meal.  You must show that you truly want them to enjoy their meal.  The upside of these lies is that when you do show a guest that you are genuinely concerned about their meal, they will appreciate it.  Guests who do not want to be an imposition or assume that you do not care can be blown away by taking the time to genuinely demonstrate concern.  This can often lead to an unhappy guest becoming a satisfied regular.

Guests sometimes lie.  This does not dismiss you from being concerned about their meal.  Demonstrating this concern and looking for a way to spot the complaint will help you prevent the guest from spreading their negative opinion to others.  In a world of social networking and review sites, it is more important than ever that you prevent guests from leaving unhappy.  Taking the time to spot the complaint will win you raving fans and future guests.

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