Am I this out of touch

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by hotchpotch, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. hotchpotch

    hotchpotch

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Can't Boil Water
    In a nutshell you are correct.


    He had decided to try a new beer, he was not offered a sample, so he ordered one and tasted it and didn't like it took it back and asked if he could exchange it for something else. The bartender exchanged it and never said that he was charging him for both beers. The beer he brought back was thrown away and then his group was charged for it on their final bill.


    The guest did exactly what we all want as owners, to be adventurous and to try something new that we offer, whether it be food or drink; he did and he didn't like it.

    What was his bad decision, the choice to try something new???????

    Are you implying that you don't want anybody to try something new or if they do and don't like it, then you blame the guest that they made "a bad decision"?

    This is a huge leap of logic that I simply cannot make. If a guest tries something new and doesn't like it why would I be at fault?

    Have you ever tasted something that you did not like? Who's fault is it that you don't like something? The restaurant that served it to you? - I think not. Your fault then, of course not, it's your personal taste there is no reasoning to blame someone or try to find fault for not liking something.

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree - it seems that we have fundamentally opposed philosophies of service.

    Cheers
     
  2. bazza

    bazza

    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    14
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    The customer is not always right and neither is the restaurant, in this case it all comes down to communication. If they had said to your friend "sure you can have another beer but I will have to charge you for it" he would then have had a choice. If he replied "I would like another beer but I don't want to pay for it" then the restaurant would have had a choice. If both parties are assuming that the other is going to pay then there will always be an issue.

    Sometimes I am offered bread or olives in a restaurant, sometimes it is on the bill at the end and sometimes it isn't, if I want to know beforehand, I will ask. I hear what you are saying about goodwill and it is possilble that this was a misunderstanding. Every situation is different and restaurants have to assess each case as it happens. None of us were there so it is difficult to judge what actually happened. At the end of the day restaurants can't go giving away stuff to every customer who wants a freebie.

    After all is said and done it is only a beer, if your friend is that upset about it I am sure he won't go back there, it is their loss. Are they bothered? I doubt it.
     
  3. cheftoddmohr

    cheftoddmohr

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Nobody ever "saved" their way to success in the restaurant business.
    Saving the $0.25 food cost on a beer isn't going to make your establishment successful. Treating customers right and having them tell everyone about it makes a restaurant success.

    I can't believe there is even debate about this on a professional forum.

    Sure, stand your ground on one beer, loose 4 entrees forever. It's short-sighted and foolish to argue this with a customer.
     
  4. chefhow

    chefhow

    Messages:
    843
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    As a long time gastropub/bar owner we had a rule that when somebody ordered an off label of beer they were offered a 2oz pour to "sample" and more times than not it worked in our favor.

    Now would I have comp'd the customers beer, YES, because even as a new customer for every one person he/she told about a good experience they would have told 10 about a bad one. Even if I never saw that person come thru my doors again it stops a potential problem at the cost of a few cents or up to a dollar for a high end brew.
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,877
    Likes Received:
    423
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Some of you people think he should pay for it? You comp it. No questions asked.
     
  6. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    5,155
    Likes Received:
    689
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Lots of spilled ink over this one.

    Where I have agreed with everyone is as follows:

    1) The guest had every right to be upset when given the bill. The exchanged or whatever beer should have been discussed. This would really tick me off if it happened to me. For this reason I would be willing to make a comp.--the server should have informed the guest, but NOT because the guest didn't like what he ordered.

    2) Any intelligent and caring owner should comp if the food or service are not up to standards. This is, I believe, profesionalism.

    3) Every place should offer samples of new stuff, either very small portions for free, or small portions (as an app or sample) for artificially low prices


    I have owned my own businesses for close to 14 years now, and in the first two years I learned some very valuable lessons when dealing with customers and granting comps.

    What I learned is to never be influenced by the consequences. That is, if I don't comp, the guy will go and bad-mouth me. I have put out a quality product/service and shouldn't be in a position to be threatened. Others may say that this (comping when a customer complains) is good business sense, but I don't like having a stick dangled infront of me. This is my decision, my choice.

    Now take for instance the bloggers--PLEASE take the bloggers. I run an artisan chocolate and pastry shop. Every now and then I get an "In Cognito" blogger who orders his chocolates and beverage, sits down and hunches over a note book and fumbles with a cell-phone camera. This type of blogger invariably writes good or neutral stuff about my shop. And I have some off-the-wall chocolates too: Mango& jalepeno, Strawberry& pepper, Vanilla bean & bay leaf, Jasmine tea..... Usually two or more of these are available for sampling -for free--albeit in very small sizes. But I have never replaced a half-eaten chocolate with another one just because the guest didn't like it.....

    The other type of blogger contacts me via e-mail and says he'd like to do an blog on me--or on a series of chocolate makers. Problem is, he either wants to be compensated with cash or product. I e-mail back and tell him that it would be wonderfull to do an blog on my shop, BUT, in order to be fair and neutral I don't think any compensation should be given. This results either in a link to said blog where I am dissed, or leads to a future blog where I am dissed. After the anger subsides, the blogs are kind of funny, because it's painfuly obvious the blogger has never been to my shop or tried any of my stuff, one claimed I offer "smarties and marshmallows glued on a Costco candy apple". Pretty hilarious...

    My decison, my choice. Put out a quality product and service and stick to your guns.
     
  7. electricputa

    electricputa

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    as a home Brewer and a strong advocate of micro brews i have to say DO NOT COMP...

    if the beer was pored wrong or the keg was kicked then that's one thing, but it had nothing to do with you or your restaurant. Plus that's the beauty and fun of trying craft beers. i get them all the time (ones i don't like,) but then i know... not to buy it again!

    moving forward, offer samples everyone wins...
     
  8. bazza

    bazza

    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    14
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I have just reread the original post and notice that the guy was a regular for 10 years, in this case I would have replaced the beer free of charge, no problem. I do not however believe in a blanket policy of 'always comp, no questions asked' There are people out there whom I would not wish to return, with or without their friends. :peace:
     
  9. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,877
    Likes Received:
    423
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Comping does two things. It's a cheap way to weed out the complainers and it retains customers. It's goodwill, kinda like the time you spend chatting up a client.
     
  10. leeniek

    leeniek

    Messages:
    1,632
    Likes Received:
    31
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I did a comp today because I made a mistake and the one part of the order was to take a longer time than it should have, so I told the server to run what i had and I comped them a small smootie for the wait.
     
  11. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,442
    Likes Received:
    961
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I agree that the communication should have been better in this regard, but, philosophically, I am against comping in this instance. In the real world I probably would have comped it, but I don't see why the restaurant should have to eat the cost when there was nothing wrong with the product. It's just another way our society won't accept the consequences of our actions. It's a gamble every time you try something new. You might like it you might not, that's part of the fun of it. But why should the restaurant take the hit if you try something new and don't like it? You'd never consider taking the beer back to the liquor store just because you didn't like it (a whole other story if the beer was unsound). I would never expect a restaurant to comp something just because I wanted to try something new and didn't like it. And I'd love to tell anyone who does expect a comp in that situation to "man up" and deal with the consequences of their choices.

    I understand that this is only a beer we are talking about, and doesn't cost much, so I would probably comp it, though it would drive me nuts to do so. A question for those of you who are pretty adamant about comping, what happens when it is the $21 foie gras app that the customer tried and didn't like or the $15 glass of cognac, or the $35 venison entree? Try reselling the $200 bottle of wine a customer returns just because they didn't like it. Not many tables will agree to purchase an already opened bottle in that price range unless you give to them at a steep discount. These aren't made up instances. I've seen all these happen and worse, nor are they as uncommon as some of you want to believe.

    I understand that we are a "service" industry, but we are the only "service" industry I know that allows customers to change their minds after purchasing and ruining a product and then getting their money back just because of their personal preference. And while I will probably continue to comp these small items, I do so grudgingly because it is wrong to expect a restaurant owner to eat the cost so that you can expand your personal horizons.
     
  12. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

    Messages:
    3,355
    Likes Received:
    44
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    AGREED 100%
    Plus someone said the customer is not always right. Well it is our job to make them think they are, and seek a resolution to any problem. This is service with a smile,, this is what they are paying for, this is why they patronize us.
     
  13. a_mak

    a_mak

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    In my entire life I've never gone to a bar or restaurant, tried something, decided that I didn't like it or didn't want it, and expected to be comped. On the other hand, the restaurant that I work for comps for just about everything. So you see where I come out on this. To me the only time a restaurant should comp is when they make an error, such as not coming out the right temp, it takes too long, or if there's a hair or something on it. But if it's prepared how it should be then I don't see why it would be comped. Maybe if I was an owner or in FOH my perspective would be different. It would be easier just to comp. But what happens next time? Is this guy going to come in, try something else he's never had, then expect to be comped if he doesn't like it? At this point I wouldn't care if he never came back.

    And from a patron's perspective, there are times when I go out that I like to try something new. And the risk you take in trying new things is that you're not always going to like it. But you chalk it up to a learning experience. If they see that you don't like something and offer to comp it or replace it then great. But I don't expect it. Besides, it's beer we're talking about. Of course some are better than others. But unless it's Heineken or Milwaukee's Best, any beer is good beer or at least good enough to drink.
     
  14. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,877
    Likes Received:
    423
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Pete, I don't think sending back the foie gras is even half as common as sending steaks back.

    The true loss on any item should be right around food cost and that comes right off the bottom line. If the place is new then it should adjust for that after a while when they look at the total month to month food cost.
     
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    This isn't steak, it isn't foie gras, it isn't a lot of things.

    What it is -- is micro-brew beer. A beverage whose particular characteristics, by definition, will be unfamiliar to the customer.

    A customer who doesn't like the product is the risk a bar takes when selling unfamiliar beers. Comping an unhappy customer is good business and good manners. Climbing up on a high horse isn't.

    Merely presenting the beer without offering more information, is the establishement's way of saying "We think you'll like this." When the establishment is wrong, it should replace the offending cup without comment beyond, "sorry -- of course you can have something else."

    If your idea of running a bar (or the bar part of a restaurant) is to tell the customer, "Tough luck; you're responsible for covering the bad bet you made on our recommendation," I don't want to drink there.

    After all, the customer wasn't the one who decided that selling "winter beer" which tastes like anti-freez, road-salt and bubbles was a good idea.

    The alternative to underwriting the customer's risk is to offer sample "shorts." Not a bad idea.

    BDL
     
  16. leeniek

    leeniek

    Messages:
    1,632
    Likes Received:
    31
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    When I worked at the cafe we had a very open kitchen and I encouraged customers to try a small sample of a soup or stew if they were uneasy about it, or a few salad greens with an unfamiliar dressing, and most times they liked it and ordered the item. Sometimes they didn't and they just ordered something else, but they were happy and they kept coming back.
     
  17. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    5,155
    Likes Received:
    689
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Yeah well, I've tried to make my case, and I'm not going anywhere with it, so I might as well take it to court.....

    (The honourable Judge R. Bean presiding at the bench)

    "BDL, you have been found guilty of white-washing the customer. With tongue planted firmly in-cheek, I hereby sentence you to 10 years less 1 Monday, as owner/operator of a cute 40 seat Italian place.

    "As this is your first offence and have asked for lieniency, the court has granted that you may serve your sentence alone---that is without the ecumbrance of a spouse or immediate family member as a working partner.

    "In accordance with common public perception, you shall be held responsible for the physical, mental, and especially financial well-being of ALL those who pass through your doors. This includes staff, regular customers, dine & dashers, scam artists, and event planners....

    "Bailiff!! Take this man away and issue him with the keys, a float of $200, and a terlet plunger. Order in the court!!!.....



    Hey, you got off easy! Hard time would be if you had a demo clause in the lease, but you don't have that, do you?....
     
  18. hotchpotch

    hotchpotch

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Can't Boil Water
    Thank you all for your spirited replies, at least I can now feel I am no longer in the minority.

    Foodpump, if it makes you feel better at the other site it was easily 10:1 that he should NOT have received another beer without paying for both. The vast majority of these were plain old customers and they couldn't fathom why he should get one.

    That goes along with my theory that most people are not out to screw you, sure there are aways a few but most people when they have a problem just want an equitable solution.
     
  19. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    A Demo clause? You mean like being forced to hire or work with democraps?
    Oiye that would be painful. Regrettably in MI or CA it would only be cruel but not cruel and unusual. Thus our friend BDL at least in the great state of MI would not likely have much luck with his State Supreme Court appeal.
    Better make that a heavy duty plunger. :lol:
    FWIW I tried a few micro brews over the last few weeks I didn't like much. Never thought of having them comped but I have no doubt if I would have asked they would have come of the bill.
    My solution was to pound it down and order another........
    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp
     
  20. crazycorey

    crazycorey

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I would probably comp the beer and drink it myself. : ) 

    No but seriously, the beer should be comped, especially since the customer is a regular. Regulars keep the restaurant going, plus you wouldn't want to cause a scene over a beer. 

    Personally. as a customer  I would never try to return a beer. After all, It usually takes about half a beer for me to adjust to any new beer, especially microbrews. I may not like the first few sips, but then I get used to it and start liking it most of the time.

    At the last place I worked, an Irish pub, they had small four ounce sample glasses that looked like little mini Guinness glasses, and customers could ask for samples if they were trying something new. In fact, the bartenders would often offer samples if the customer expressed interest in trying something new. That way if a customer doesn't like a new beer, there is minimal waste. 
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010