As a chef, would you rather be told...?

Joined Feb 24, 2010
I posted a thread recently about having gone to a new cake shop in my town, and getting a couple of cupcakes, and they were... Well...

My husband actually suggested we get a refund. They were bad. Another friend who tried the mini-cupcakes said that they also were really not good.

The thing is, I like the lady that's opened the shop... I don't want her to fail at this! She is, apparently, a red seal chef...

Should I go back and try again in a week or so, to see if maybe she's gotten better?

Should I tell her that the cupcakes were bad?

If it were YOU, as a chef, would you WANT to be told?

Joined Jul 17, 2009
 thats tough, but i'd have to say tell her. It would help her out because if they're that bad no one will buy them. Plus, i'm sure that she's found out they don't taste good at one point she must've tried them.
But then again, everythings easier said then done
Joined Jan 12, 2010
I definitely would have to agree with the above.  Of course be constructive and specific as it will, hopefully, help them.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
If she gets no negative (but constructive) feedback, she'll just quietly fade out of business and wonder why that happened.


Joined Feb 3, 2010
Tell her.   I'd absolutely want you to tell me if it were necessary.
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Joined Jul 18, 2000
Yes, tell the Chef.  The important part of the message is the delivery. Another thing is that ambiguity or a lack of specifics tend to make a complaint a little less, shall we say, believable. Discretion is also a part of the formula.


Joined Mar 22, 2010
To tell you the truth, I would be offended if I was running my own cape shop, and someday a lady appeared and told me that the cupcakes I'm making are bad. You should either not tell her anything or make her an anonymous call. The latter is probably a better idea if you don't want her to fail.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Homer, are you really saying you wouldn't want to know if there was a problem? That you'd rather just have the customers drop away, without a word, until you had to close the shop for lack of business?

And I certainly wouldn't call anonymously. Talk about a phonecall with a total lack of credibility!

No, she needs to be told. The trick is to do it in a way so that she doesn't get defensive.

I would have returned, with the bad cupcakes, as soon as possible. Explain to her why you were returning them, what you found the problems to be, and, if you know, how to correct the problems. Keep the whole thing as up-beat and constructive as possible. You don't want to sound as if you're berating her. And certainly you don't want to bring this up at all in front of other customers.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I would want to be told as well.. how will I improve if I don't get feedback from customers?

Definitely go back and tell her (in a nice way of course) the problems you found with her cupcakes and let her know that you're telling her this because you want to see her do well with her business. 
Joined Feb 8, 2009
A Chef able to take compliments in the kitchen is a wonderful sign that his/her ideas, menus,, training have paid off. A Chef willing to take criticism, is a Chef with the essential building blocks to grow into a great Chef. When I worked in Restaurants, I always walked the dining room, talking to people, and seeing how my food was received. A server once asked me if I walked the dining room for all the compliments, I told her, I walk the dining room for the complaints. Customer complaints and criticism are a essential part of a growing business, react to them quickly, you will succeed, ignore them, you will fail.
   If the cupcakes are so bad that you couldn't eat them, then she has big problems. I would go back and try them again, if they are still bad, then I would tell her. I would also ask how business is, and how her repeat business is going. If criticism is given well, it should be received well...............Good luck Chef Bill
Joined Oct 28, 2008
I would suggest telling her, as chefs never want to turn out crap. Or at least they shouldn't. Just tell her in a manner that isn't offensive.
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