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April 25, 2005


Culinary Fool

I never expect to be comped just because I didn't like something! Wouldn't picky eaters be happy about that! However, if the description was off, so that it appeared I was getting one thing and ended up with something significantly different I would bring that up with my server and hope to have it removed or replaced with something more to my liking. I think the solution you came up with is a good one.


I agree with Culinary Fool... I'm wondering if these means, though, that they paid for 4 desserts in total?

If so, I think I would have preferred to have the "replacement" dessert comped on this visit. If you already comped the replacement dessert, I don't think anything else is necessary.

Two free desserts on the next visit can get tricky if these three people don't dine together frequently... Was the regular one of the ones who didn't care for his dessert?

As they say, questions beget questions.


Yes they paid for 4 desserts in total. I was going back and forth on whether to comp the replacement dessert but ended up reasoning like Culinary Fool that comping in this instance wasn't the thing to do because there was no indication that there was anything wrong with either dish, nor were the descriptions misleading.

I did want to make our customer feel better about the exchange which is why I gave them free desserts the next time they come in. And yes, the regular was one of them. If they don't dine together frequently then the regular gets to treat someone else to a free dessert.

Like I said it's my least favorite service turnaround. I try to stay somewhat ego-less in the situation but it's hard. If a steak comes back overcooked, that's poor technique. If a dish comes back because the person didn't like it, that's going to my personality, world-view, palate and everything else. That's when being a chef and an owner is tough. The owner wants the customer to be happy and return with lots of cash. The chef wants to throttle the imbecile. However, once the imaginary throttling is over a good chef will examine the dish again to see how it can be improved.


I agree with how you handled it. You can't comp meal items all the time because of taste bud differentiation. That said, you made a nice gesture, which they will remember, and they'll come back. Perfect.

Dr. Biggles


I think you were right on. People are used to getting things comped if the desert or whatever falls short. At least at better restaurants. This way, they return for another meal. If not, you got full price for their meal this time. Perfection. Besides, if they're all giddy about getting a free desert next time, they may splurge on a bottle of wine or a deluxe meal. Something they probably wouldn't have.



I think you did a great thing. Maybe too great. Sometimes I 'just don't like something' depsite being aware that it was well executed. I, personally, wouldn't dream of complaining or expect something in this instance. If this happens - I try to make it clear that there was no problem - it was all my fault.
A while back I ordered a glass of wine which I simply didnt care for. There was nothing wrong with it, apart from the fact I didn't like it. I was in a great mood and didn't want to waste time drinking something that might change my mood. So, I called over the waiter and told him straight. I don't like this wine, I need to order a different one. I emphasized there was nothing wrong with it - I simply wanted to purchase another. In the end he comped my new glass, and didn't charge me for the first glass which he left for Fred to drink. I was astounded - it wasn't the slightest bit necessary. Needless to say - this particular restaurant now has a warm place in my heart. We return there often, but we liked it anyway.


I guess I'm in the minority, and hope to not sound rude. I think that you should have comped the replacement, if just to show a gesture of saying, "I heard you, I'm sorry the dessert wasn't to your liking, please don't let that stop you from coming back again". It is the last thing people eat, I think it's worth a banana-split to have people walk out the door with a good last impression. But I don't have to run a reastaurant, so I only see it from the consumer's side.

The "come back and spend more money and then you'll get something free" offer is soemthing that has turned me off in the past. It doesn't directly deal with the current issue and has made me say "no thanks" to going back.



Thanks for the comment and no, you don't sound rude. As for not running a restaurant and you only presenting the consumer side, well, that's what I'm interested in. I understand the restaurant side. I don't always understand the consumer side.

I can see where a customer could get the feeling "come back and spend more money and then you'll get something free" and be turned off. That isn't where I was coming from. It was from a place of "when you return (since I believe the person would) I'd like to offer you something".

Like I keep saying this is the trickiest of situations because everyone has different likes and dislikes. I think if the people had been able to give me some specifics about what they didn't like I might have been more inclined to comp the replacement. In other words, if I'm able to learn something, or improve something I'd be willing to pay for that lesson.

I certainly wish to retain a customer and I'm willing to pay for that. So I hear you on that point. In this case though I think I did the appropriate thing. Perhaps when I next see the people they will be able to be more specific about the dish.

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