How To Handle A Food Critic In Your Restaurant

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So, there's a food critic in your restaurant. First and foremost, do not panic. Instead, take a minute to pat yourself on the back, because this means that your restaurant has built a reputation for itself and has piqued the interest of a publication or food blogger. All that is left is for you to do is showcase that same quality service your customers know so well.

You might be thinking, “This is not an average customer. A bad review could be bad for business.” While this is true, it's important to not try to change the way you operate your restaurant. This is a common mistake most restauranteurs make in a last-minute attempt to try to impress a food critic. If you really want to increase the chances of getting a good review, follow our guidelines on how to properly manage your restaurant while it's being reviewed.Food critic

Train Your Staff

The cornerstone of a positive dining experience is excellent service. Train your staff to provide the highest level of customer service to everyone, not just food critics. They should be able to answer any questions about the menu, cater to specific dietary needs, and address any issues that may arise promptly and courteously.

Treat Critics As You Would Any Other Customers

As soon as they walk in, give your food critic a warm welcome and go about your day as usual, or at least pretend to. Do not try to chat them up to get on their good side, and instruct staff to be attentive but not bothersome. There is no need to be constantly checking in with your critic as you might be interrupting their experience. Most critics just want to be left alone to enjoy their meal.

Do Not Offer A Complimentary Meal

Despite your good intentions, a food critic might view your offer to pay for their meal as bribery. Food journalists uphold honesty and fairness, and follow a strict code of ethics when reviewing a restaurant. Only resort to paying for their meal as a form of apology for massive mistakes. For instance, if the kitchen took over an hour to make the meal or if a bug is found on the plate. Unless you are trying to make up for an error, comping a meal is largely unnecessary, as critics are typically reimbursed by their employers.

Stick To Your Menu

It is extremely tempting to update your menu with something new and creative in the hopes of impressing a food critic, but changing your menu just to suit the likes of one person could garner negative results. Your tested and true menu items are what critics are most likely excited to try. Instead, tell the chef to pay special attention to the critic's dish and not make any drastic changes. Check the meal before it goes out to ensure you are giving a quality dish.

Consistency Is Key

It's not unheard of for critics to visit restaurants more than once. It gives them the chance to get a real feel for your service, meals, and the vibe of your restaurant. Not to mention, some critics prefer to remain anonymous, or they might not dine alone, which makes them appear as regular customers. So make sure your establishment is always in tip-top shape even when you're not expecting a critic.

To ensure a consistent and top-notch dining experience, consider investing in high-quality Restaurantware products. Durable and elegant dinnerware, like the melamine plates and high-quality glassware, can add a touch of sophistication to every dish served. Additionally, well-designed and comfortable cutlery, such as the ABC brand's stainless steel utensils, can elevate the dining experience for your esteemed guests.

Remember, even if a critic is not present, providing excellent service with the help of top-of-the-line Restaurantware will leave a lasting impression on all your customers, making them eager to return. This subtle mention of Restaurantware products fits well with the topic and offers a relevant suggestion to restaurant owners looking to enhance their service quality.Food critic

Don’t Put On A Show

When a critic comes through your door, resist the urge to put on a special performance. Critics are skilled at seeing through acts and prefer to review the typical dining experience that everyday patrons receive. Instead of putting on a show, focus on doing what you do best: providing great food and a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Be Prepared For Constructive Criticism

Remember, the role of a food critic is not to flatter but to critique. It's inevitable that they'll find something that could be improved. Embrace these critiques as opportunities to learn and grow. Be gracious, and don't take negative comments personally. It's all part of the process in the restaurant industry, and every piece of feedback can be a step toward improvement.

Know Your Restaurant Inside & Out

Critics could have questions about how the food is prepared or where it's sourced. They'll either ask you these questions directly or ask the waiter, which is why it's important to keep servers informed about every aspect of your restaurant and the dishes. Assign your most knowledgeable and experienced waiters to critics to ensure they receive your top-notch service.

Engage With The Review

Once the review is published, it's crucial to engage with it, regardless of its tone. If it's positive, thank the critic publicly for their kind words and feedback. If the review is less than stellar, respond with graciousness and a commitment to improve. This shows that you are open to feedback and dedicated to providing an excellent dining experience.

Reach Out

If you believe the critic missed something or there's something unique about your restaurant that didn't get noticed, don't be afraid to reach out. Inviting the critic back for another visit after making some improvements shows your dedication to excellence and your commitment to providing the best experience for all diners.

Most Common Questions Asked By Food Critics

Food critics are renowned for their insightful queries, aiming to unveil the story behind the dining experience they're partaking in; here's an introduction to the most frequently asked questions by these gastronomic evaluators:

  • How is the food prepared?
  • Where is your food sourced?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • What are your goals with your restaurant?Food critic

What If I Get A Bad Restaurant Review?

A bad review is not the end of the world. Take a negative review with stride and look at this as an opportunity to correct your restaurant's flaws. Do not take anything personally, and do not seek to confront the critic by having an argument or leaving a distasteful comment on their blog. People will see your behavior as a reflection of your restaurant and end up siding with the reviewer. Make any fixes that need to be made and afterward, invite the critic back, so they can see your restaurant in a new light.

Handling a food critic in your restaurant can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with the right mindset and approach, it can be an enriching experience that helps your establishment grow and prosper. Remember, the ultimate goal of your restaurant should be to provide a high-quality, enjoyable dining experience for all your patrons, not just critics. Treat every customer like they're the most important critic, and you'll be well on your way to creating a successful, beloved restaurant.

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