My Compliments to the Chef

Posted on Wednesday 5 July 2006

There’s the theory that those who bitch the loudest get what they want first.

It’s true, customer complaints are acted on fast at my restaurant. However, in a place as busy as ours, the biggest surprise to me is the relatively low number of complaints we actually receive during any given shift.

On the flip side, Anders wants to know if a customer is really heard when he/she asks to share a positive experience. (Anders, you will always be at the top of my wait list and never need a pager!):

When a customer asks a waiter to compliment the chef, does the waiter generally do so?
With thanks for a splendid and educational blog.

You are welcome, Anders.

Yes, at my restaurant, the chef not only hears the compliments, he asks the servers every day for feedback on various dishes. Now, I am not sure a server would pull Chef off the line during the peak lunch crunch to mention that the guests at table 332 love the vegetarian pasta option. But, that server will most likely let Chef know later that afternoon or during the next menu class that the vegetarian pasta is popular.

Customers also seem to want to tell me their hopes and dreams as they leave the restaurant: “Everything was great, execpt…” “Could you let the owner know…” “Those crab cakes are the best!” I always share what I hear with Chef and various managers.

But how to really be sure you are heard when all goes well? Email, snail mail, or leave a note on the way out for the restaurant manager about a nice host (The Gal really took care of our walk-in party of 15!), a terrific server (he was so funny and knew so much about the local area, too!), or an awesome entree (I will always come back for that pork chop!). You are now on record and the compliment becomes a part of the employee’s file, too.

Happy dining, Anders!

6 Comments for 'My Compliments to the Chef'

  1.  
    July 5, 2006 | 7:35 pm
     

    That’s good to know. I’ll be sure to try and leave some written compliments when they are well deserved.

  2.  
    July 6, 2006 | 10:05 am
     

    I was out for a meal with a couple of my friends. We had gone to this small, unpretentious place that is known for its biryanis (an Indian rice preparation). We chose to be a little daring and ordered Chinese. The person who took the order was so sweet – he explained that such preparations were not really their forte. When we insisted, he told us exactly how the dish was prepared and confirmed if that is what we wanted.

    That really is one of the best services I have had in a long time – to have someone serve me as if my dining experience mattered to him. I wish I had said something other than a ‘Thank you’ and leaving behind a good tip.

    That waiter was really precious. :-)

  3.  
    July 6, 2006 | 9:07 pm
     

    Mukta–Believe me, a thank you and a nice tip were just the right way to say it all.

  4.  
    Kay
    July 7, 2006 | 3:19 pm
     

    We were in Napa Valley the week after Thanksgiving last year and went to eat at a lovely restaurant, Auberge du Soleil. After a really marvelous meal I expressed our appreciation to our waiter, highlighting the dessert. I asked if he thought Chef would be willing to share the recipe. He said that the pastry chef was not there at the time, but if I left my business card he would make sure the chef knew of my comments.

    The next morning at 10:00 a.m. I received an e-mail from Paul Lemieux, the Executive Pastry Chef thanking me for my comments and including the recipe for the dessert I so admired. He did note that I might want to scale it back for a smaller number of plates – near as I can tell, his serves about 100. :-)

    P.S. I have since made said dessert at home to rave reviews – and I give all the credit to Chef Lemieux.

  5.  
    July 7, 2006 | 9:30 pm
     

    Kay–Great story!

  6.  
    Adrian
    November 29, 2010 | 8:19 am
     

    I sent compliments to the chef in a fabulous pub in North Yorkshire. I was actually a bit worried that it might sound pompous (that’s why I’m having a look at the subject on the web!). I was stunned and very gratified that our waitress came back and said: “The chef says ‘thank you’.” It made the whole thing even more personal.

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