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Obnoxoius customers

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone I've been reading Marco Pierre White's book recently and apparently in his early career he had a restaurant called Harveys in London. If a customer at Harveys was being particularly obnoxious MPW would instuct his Maitre D' to clear the table of everything except the cloth whilst completely ignoring the customers' protests, then Marco would emerge from the kitchen and remove the cloth in one fell swoop. The customers were left sitting at a bare table eventually embarrassed into leaving. They called this whooshing a table. Oh how I feel like whooshing on a regular basis.

How many of you have dreamed of whooshing a table???? How many actually have?

How do you deal with obnoxious customers in your restaurant?
post #2 of 15
Well, I haven't "whoosed the table." But I have gone out yanked the plates off of the table and "You don't have to pay for it.......... but you don't get to eat it if you aren't going to pay for it."

Drunk, protesting loudly about what was wrong, why he wasn't going to pay for it, all the while shoveling huge mouthfuls of his dinner in.
post #3 of 15
yeah-gotta love the customer who buys a product, consumes it and then want his $ back...I get into trouble a lot for tellin stupid customers they are...stoopid...I dont reccomend that type of behavior though...
post #4 of 15
Have you seen the movie "No Reservations" - the scene when the complaining customer wanting the rare steak X2, gets the raw one on the knife stabbed into the table- now THAT would be a great way to stop the whining.... if only.......:lol:
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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post #5 of 15
I usually make every attempt to make a customer happy, as I'm sure we all do.
Sometimes a customer is determined to be unhappy no matter what you do.
My response then is "So sorry to have lost your business", and calmly walk away.
One of my Chef's caught me doing this once and asked me to explain.
I told him that this customer was obviously so upset that I assumed they wouldn't return.
He liked that so much he has used it a time or two.

Now, in my younger days, I once answered the phone and spoke with one of these types.
Small mom and pop place, and the phone was near the line, so I'm trying to make her happy with the phone in the crook of my neck while juggling saute pans.
Finally, after many attempts at appeasing her, with offers of comps, etc., I finally said "Give me a break lady, I'm just the %$#@! dishwasher", and hung up.
The next day when I came in I saw the owner reaming all of the dishwashers, and them all with bewildered looks on their faces.
Priceless.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #6 of 15
Since moving our restaurant to its new location, we have gotten some of the oddest complaints/customers I've ever dealt with. i.e. My ice water is too cold; There's too many organic items on the menu, were leaving; You use Middle Eastern ingredients and that's not very patriotic; One lady seated on the patio complained that a fly crawled out of her salmon, and when asked if perhaps it flew onto her plate she replied, how could it have flown, It's dead; We have a customer that likes to pretend he's "the man", when in actuality he's just another trust fund baby, he insists on having only the owners wait on him, regularly insults other employees, and is otherwise very high maintenance. But he does spend a fair amount of money, so they put up with him. All in all how you deal with customers depends on you and what you are willing to tolerate/ put up with. Just as a follow up question, could you imagine if people treated people in other fields of business like they do in restaurants, for example imagine going into your mechanic and telling him that you want new tires, but not the ones they are selling, and you wanted them installed front then back, and left to right, I think they might look at you like you were crazy, yet people won't hesitate to demand that their food is prepared differently than it is listed on the menu, tell you to cook ahi tuna to well done, and then say they don't want to pay for it because it was dry. Never ceases to amaze me.
post #7 of 15
When i have my restauraunt im going to put on the menu in the back failier to point out falts in the meal before comsuming will lead to charging.

or something along those lines. haha
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I think the answer to whinging customers is to have someone out front who is able to deal with them. I am so lucky my wife has the patience of a saint and she mothers them all, even the old guys and they love it. She knows all of their life stories, grandchildren's names and everything. When she is not not around they complain that they miss her. How bizzare! this is a restaurant not and old folks home.
post #9 of 15
it is all attitude isn't it
So, in a restaurant if someone is complaining.....depending on how loud/obnoxious they are, the rest of the dining room is privy to the way the restaurant responds. Of course they are wondering if the customer has legitimate reason to complain. So it's not only the table you're turning out but the rest of the dining room and their friends/acquaintences are watching/talking.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 15
Ah the beauty of casinos. When someone gets unruly in one of my restaurants and reasonable efforts have failed, I just call security and the problem goes away quickly. Just a friendly word of advice to anyone considering getting drunk and obnoxious in a Vegas casino. Not recommended.
It's Good To Be The King!
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It's Good To Be The King!
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post #11 of 15
I have not ever "Whooshed" a table, but my second once had a steak (cooked bleu) sent back for being "Too Rare". He went out FOH and made the customer stand up. He took all there plates and returned with the bill. The problem was twelve couverts who refused to pay, wasting three chateubriands, and three fillet steaks.
Bad day for all!
post #12 of 15
Just last week, one of our customers remarked at the bread they were served by asking what kind of rolls we had. When the server got to the multigrain roll, she wanted to know what kinds of grains were in this roll. Same customer wanted to know what kind of onions, tomato juice(not sure why?!). This was all after a reservation of 8:45(close at 9) and arriving at 9:30. Then tipped the server with a little paper bible.
post #13 of 15
HAHAHAHAHAHA! At least your server knows Jesus loved them. lol

The most difficult customers are often the worst tippers.

A customer at my friends restaurant at their every day for lunch and never left a tip, one day she dined with her father who in from out of town I guess and as they were walking you she says to her dad "Did you leave a tip?" He said, yes, $5, she went back to table and grabbed it.
post #14 of 15
to abefroman:

I think in that case the server/owner/manager has a constitutional right to stop the asshat customer and lecture them for half an hour on what horrible human beings they are, and then hit them with a baseball bat like a pinata.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #15 of 15
LOL, true but I think the fact she comes in everyday for lunch makes up for it and this place is like $12 a ticket, so its not like a $4 sandwich place. If they said that to her and she was offened and never came back the lost business from her meals would be more than not getting a tip from her.

If I was the owner I would probably add 15% gratuity on to her ticket, or ask her what she believes a fair amount of gratutity is, provided she was happy with the service, an add that to her ticket, or give my server and extra buck or two for having to wait on her.
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