No Fuss Please We're Chiswick!

When it comes to restaurant service it seems we’ll do anything to avoid making a scene

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Although we’re happy enough to return faulty goods to the retailer, when it comes to restaurant service it seems we’ll do anything to avoid making a scene, even if things aren’t up to scratch.

A recent survey undertaken by revealed that over two thirds of respondents (68%) had found cause to complain but only half had taken issue with the waiter. Managing Director Gordon Lloyd West said:“The survey has confirmed that as a nation we still don’t like to make a fuss, but the only way standards will go up is if restaurants and cafes have customer feedback.”

At one time eating out was seen as a luxury, with the maître d wielding as much authority as your doctor or bank manager. Now, most of us eat out at least once a week and possess the skill to discern freezer-bagged fodder from fresh. So why the reluctance to get vocal?

Theoretically we should feel more confident than ever about taking issue with substandard food. In the past ten years people have become increasingly knowledgeable. Foreign travel has broadened our taste horizons, while TV chefs like Jamie Oliver stream a constant supply of chefy know-how into our sitting rooms.

TV Chef Richard Phillips said: “We Brits generally aren't ones to complain, but diners who grumble all the way through meal, then tell the waiter "Very nice, thank you," at the end and tell all their friends how bad the restaurant was aren't doing the industry or themselves any favours. If there is something wrong we want to know.”

It seems that diners are mistaking their right to complain for rudeness or personal attack. Something as simple as serving meals at the right temperature is being left unchallenged with the survey revealing that the Nation's biggest complaint is that their food is served cold.

March 8, 2011