Chefs, Customers & Menus

A Chefs reason for being is to prepare food that satisfies his customer. It’s also a creative process, a form of artistic expression if you will. Every Chef just wants the customer to appreciate the effort that goes into making a selection of signature dishes. Customers can be difficult at times, sometimes very difficult. Today’s blog deals with the chef/customer relationship. We will look at it from the customer perspective, the chefs slant, and if it’s possible to meet in the middle. I like to look at any exchange of goods as a sales relationship. I also think that there isn’t a lot of general knowledge about Chefs, and what they do. In case your wondering, I wrote a piece a while ago back that explains in more detail; http://www.professionalchefsfoodnetwork.org/2021/04/19/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-chef/

Chefs want customers to be honest about whether or not they enjoyed their meal.

Yes, it’s true, despite the sometimes huge ego’s, chefs do want to know how the customer felt about the food. We do care about the customer, they write our cheque at the end of the day.

A former chef mentioned that she always appreciated when customers were actually honest when asked if they enjoyed their meal. 

“I appreciate honesty and understand everyone likes things a little differently, especially when it comes to food. If a customer didn’t like their meal, I’d love it if they told me what about the meal they did not like so next time I can try to make it to their liking,” said Shunk. 

Although it may seem more polite to pretend you simply weren’t hungry after leaving a full plate on the table, a kindly-worded critique isn’t likely to offend the chef.

Chefs wish customers would taste their food before adding salt to it.

“As a chef, I season my food well. When customers receive their food, I always notice if they reach for the salt and pepper without tasting it first. The food can end up over-seasoned — and the blame for that often falls on the chef. 

Chefs prefer when customers address problems in person rather than in reviews.

An executive chef in West Hollywood, California, told Insider that he would love it if more customers addressed problems with their dining experience in person instead of through online reviews.

“It’s beneficial for management to address the issue in real time opposed to hearing about it via a negative post on Yelp after you leave,” said Fiorelli. 

Fiorelli explained that talking to someone before leaving the restaurant allows the staff to receive feedback directly, resolve the issue, and improve where necessary in order to prevent the problem from occurring again. 

Chefs love when customers are adventurous eaters.

“We love it when customers are open-minded about trying new things. Being open to new tastes can often make your dining experience even better than you might realize,” said any chef.

Diners should be especially open to trying dishes that are recommended by the staff. Servers often get to sample each new dish as it’s added to the menu, so they know what’s worth ordering. 

Customers should read menu descriptions carefully before asking questions.

Asking questions is a great way to figure out what to order, customers should check to see if their question is answered by the menu first. 

“We took the time to write menu descriptions to help you determine what to order. Please ask questions, but try to refrain from asking what is printed on the menu you just read.

Always check in with restaurant staff if you have any food allergies, regardless of what is printed on the menu. 

Be specific when asking for recommendations.

If you ask for suggestions from your server, bartender, barista, or chef, try to be specific as to what you prefer in terms of flavor elements and textures.

Otherwise, you may end up being served something you don’t enjoy. 

“What one person likes may not be what you like, so try to offer more about what appeals to you. For example, tell the chef if you are sensitive to spice or if you like sweeter items. At the end of the day, it all comes down to communication. Chef, service and customer, the lines have to be clear.

CONCLUSION

There are tons of horror stories regarding the breakdown in communication in restaurants. Some are frightening, food allergies with dire circumstance through to just strait out miscommunication about menu items themselves. The most important thing for a restaurant is proper training and understanding of what you serving. And we Chefs have to remember that 99% of the time, the customer is right. They pay your salary, and are your guarantee of success or failure. So, let’s just all get along, right? Happy Monday Everybody! Cheers!