5 of the Worst Customers in Your Restaurant That Seem Impossible To Please

This article is going to give you an introduction to five types of patrons that are very hard to please. We can also divulge some strategies here to help those customers leave with a smile.

By Nicola Barcellona
My mentor used to regularly say:
In life, you walk and you move – or you sit and wait – sooner or later, you meet an asshole.

There is a special place that this asshole loves to frequent: restaurants.

With the restaurant scene becoming more complex and enriching, your customers (especially those assholes) are looking for a personalized experience every time they dine.

Below you can find 5 profiles of terrible customers common to restaurants. These patrons make the lives of your servers very difficult, but below you are also going to find some time-honored strategies to please them despite their awful demeanor.

#1- The Foodie
If you were to ask me how I would explain the word “foodie” for some new dictionary getting developed, I might suggest that it is just a term developed to put a less aggressive moniker on food-obsessed patrons.

Foodies come in all shapes and sizes, much to the dismay of the leagues of those with a morbid attraction to Gordon Ramsay to the point of stalking. Foodies love to use social media to talk about their obsessions and also seek out renowned areas before their accommodations when traveling to new places.

The foodie loves great dining options and remains up to date with gastronomic fashions. Their use of social media like Facebook and Instagram can be influential. They experiment, get informed in latest trends, and can use influence to make life hard for hard working restaurant owners with endless questions.

While you can expect annoying questions like the origin of your ingredients and the specific recipes that you use, a little time and effort in answering the demands of this customer can make him a loyal patron in the long run.

#2- Forever Dissatisfied
I am a firm believer that anyone, with minimal effort, has the capacity to become a pain in the ass. A few of these troublemakers get elected to the esteemed office of eternally dissatisfied and can rise to the ranks to become a legendary pain.

These customers are a challenge because they are not very interested in your restaurant or its food. They expect their experience to measure up to seemingly impossible standards.

You must arm yourself with limitless patience and do your best to not become overtaken by this constant distaste and respond to the customer’s needs with education and not absorb the criticism.

The best way to handle this type of customer is to guide them in a choice of dishes. If you exceed expectations and make him feel better than other restaurants, it is very feasible that you can make a loyal customer.

#3- A New ‘Protagonist’ for Your Restaurant
This customer is the type that must be the bridegroom in every wedding or the dead at any funeral. Case in point, they are unreasonable without becoming the center of attention in any situation.

A good approach for this kind of client is a secluded table where he can have some space. You have to find answers that do not offend him and maintain control of the situation.

Remember that you are the protagonist of your business – it’s your restaurant. You must be able to offer some of these egocentric individuals the opportunity to become the center of attention at times, however.

While they might feel impossible, spoiling them can work. Provide them with a good table, find out how everything is going after every course. Providing fast service and a small discount at the end of the meal is a great approach to bowling them over.

#4- Everyone’s “Friend”
This is the guy who has never met a stranger.

Those first couple minutes of the conversation can show you that this type is nicer than the last few patrons, but after those initial minutes, you risk going crazy.

This is a customer that needs your attention, and he loves to chat (much more than he should.) He wants to ask personal questions, know everything you know, and can become quite intrusive within only a few minutes.

The way that you can win him over is to understand his satisfaction is less about the food. He wants to feel at home.

This is one of the patrons that you really need to coddle, but you must develop a polite manner of getting to the point where necessary. You can lose a lot of time with this customer and end up with a headache without the right approach.

#5- The Tortoise and the Hare
There are two types of customers for this last section – those that are incredibly slow and take all the time possible to order, and those that are in a hurry to get a dish ordered as soon as they get to the table.

Both of these are equally annoying in a bustling restaurant setting, let’s be honest.

Conquering these situations is all about time management. You need to keep the slow customers from feeling pressured to decide and prevent the fast customers from wanting to leave. If you can find the right rhythm for these customers, you can keep them returning.

Nothing more, nothing less. All you need to do is speed up or slow down your service according to what customer you deal with – nothing else.

No matter what customer you face, there are five universal actions that can help you conquer any problematic client:

  • Always start with a smile
  • Keep eye contact and a positive attitude
  • Answer questions honestly, quickly, and confidently
  • Show an interest in what the customer needs
  • Always leave the customer in a polite manner
  • Welcoming a customer focuses on the art of experience that you already likely possess.
Hopefully, this article has helped you reinforce some ideas of how to interact and welcome troublesome customers. Converting these clients to loyal patrons should always be the goal.

Every customer is important and the effort that you put in is going to separate you from other restaurants in the area. You can make regular customers who become less and less problematic every time they arrive because of your stellar services and confident approach

Nicola Barcellona Marketing Consultant that specializes in digital strategies for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Tourism and F&B fields. I help entrepreneurs to increase sales and revenue through integrated online and offline marketing strategies.alert-info

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