The “complete dining experience” (you know; anything and everything that leads to and from the entire modus operandi of eating out) in restaurants and eateries has been the ultimate subject of numerous global vigilante “critics”, “reviewers” (a majority of which, I am quite certain, have no clue about what it is like to be a part of the food and beverage (F&B) industry). Sites like Yelp, hungrygowhere, and SoShiok (among tons of others) have allowed and aided such individuals to air their thoughts and views with, quite literally, the rest of the world. Anybody with access to an electronic device, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop; and an internet connection can instantly make or break an establishment with as little as 140 characters (photograph optional; but highly essential in proving and justifying one’s in-depth rant or highly professed praise).
However, what usually makes the headlines are the honest responses (the ones without the usual PR-sounding apology template) of the establishments that receive such feedback – notably those which highlight a patron’s displeasure in the course of the aforementioned dining experience. Recently, two parties (both of whom spared no effort to proudly declare their corresponding affiliations in the Singapore F&B industry) locked horns over Facebook. Back-and-forth statements and e-mails laced with sarcasm and attempts to “one-up” each other managed to gather the parties their respective fan base (of sorts); and the whole melodrama of pointing of fingers and attempt to figure who started it ensued (much to the delight of neutralists and curious passers-by). Heck, some “conspiracy theorists” have even labelled this as some sort of a marketing strategy. Ah, the internet…
In instances like these, it would be best not to take sides. Personal emotions should not get in the way of one’s professional outlook on things. One person makes a fuss? No problem. After all, it is just ONE person – out of the hundreds of others who frequent (and bring in moolah to) the bloody place. On the other hand, a blatant low blow (the dissatisfied patron cheekily and deliberately named one of the restaurant’s competitor – located within the immediate vicinity, no less – to be “always welcoming… Even when I don’t make a reservation”) washes down any attempt to salvage the already pride-fueled problem in a possibly respectful manner down the drain. And to think that both of these individuals have years of F&B experience (essential points which they made clear during their alternating e-mail and Facebook tirade) under their respective belts.
Setting aside your respective prides would have been a good start to attempt to remedy the situation. At the end of it, here are the key points to consider;
- the dissatisfied one is only one “black sheep” in a herd (pun intended) of satisfied customers,
- and the restaurant which supposedly rendered “disappointing service” is just one out of many others within the vicinity, let alone Singapore.