There’s a Hair In My Food: What Happens if a Customer Claims Contaminated Food

In the restaurant industry, customers can end up sending a complaint about nearly anything. From cheese not being melted enough to proximity of their table to another table to food being brought out too slowly, diners hold a restaurant’s attention by their feedback. And with the advent of social media and online reviewing sites like Yelp, cafes, bistros, coffee houses and restaurants alike are taking complaints more seriously than ever.

One complaint that seems to stick around is that of a customer finding a hair in their food. No matter how dedicated a restaurant’s kitchen staff is to practicing diligent cleanliness, there are still opportunities for a mistake to be made. Here are some effective tips for handling this kind of customer complaint the right way to alleviate further issues and possible liability risks.

Listen Up

First and foremost, all customer complaints need to be taken seriously. All complaints should be listened to instead of just head and filed away. Restaurant managers and shift leaders should come out and be hands-on with the customer in question and be willing to listen without saying a word, which shows concern and genuine selflessness. This may seem like a simple thing to do, but so often complaints get brushed aside because those on staff try to talk around issues.

Get Covered

Restaurant insurance is a must-have for eateries looking to stay protected against liabilities that can turn into legal battles outside the restaurant. Yes, a hair in a sandwich may seem like a small deal, but if it is not handled the right way or to the customer’s satisfaction, this can possibly lead to legal issues. Restaurant insurance options are meant to protect a restaurant with financial safeguarding against legal fees and the possible financial fallout related to the possibility of missing out on additional customers who catch wind of unsatisfactory performances.

Ask to See the Food

This isn’t meant to come off as if the customer is not telling the truth. Instead, asking to see the food in a polite way to take it away from the table or show it to a manager can be a sympathetic act. After all, you wouldn’t want to have hair in your food for any longer than it should be there.

Take the Customer’s Side

When a complaint like this comes in, there should never be side-taking, outside of siding with the customer. Even if the restaurant staff would never allow a meal to be prepared with a hair in it, the old adage of “the customer is always right” should never be more apparent than during a complaint. Contradicting a customer and turning into an argument will only dig a restaurant into a hole.

Offer Replacement Meals

If something like this happens, one option to make things better is to offer a replacement meal, even if there is one hair present in a big plate. If the customer feels uncomfortable with eating, make sure to take their information to follow up with them or try to handle the issue right there on the spot. Coming up with a solution to solve the problem to the customer’s standards should be the only option.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.

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