Is a Food Critic Visiting Your Restaurant? Here’s Some Advice

Running a restaurant is a time-consuming job that requires a variety of skills. From ensuring customers enjoy the food to accommodating their requests to managing your employees, it’s a job that can be both challenging and rewarding. However, if a food critic visits your restaurant, that job can get a lot more challenging.

Remember, a food critic isn’t your enemy, so don’t panic. A food critic visiting your restaurant is actually quite the achievement because it means your business has made a reputation for itself. A bad review might indeed be bad for your business, but the food critic is there because they’ve heard good things, so deliver the same quality service and food that you would for any other patron. If you want to ensure you get a good review, just follow our guide.

Treat a food critic the same as any other customer in your restaurant.

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It may be tempting to try to chat up your food critic and get on their good side but don’t. You and your staff should try to be attentive but not bothersome. Constantly checking in on your critic, carrying long conversations, and simply not leaving them alone can be overwhelming. Remember, the experience is just as much a part of the review as your food itself. Once your food critic walks in, give them a warm welcome and go about the process as usual. This also means sticking to your original menu. Don’t go out of your way to create a fancy, new meal, as the critic came to taste your original menu anyway.

Ensure your restaurant equipment is working correctly.

This is one step you should always double-check when a critic enters your restaurant. Take a quick look at all of your equipment and make sure it’s clean and working properly. You never know what your food critic might order from your menu, and it can be a rough first impression to inform them you can’t complete the meal they’ve chosen at this time.

If you already have a critic in your restaurant, it may be too late to do anything about malfunctioning equipment. So, it’s always a good idea to take regular stock of your equipment conditions and replace them ahead of time so you’re always prepared. If you don’t have the cash to buy a new piece outright, consider financing so you can stay on top of your game. Just give “equipment financing new restaurant” a quick search, and you’ll find everything you need.

Coach your staff on what to do when a food critic visits your restaurant.

Coaching in the workplace is essential for any business. You need your employees to understand their jobs and priorities to the fullest to execute flawlessly. Specifically, you may need to coach them on what not to do when a food critic visits. Remind them not to overwhelm the critic, but don’t leave them alone for longer than they would any other customer. In addition, you want your employees to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere while affording your patrons the privacy they want to enjoy their meals. Check out resources online for guidance about regular coaching tactics and the personal benefits of coaching.

Don’t offer a food critic a complimentary meal.

This is a common mistake among restaurant owners. You may have good intentions offering to comp their meal. However, a food critic might see your offer as more of a bribe than simple friendliness. Your food critic wants to provide a fair, honest review of your restaurant, and paying for their meal may tarnish that. Only comp a meal as a means of apologizing for some colossal mistake. For example, suppose the kitchen staff took over an hour to make their meal. In that case, comping a meal is completely necessary to make up for the long wait time. Aside from looking like you’re bribing the critic, complimentary meals aren’t needed, as food critics are usually reimbursed by their employers.

So, get out there and get cooking!

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With these tips for handling a food critic, your restaurant should be set up for success. So, follow our guide and you should be just fine.

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