How to offer constructive feedback to restaurant?

A favorite local restaurant that’s been remarkably consistent over the years has disappointed us the last two times we have had dinner there. Something’s changed recently, and I have a guess it might be a new manager not expediting completed orders from kitchen to table promptly enough. Since I have a yet-to-be confirmed hunch that that the slip ups may be due to the manager, what might be a constructive, effective way to offer feedback so that we can enjoy pleasant dinners there once more?

We have greatly enjoyed this place and want to see them continue doing well.

If you have been a patron of this restaurant, you may know the owner. Speak to him/her directly. Most restaurants worth their salt want to hear about consistent issues so they can act on them…

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Thank you for this advice. Two below average experiences at this mainstay (in the past couple of weeks) do seem worth letting the owner know.

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Try Trip Advisor, most businesses pay attention. Two examples: I had a great experience at a Double Tree in NW Austin and I told Maria at the front desk how helpful she was and she said put it on Trip Advisor, I did and got an immediate response from the manager.

The other was at a favorite seafood place in Surfside, Tx. where we had rushed and pushy service. The owner responded quickly and promised to address the problem.

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I have to agree with this although hate when people totally go straight to trip advisor when they want to totally slam a place.

I would try talking to the owner first- be positive but let them know that things have been slightly off lately.

If people are made aware of concerns, they generally want to try and resolve them. Too many turn into an unnecessary drama on the internet because people don’t try more subtle options first.

Do they do quality checks and do you answer honestly?

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Trip Advisor–now that’s creative. Going direct to the restaurant owner is now my plan but that might be a helpful workaround. (Direct feels right in this situation because the restaurant is local to me.) Thank you, jcostiones!

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So glad that you brought up the quality check, Salsailsa. I seem to recall that the times when our meals were substandard, the “How is your dinner” check-in was also missing. You’re reinforcing for me that getting feedback to the restaurant owner is the way I want to go – we really want to keep this spot in our dining rotation.

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I only slam a place that deserves it. I prefer to praise a place so they can get more business and keep the doors open, indeed just looked up my posts and of the 29 only four were negative.

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What is actually surprisingly effective is a letter. Not an email, or internet posting, but an actual real hand written letter, addressed to the owner.
State that you have been loyal customers for X number of years and were disppointed by your most recent visits because of 1) 2) and 3) and make your points, and also honest feedback about what could have improved the situation. Keep it short, concise, and to the point. Dates of your meals and what you ordered would help them pinpoint the issues at hand.
Leave your full name and a phone /email

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I think a sincere polite letter can be a good way out.

I think if I really like the restaurant, I will tell them directly after the meal. Face to face talk can be embarrassing/intimidated but more effective. Ask for the chef or the manager. At least you get a faster and more direct answer.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold