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Haddon Heights, New Jersey, United States

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Have a Question

Elements is not a big chain restaurant, so we aren't going to give away a free meal every time someone doesn't like something. We do however like to get feed back from our guests and when someone speaks up at the table and doesn't like something, we respond immediately and appropriately. With that in mind could someone please answer this question.

If I ask someones opinion about the food, should I just say thank you and move on or should I try to give explanation of the dishes? What would you want?

This very situation came up this past weekend about two of my staple dishes-bread pudding was "just croutons with cream over it" and the flourless chocolate torte "is dry, crumbly and doesn't taste fresh". These two dishes I've been doing for 15 years and seem to make people happy. They are not New Jersey sickly sweet Italian bakery desserts and freshness I think is a hallmark of this restaurant--- we make everything fresh. The only thing we don't make is bread.

So if people, fan or not, could please respond I would appreciate it.


  1. Hey Fred -

    I think it's all about who's making the comment. I'm sure you can evaluate if they're worth your time and explanation or if they're just complaining for the sake of it.
    I would suggest to start by saying thank you for the feedback and move on from there... Certainly NOT give away free dessert because they didn't like their choice.
    If you feel like there is an option for conversation, go ahead; you're right it's always good to get feedback... when it's constructive.

  2. Some people fancy themselves restaurant critics and that sounds like the case here. A little pretentious maybe, trying to sound like they know something, and maybe they do.

    If you asked me and I didn't like something about the food, I'd appreciate the explanation. Start with a "thank you for your feedback" and take it from there. Your food rocks, but you can't please everybody.

  3. My opinion is that it would be best to say something along the lines of "I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it" and if you could say in a cheerful (non-defensive) tone, you might add "It's very popular" if in fact it happens to be true about the particular dish in question. I wouldn't explain the dish further because I think that would come off as sounding defensive and annoyed. The only other thing I might say is to respond to the "not fresh" comment and say that it was baked that morning or whenever. You don't want to discourage customer feedback, even negative, as at times it is valuable. That said, there is no pleasing some people so try not to let it get to you.


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