Building a successful career as a chef requires listening to both positive and negative feedback and learning from your mistakes. While earning an online culinary arts certificate, you’ll receive all kinds of constructive criticism about the ways you cook and present your dishes. As a cooking professional, you’ll continue to grow by taking into account what customers have to say about your creations.
To get the most out of guest comments, you need reliable methods for gathering their responses. Choosing the right strategies for inviting feedback and considering the results will guide you forward as a chef. Here are three steps for making the most of what diners have to say:
1. Ask for their opinions
It might seem self-explanatory, but finding the right ways to request feedback can be complicated. As the U.S. Small Business Administration explained, discovering how people feel starts with being open to simple, everyday interactions with the clientele. You can obtain a little more detail by providing comment cards, especially when individuals have an exceptionally good or bad time.
For a more comprehensive look at how a business is doing, a survey might be the way to go. By reaching out via email or social media, you can gather a great deal of information, especially if you provide an incentive for completing the questionnaire. By keeping the survey short, you’ll get more people to finish and thus more meaningful results.
If you’re hoping for more positive reviews, it’s a good idea to allow customers a little time before asking for their reactions. In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, researchers examined over 166,000 customer reviews of restaurants. The results suggested reviewers are more likely to accentuate their better memories if they have some distance from the experience.
2. Take advantage of online review sites
Many chefs and restaurateurs have mixed feelings about online reviews. As The New York Times pointed out, ratings are sometimes unreliable and influenced by factors outside of quality. However, the overall online response to a business can make a huge difference in its long-term success.
Reading through this feedback will reveal what dishes are bringing customers back for repeat visits and what’s falling flat. In addition, it’s a good idea to monitor reviews closely since they will be the first impression that many new patrons have of your business, even if some of the claims seem incorrect or unfair. You may even want to encourage happy customers to express their thoughts online.
3. Plan your response
Just gathering comments from customers isn’t enough. You have to be proactive about continuing to improve and grow your business over time, and that includes responding to reviews and survey results.
GrubHub recommended setting guidelines for replying to complaints and praise. Think about how you might encourage a negative reviewer to come back for a second visit or a positive one to spread the word on social media. Include whether the conversation should take place through a public forum online or privately by email or phone.
Beyond addressing individual issues, the business needs to take larger steps to keep customers happier. Find what problems seem to represent a trend in patrons’ experiences and take action. For chefs, that could mean altering recipes, speeding up preparation, adding more options to the menu for people with dietary restrictions or altering a presentation.
Your culinary academy training will teach you to make a variety of delicious items with care and efficiency. However, every chef can continue to learn and improve. Receiving honest feedback is a vital part of determining what you can still do better and finding success in your career.