In the age of online reviews, could a pledge card help restaurant-customer relations?

The craziest thing happened. The other day I was sitting in my garage with the car running just listening to music, having a glass of wine and thinking about a negative Yelp review. When it occurred to me that I should create a discount card say 5% off when you announce to a restaurant that you are NOT an online reviewer or amateur critic, because you believe in the following things:

  1. I believe that I can use my words and communicate when I am disappointed or feel that a situation isn’t meeting my expectations. But I am under no obligation to do so, if I don’t feel like it, that is my choice. That decision does not however automatically mean that I can then deal with an issue later, at a time, and in a way that is not at least at first direct.
    Further, It is OK to be honest with a server, or ask for a manager for assistance. If I am asked by an owner or manger if I like things, and I don’t, they need to make an effort to assist me without question. I promise to reply honestly to their face, person to person.
  2. When businesses I believe in makes mistakes, because they will, and I’m angry, and frustrated I will not suffer through it. I will make my thoughts known in a way that honors my intentions. If I am rude to someone, I should expect that I may not achieve the results that I am looking for, unless I am looking to offend people.
  3. I am a mature adult, I realize that I may be wrong from time to time, and the customer is not always right. While I am always right in my preference of things-For example, I am allowed to order a steak cooked any darn way I want-I am sometimes wrong about assuming other people can read my mind, know how hungry I am, or see a situation as I do.

We’d make it green- the color of intelligence-and restaurants would know that these card carrying members have an interest in speaking to them as if they were people. People in the hospitality business that yearn to make other people happy. Exchanging ideas, observations, critics, surely honors the valuable role restos play in the community, and us personally by helping them come up with ways to make our experiences better.

Amazingly I saw that another guy invented a card the other day too, it was talked about here.

His card is so folks can extort items, and threaten other people into behaving a certain way…

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Stewart Woodman's picture
Stewart Woodman

Stewart Woodman is chef-owner (with wife Heidi Woodman) of Heidi’s and the Birdhouse, critically acclaimed Minneapolis restaurants.

Comments

Reviews

Adverse reviews are fine.  I wrote one (ONE) on Market Barbecue some time back.  But it was for inferior food.  I do not write them from a bruised ego.  I do not write them to promote some competing restaurant I like better.  I do not downgrade places that merely try for satisfying food, not to please persnickety critics looking for "something new and exciting".  Pleasure of the mouth and stomach should be the goal of restaurateurs, NOT mental titillation for people who make food safaris their lifestyle.  So Mom and Pop have a TOTAL place in this world and deserve a vigorous defense among those who get stimulation internally.  Food critics who are thrill seekers are almost a plague in the world of serving people.  They have frosty noses, some of them. So I don't know if I'm gonnna pledge anything except humility and honesty.