Complaints about restaurants are unavoidable, however, the manner in which they are handled can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Restaurants are often a pleasant place to dine, providing a break from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and the opportunity to savor delicious food. However, there are common issues that can arise that can disrupt the dining experience. If not addressed promptly, these common restaurant complaints can cause customer dissatisfaction and negatively affect the restaurant’s image.

This blog will provide an overview of  common restaurant complaints and offer evidence-based solutions to help resolve them and leave customers satisfied.

Here are 11 common restaurant complaints and solutions on how to save the day:

Low-quality food or drink 

Restaurant dissatisfaction is a prevalent issue among customers, and can be the result of a variety of sources, including inadequate ingredients, incorrect cooking methods, or pre-existing food. 

When a customer expresses dissatisfaction with their food or beverage, the initial response should be to apologize and provide a replacement. Additionally, the restaurant should investigate the source of the issue and take corrective action to ensure that it does not recur.

Order mix-up

In a study conducted by Toast, a restaurant management platform, 77% of customers mentioned that order accuracy significantly influences their decision to return to a restaurant. This is another frequent complaint, and can be particularly exasperating for customers with dietary limitations or allergies. 

If the wrong order is received, the initial step should be to apologize and offer to rectify the issue. Additionally, the customer should be compensated for the meal or beverage as a form of apology.

Slow service

This is a particularly irritating issue for customers who may be dining with small children or who may have limited time available.  When a customer raises the issue of delayed service, the initial response should be to apologize and clarify the cause of the delay. Additionally, the apology should be accompanied by an offer of complimentary appetizers or beverages. In fact, a study showed that restaurants that employ modern scheduling software saw a 20% increase in overall operational efficiency, leading to faster service. 

Poor customer service 

Complaints about poor customer service can arise from a variety of sources, including staff that are not courteous or attentive, extended wait times, or difficulties in obtaining assistance. 

When a customer files a complaint, the first step should be to apologize and attempt to resolve the issue promptly. Additionally, it is important to communicate the importance of providing superior customer service to your staff.


Complaints about unsanitary conditions can arise from a variety of sources, including dirty tables, tarnished silverware, and unsanitary bathrooms. 

When a customer makes a complaint regarding unsanitary conditions, the appropriate response should be to apologize and to take immediate action to rectify the situation. Additionally, it is important to review cleaning procedures and ensure that staff are adhering to them.

Overpriced menu items 

This is an issue that can arise due to a variety of reasons, including high food prices, a need to maximize profit margins, or lack of competitive pressure. Overpriced menu items can leave diners feeling unsatisfied, with 79% considering fair pricing a significant factor in their dining experience.

When a customer makes a complaint about an overpriced menu item, you should take the feedback into consideration and adjust your pricing accordingly. Additionally, you should ensure that the items on your menu are worth the cost by utilizing quality ingredients and providing generous portions.

General atmosphere 

A study by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration found that ambiance has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and the likelihood of returning. Complaints about the overall atmosphere of a restaurant can arise from a range of sources, including loud music, overexerted lighting, and uncomfortable seating. 

When a customer makes a complaint, it is important to take note of their experience and adjust the restaurant accordingly. For instance, the volume of music, the illumination of the area, or the selection of seating options should all be taken into consideration.

Unavailable products or services 

This type of complaint can be the result of a number of sources, including supply chain issues, inadequate personnel, or equipment malfunctions. 

When a customer expresses dissatisfaction with a product or service that is not available, the appropriate response should be to apologize and provide an alternative. Additionally, the appropriate action should be taken to address the source of the issue and ensure that it does not recur.

Delivery arrived late or cold

This is a common complaint for customers who order food delivery. 

If a customer complains about a late or cold delivery, the first thing you should do is apologize and offer them a refund or discount. You should also talk to your delivery service about the importance of on-time and accurate deliveries.

Food poisoning or indigestion 

This is a serious complaint that can have a significant impact on your restaurant’s reputation.

If a customer complains about food poisoning or indigestion, you should immediately contact your local health department. You should also investigate the cause of the problem and take steps to prevent it from happening again.

Noise Levels

Excessive noise levels can disrupt conversations and make for an uncomfortable dining experience.

A survey by Zagat, a restaurant rating and review platform, showed that 76% of diners are bothered by loud restaurants. In order to reduce noise complaints, consider incorporating sound-retaining materials into the interior of the restaurant, such as carpeting, curtains or acoustic panels. Additionally, manage reservations to manage seating density and spacing to reduce noise. Establishing designated quiet zones or times can accommodate customers who desire a more tranquil dining experience.

In addition to the above solutions, here are some general tips for handling customer complaints:

  • Listen to the customer carefully and let them know that you are taking their complaint seriously.
  • Apologize for the inconvenience and offer to resolve the issue immediately.
  • Be honest and transparent with the customer.
  • Be professional and courteous at all times.
  • Follow up with the customer to make sure that they are satisfied with the resolution.


In the culinary world, where experiences are created with care and flavors are intertwined with moments, the common restaurant complaints we have examined are not barriers to success, but rather opportunities for restaurants to demonstrate their dedication to providing exceptional service and creating unforgettable moments for their customers. While these common complaints may sometimes detract from the pleasure of dining, the solutions provided in this blog provide insight into the journey to culinary redemption.

Restaurants have the potential to turn negative experiences into positive ones. By replacing slow service with attentive efficiency, cold food can be heated with a hint of care, while poor food quality can be improved by the use of the best ingredients and careful preparation. Non-hostile staff can be welcomed with a sense of hospitality, while noise levels can be reduced to allow for conversations to take place.

Accurate orders can be corrected with humility and promptness, while long wait times can be turned into moments of anticipation. By taking these steps, restaurants can not only save the day, but also create an exceptional dining experience that surpasses expectations. Every meal, every visit, and every smile leaves a lasting impression on the patrons’ memories. The restaurant industry is a constantly evolving landscape, where every day is an opportunity to enhance the quality of hospitality.

At the end of the day, it is not just about responding to complaints; it is about creating moments of culinary enchantment. When restaurants embrace these solutions and a commitment to continual improvement, they are not only saving the day, but also paving the way for a more prosperous and satisfactory future in the restaurant industry. The success of a restaurant is not determined by the lack of complaints, but rather by the level of excellence and creativity with which these complaints are addressed, resulting in a lasting smile on the face of each diner.

TechRyde Inc.