When it comes to handling customer complaints, restaurant chefs, owners, and managers have a new tool at their disposal: Twitter. According to the Associated Press, conversations about food that used to only happen between friends are now public thanks to the Internet, and Twitter has only sped up the conversation. Opinions are flying, and restaurants are taking notice.
Case in point: A customer recently tweeted that he was going to WowBao in Chicago for a business dinner – and asked if it was as bad as the reviews suggested. He got an almost immediate response from the restaurant. They suggested he find out for himself – for free - and forwarded two $15 gift cards to his cell phone. He went the next night and posted his praise – and pictures of the food - on Twitter.
Geoff Alexander is the managing partner of WowBao. He says it’s just smart business. After all, if someone has 1,000 Twitter followers and writes a negative tweet, then 1,000 people could think the restaurant is bad. However, if the restaurant responds publicly, the same 1,000 people may see the issue is being handled, and appreciate the effort - and the personal attention - enough to eat there.
Some chains – like Chipotle – even have full-time social media employees prowling the Internet to solve problems. They respond immediately to customers via Twitter, even though they have more than 1,000 restaurants. Recently, one angry Chipotle customer tweeted that the restaurant was out of corn tortillas. Less than two minutes later, the company replied to him, and before he left the restaurant, the corporate office called the local manager to discuss the tortilla situation. The customer was so impressed, he said he’d definitely come back.