How to Prepare for a Visit from a Food Critic

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Restaurant Critic

Critics are a big part of the restaurant business – one review from the
right person can make or break an establishment.  Typically, when a critic is visiting your
restaurant, you don’t have any clue and that’s hard to prepare for. But, sometimes, you get an advanced warning
for when they will be coming in, and that is your time to shine a light on
what’s great about you! Though, it is
important to treat every guest equally and with great customer service,
sometimes people fall through the cracks (no matter how diligent you are), but
having that happen while a critic or reviewer is present can be
devastating. Let’s discuss a few ways
you can be prepared for when a critic visits your business:


Don’t Over-Do It
The restaurant critic who visits your business has likely been doing this a
little while, they’ve seen a little bit of everything so trying to impress them
sometimes has the opposite effect. Don’t
comp their meal or offer them special items that aren’t on the menu, and don’t
ignore all your other guests and focus on them. They are there to give an honest review on a meal and experience that
the average person would receive, but that’s difficult to do if you’re changing
everything to better accommodate them. A
little special attention and flattery is perfectly fine and offering them the
best restaurant dining table in the house is never a bad idea, but try to be as
normal and low key as possible.

It’s also not polite to ask if the suspected critic really is a food critic or
stare at them without saying anything. It can be exciting and exhilarating when they visit, but try to remember
that they are people who are just trying to enjoy a meal like everyone
else. Most of us probably wouldn’t like
it if staff members gathered to look at us and talk about our presence either.

Don’t Panic

You know the food you offer is excellent, and you know your staff are on point
with their tasks, manners and timeliness. So, once the critic arrives, there’s no point is panicking over how
everything and everyone is doing. Try to
relax and go with the flow – you want to give the impression that you are a
well-put-together establishment that offers food you are confident in and is
staffed with individuals who know what they’re doing. Even though you may feel like that isn’t true
at times, the confidence you exude helps others feel more comfortable and at
ease.

Be Ready
If you have the luxury of knowing a critic will be visiting your establishment
soon, be prepared! Sit down with your
chef and do a rundown of your menu for the night they’ll be visiting – if
there’s an item that’s just not working, you might want to take it off the
menu. On the contrary, if there’s an
item that you are known for that they will most likely be coming in to try,
make sure you have everything you need on hand to make that meal to best of your
capabilities. You may or may not choose
to let your staff know a critic is coming, but if you do choose to, make sure
they know the proper etiquette when dealing with a reviewer. There’s no such thing as being too prepared
when it comes to the fate of your restaurant!