How to turn complaining customer into loyal guests.

November 26th, 2013


A customer who complains is a customer who wants to give you a second chance.

Fielding complaints from customers, whether the customer and their complaint are reasonable or silly, valid or invented, can be draining, annoying and disruptive, but it’s all part of a restaurant owners’s job.

Sometimes complaints can be overwhelming, but if you are able to listen to your customers patiently and attentively, what they are telling you may alert you to a situation in your restaurant that needs attention. What the customer is complaining about just may inform you about a problem that could be costing your restaurant business—and you might never have known about if the customer didn’t tell you.

Who Cares?

Chris Tripoli of A’la Carte Foodservice Consulting Group has heard “the customer is always right” refrain thousands of times. But Tripoli has a twist on the saying. He enthusiastically declares, “The customer isn’t always right, but who cares?”

Tripoli’s point is that it doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. As an operator, your goal is to fill the seats in your restaurant in a profitable way. If you have to comp a meal or eat some humble pie, that’s ok.

Tripoli says that resolving a customer complaint can never be about who is right and who is wrong. Rather he says the best decisions have everything to do with what works.” Here’s how one operator describes it: “I find that the only barrier to comping a complaining customer is my ego. Who cares if you give away a dish? What does it cost you? Almost nothing. You can only win; they are either unhappy, nasty people who will never come back anyway, or they will be impressed and come back, maybe to become regular customers. So get your ego out of the way, give away the food and move on to the next guest who is in love with what you do.”

Dozens of studies exist that prove the beneficial effect on a business when a customer’s problem is resolved in a positive manner. One such study says that 85 percent of people who have a problem with a business that is not resolved will not return. These people are dissatisfied customers, but instead of telling you why, they just walk out and never comeback.

The Bright side is that 80 percent of customers who are a problem resolved will return. Whether you retain those customers comes down to how you handle their complaint. It’s not the problem that makes a restaurant lose an individual’s business; its how that customer’s complaint is resolved.

A Bird in Hand

In Leading on the Edge of Change, authors Emmet and Mark Murphy say that acquiring new customer can cost five times more that satisfying and retaining current customers. It’s cheaper to retain and satisfy an existing customer than to go out and find a new one. That should be motivation enough for putting a smile on your face and dealing with a customer complaint.

Its clear there are strong and sound business reasons for doing what you can to retain a customer. That’s why our first reaction to a complaining customer should always be to extend a hearty “Thank You!”

A customer who complains is a customer who wants to give you a second chance. When your first step is to thank the complaining customer for giving you the opportunity to make things right, you are assuring the customer that you want to do everything you can to make the customer happy again.

Source: Restaurant Startup and Growth

Cheese Facts

April 7th, 2011

Important Facts About Cheese Storage, For The Best Flavor, Longevity And Safety

Every cheese has different requirements, and methods of cheese storage can either enhance or detract from the flavor. The cheese industry has developed helpful guidelines that will protect your cheese from harmful bacteria, extend its period of freshness, and keep the flavor as it is meant to be.

Use cleanliness in all handling, cutting and wrapping. Use only clean, dry containers. Use a thoroughly cleaned knife and cutting board. If handling different varieties of cheese do not use the same knife or cutting board unless it has been washed between different types of cheese, as this can cause harmful bacteria.

When you purchase cheese, inspect it and if any of the covering is not completely secure, do not buy it. The temperature of the cheese must be 45 degrees or lower. If you are buying cheese by mail order, the temperature must have been kept at 45 or less. If not you should reject the order. Refrigerate all cheese as soon as you get it home.

Select the coldest area of your refrigerator. Some models have a space designated — if not, the colder section is in the back, especially on lower shelves.

Avoid placing cheese next to strong foods like onions, sauces or spices. Cover securely to avoid contamination, keep cheese flavor and aroma in, and other flavors and odors out. For the strongest cheese like Limburger, wrap twice, once in parchment paper or formaticum cheese wrap, then in plastic. Formaticum is made especially for cheese. It has an inner layer of thin plastic and outer layer of breathable butcher type paper.

Another good method of storage is an airtight container such as a cheese dome or securely fastened “Tupperware” container. If storing in a container, use one for each type of cheese. The cheese can be unwrapped if using a cheese dome. Domes have the advantage of creating a proper climate with air and humidity, called a cave.

Soft cheese should be stored in airtight Tupperware or a cheese dome, as opposed to a wrapper.

Do not assume that cheese lasts a long time. This is only true for an uncut wheel of aged cheese. Once divided it is easily spoiled. Hard cheese can last up to 8 weeks, soft cheese a few weeks. Label each cheese with the type and date purchased.

Cut off only what you will consume and wrap the rest in a fresh, clean wrapper or clean, dry container. Don’t re-wrap in the same material. Let the cheese to be consumed rest until it is room temperature, to enjoy optimal flavor.

If cheese has been left out and begun to break down, clean off the outer surface to remove oils. Use a smooth cheese knife to scrape it off. Then store in a cheese dome. Once left out, it should only be stored in a dome or container, not wrapped.

If you are saving cheese for a specific use, change the wrapper once a week anyway, to assure it does not become damp or damaged. If you freeze cheese, the flavor will be altered. It is recommended only if using cheese for cooking.

Follow these recommendations and you will enjoy healthy, aromatic and flavorful cheese, regardless of the type, from mild to the strongest gourmet offerings.

Great recipe for Pane Con La Ricotta…

October 18th, 2010

Hey guys if you are looking for a bread that goes well with your coffee or your warm drink of choice in the morning you must try this recipe for ricotta bread or pane con la ricotta. Perfect for those cold sunday mornings when all you want is just a little something for when you are reading your favorite newspaper or book.

I started this little bread making project at about 5 pm and finished it about 10:30pm.

Ingredients List:

3/4 cup of warm water (105-115 F)
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 2/3 cups, plus 1 tablespoon bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup, plus 2 teaspoons Sierra Part Skim Ricotta (about 9 ounces)

1. In a large bowl, stir together water, yeast and sugar; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast)

2. Add 1 2/3 cup flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir mixture together until flaky. Use hands to knead together into a mass. Cover bowl with a clean, slightly dampened dish towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at room temperature until doubled in bulk about 2 hours.
3. In a medium bowl, combine salt with 1/2 cup Luke warm water and whisk until salt is dissolved. Ad 1/4 cup oil and cinnamon; whisk together and set aside.
4. Transfer dough to bowl with Sierra Cheese Part Skim Ricotta and work with hands to combine. Add water mixture and 2 cups flour; mix together with hands to combine.

5. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until compact and uniform (dough will be loose at first; do not add flour), about 6 minutes. Cover with a slightly dampened dishtowel and let rest for 30 minutes.
6. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; punch down to deflate. Dust with remaining tablespoon oil. Divide dough in half. Flatten one half into an oval about 9 inches long; roll up lengthwise, pressing as you go to form a tight log.
7. Place log, seam-side down, onto a clean well-floured dishtowel. Fold sides of towel over dough to loosely cover. Repeat with remaining dough. Let rest for 30 minutes.
8. Position two racks in oven; one in lower third and one just above/ Place a baking stone on upper rack and a clean baking pan on rack underneath. Heat over to 400 F
9 Turn out dough from towels onto a lightly floured baking pan, leave at least 3 inches between each; cover with towels. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
10. Dust loaves with flour and use a lame or razor blade to slash tops in the pattern of your choice. Place baking pan with loaves on top of baking stone. Place 6 or 7 ice cubes in baking pan under stone. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until crust is dark golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, about 45 minutes. Transfer loaves to wire rack and cool completely.

If you try this recipe do me a favor and send me a picture. Here is what mine looked like:

Cheese Cravings…

October 14th, 2010

Ever had the need to get a quick fix on specific cheese like Sierra Cheese? Good news! Check out our web site to find a local place where you can pick up our cheeses. (Sierra Locations) Most locations also have a variety of cheeses where you can indulge your cheese cravings. So Thanks for checking out our blog! We will be posting more as time comes!! Thanks again! -Sierra Family


December 1st, 2009

Hello and welcome to Sierra Cheese’s first blog on a brand new website. This site will provide you with a place where you can buy our cheese, find locations where they either use it or sell it, some delicious recipes, and a little bit of history. We hope you enjoy it!