Would you complain about a mediocre waitress?

I agree with not identifying the particular server. Just mention the poor service in general terms and the owner can address the entire staff.

I had a similar thing happen to me back in my retail days. I worked in a Pet Store and somebody complained to management about my “poor service” one day. Apparently my manager said, truthfully, “Juicy was in a bad car accident the other day and is in a lot of pain. She shouldn’t even be here but can’t afford the time off. Please excuse her lack of customer service skills right now.” The people totally understood.

The other day I was going through a grocery store checkout and I immediately judged the aloof clerk as giving crappy customer service, until she called over her manager, whispered something to her, and looked like she was barely holding back tears. The manager rubbed her back and sent her away and finished the transaction herself.

Moral of the story is that you never know what’s going on a person’s life and sometimes it is very difficult to “leave your problems at home” when you’re at work.

But, I’d say something like walking away while getting a response to an answer is SO bad it more likely indicates the waitress is so tired/sick/distracted that she is operating on a crappy version of autopilot.

Even obviously shitty waiters/waitresses rarely (ever?) do that sort of thing IME.

If it wasn’t bad enough service for you to say anything to the manager before you made the Yelp review, the fact that he found that review doesn’t mean it suddenly is worse.

Plus there’s just something somewhat slimy about a boss even asking that question. The point of Yelp is to help people know which businesses to frequent, not for bosses to use it to determine who gets to stay on staff. He should know that, if you wanted her fired, you’d have already contacted him.

I think this is the best course of action.

Did the waitress bring you what you asked for in a timely manner? That’s the main thing. They aren’t there to brighten your day and pat you on the head.

This makes no sense.

If one purpose of Yelp is to help people know which businesses to frequent, then surely an ancillary purpose is to help business owners improve their product so that more people want to frequent their businesses. In some cases, that might mean better decor, or more parking, or cheaper drinks, or better food, or whatever. But it also might mean better staff. And that might mean new people, or it might simply mean better training and management.

I’ve worked as a waiter, and i know very well that people in the customer service industry have shitty days where they just aren’t on their game (for whatever reason). I also believe that someone needs to be pretty bad before i would consider complaining to management or trying to get them fired.

But the fact is that some service workers are crappy at their job, and if they are consistently crappy, then maybe the business owner needs to look for someone who is less crappy. It’s not unreasonable that a business owner would like to know who the poor performers are on his or her staff. I’m not saying that the OP should tell the owner in this instance—in fact, i’ve already said that the OP should not—but there’s no reason that a rating site like Yelp shouldn’t serve as an aid to business owners as well as to customers.

Don’t give her name. The owner already knows he has a problem, let him figure it out.

If I feel that strongly, I always tell the manager. This has only happened to me a couple of times. I do it out of courtesy, because I’d want to hear it if I were the owner. Except I don’t bother if the place is so bad that it’s obvious that the management is the problem.

I would not call her out, for all of the reasons mentioned by others already.

It’s just as likely that she’s a poor waitress who has been getting more and more frustrated with the job. Truthfully, neither one of us can know why she was so rude. There might be some very good reasons why she was rude but I can’t think of any good excuse.

True perhaps.

But if you are so tired and/or sick you CAN"T do the job right I’d say that qualifies as an excuse.

But if its what you claim the boss already knows who it is. And if he doesn’t he’s a bad boss as well IMO. And if it’s the other (where the waitress is just out of it), the boss just needs to give the whole staff some slack or a general “when things are bad, let me know, we will all do what we can, try not to screw up too badly when things ARE bad” kind of speach.

Well, not an obligation, but since he brought it up, not telling her means she can’t fix the problem.

As a new deli owner, I want to know how I’m doing and how my staff is doing from the customers point of view.

And, I wouldn’t fire someone on a single bad report, but I would pay more attention.

Agreed, that’s rude behaviour. When I get bad service I usually tell them why their tip is so low when I leave.


I think thats part of the problem. The OP doesn’t know if he is talking to a reasonable customer service related boss or the dumbass boss from hell.

Dumbass boss from hell fires someone over one bad report.

In this case I think, as many other do, the safest thing to do is to tell boss service wasn’t great and why. But not who or when.

Boss then keeps a eye out for bad employee behavior and or is proactive in making sure the employees do a good job.

I agree with **BigT **that the purpose of yelp is not to give feedback to business owners, it’s to provide information to other yelpers (and whoever else is reading) to help them decide where to go to eat, get their car fixed, etc. Business owners are as free as anyone else to read yelp but that doesn’t change who the intended audience is.

I think when writing a Yelp review you should concentrate on things that aren’t as variable. It would probably take a few outings for me to decide I could really comment on the service in a public review, whereas things like the food, price, and ambiance can be more justifiably reviewed after a single sitting. I would just have left a mediocre tip.

The thing to keep in mind is that the manager has to respond to bad reviews. It’s hard to monitor waiters without getting feedback from customers.

My friend filled out one of those surveys that come with the receipt at a chain restaurant, and mentioned our bad service (waiter was inattentive, didn’t listen to parts of our orders, and could be seen socializing elsewhere). The manager wrote him back. We never saw that server there again. Shame because he was eye candy :smiley:

I say ignore the email. It’s not your job to point fingers and out this waitress. If she offers such incredibly poor service on anything resembling a regular basis the boss is a moron for not noticing who it is already and/or the waitress will quit when she realizes she doesn’t make enough money in tips.

I’m seeing a lot of replies similar to this. I’m not sure I agree with the underlying belief that you would be responsible for the person getting fired. No good manager is going to fire someone on the basis of one review. If she was having a bad day, and otherwise the manager knows her to be a good waitress; he’d know her true value and she wouldn’t get fired. On the other hand, if this was just more fuel for the fire… well then maybe he has to consider that this person is actually hurting business for the restaurant.

True. Her reasons for feeling whatever are her own, but she is in the hospitality business and needs to not be rude. I’ll leave her actual behavior up to interpretation as rude or not. I think what was described was either rude or inattentive.

Yep, the good ones take it out elsewhere, but not on the customer. Unless the customer is an issue, then all bets are off.

No, but they are supposed to be nice, and not rude. Tell me about the chains that say otherwise.

Completely agreed. Don’t call her out, the issue is known. She may not be cut out for the job. It happens.

No. You can have a bad day, you can be exhausted, but there is NO good reason to be rude. EVER. Again, if the customer is very rude first, all bets are off.

This is VERY much true. One asshole at a place shouldn’t torpedo the place as a whole. If they find the offending person and get rid of them, the business still bears the scars of what happened when a terminated employee used to work there. That sort of thing can ruin people’s lives way faster than one might think.

The manager asking for who it was is likely trying to keep further negative reviews from marking his business as a place of awful service. Maybe he or she is a vindictive asshole too.

The fact is that food service (excepting high-end) places are forced to hire the cheapest labor they can find due to profit margins. One server who tends to be bitchy can generate enough reviews to sink a business. As we all know, negative experiences are broadcast far and wide on a much larger scale than praise is.

Perhaps people tipping someone who has a 'tude less and less, shows them that they have no business being a server. Maybe. I’m speculating of course. That way the place as a whole doesn’t get dragged down by an unfortunate hire that will likely be gone soon.

I have to say, it’s totally obnoxious and passive-aggressive to complain about a server on Yelp, but refuse to tell the manager (who cared enough to email) who it was that’s compelling you to negatively effect the reputation of her restaurant online. Apparently, you’d rather other people just actively avoid that restaurant than either tell the owner who the problem is or forget about it.

Yelp really pisses me off, sometimes.

Get over yourself. Reviewers have no obligation to the manager of the restaurant. If the owner/manager is any good, he or she should have a good sense of how staff members are performing without the help of Yelp reviewers. The way you talk, you’d think that restaurants never had to deal with this issue before.

Service in restaurants, even good ones, can often be incredibly uneven from one day to another. Sometimes a great server has a bad day. When i post about bad service, i usually make clear that my review reflects my own experience, and i would be very unlikely to avoid a restaurant because of one sub-par service experience. If i go back and keep getting bad service, then maybe i’d stop going, but definitely not for one mediocre experience, especially if the food is good.

I took my wife to a nice restaurant near our place for her birthday this year. I was a little hesitant because, while most Yelp reviewers praised the food, a substantial minority said that the service was rude and snooty and slow. We gave it a go anyway, and i couldn’t find a single fault with the service. Our waiter was attentive, friendly, polite, and professional, without being over-familiar or pushy. If we go back and get sub-par service, i’ll write about it on Yelp, but i wouldn’t tell the owner unless it was so rude as to be inexcusable.

Before and during my college days, i worked in restaurants and bars on three continents. I’ve known some really great waiters and bartenders, and i haven’t met a single one who hasn’t had a few bad days, or been short with a customer on occasion, or done something else that a customer might find fault with. I worked in a few fine-dining places (as well as some lower-end places), and i think i was a pretty damn good waiter, but i know for a fact that i fucked up a few times, and that i had days when i wasn’t as friendly or as polite as i should have been.

As Leaffan said earlier in the thread, “I’m glad I don’t have strangers writing comments about my work ethic on a daily basis.”

No, I wouldn’t complain.

I eat 3 times a day, that’s thousands of meals in a lifetime. One meal is not important enough to get someone fired over, particularly when you have no idea what was really going on with the waitress that day.