Bad Behavior

It’s hard to argue against the need for good customer service, especially in these times when it seems vital to appeal to guests’ demands. However, in this Boston Globe article, service-industry blogger Patrick Maguire suggests that the old adage “the customer is always right” is folly.

Mr. Maguire states that the adage is antiquated because, among customers, “the entitlement factor has gotten so high.” He explains rude and disrespectful customers shouldn’t be tolerated. He goes as far as to say managers should back up their staff when dealing with bad guests. Kick those guests out and end your relationship with them.

Perhaps this is an unorthodox view, especially in stressful economic times, but why should an operator appease unruly, disrespectful customers? By ending a relationship with a bad guest, operators are merely doing what’s right. It’s playground logic: standing up against one bully will win the respect of many other people.

Comments to Mr. Maguire’s article are fairly supportive. One comment raises a valid point. One critic mentions a restaurant in South Carolina where “the owner-chef said that he aimed to satisfy 90 percent of his customers. He said the remainder were obnoxious pains-in-the-butt who would require him to spend 90% of his time pleasing 10% of the people.”

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