Should I give feedback on a new Pizzeria's food?

Hi Think Tankers!

This is Liz, formally from NoteAds. I have a semi off topic question for you.

Ever since working with you guys and getting to know the pizza industry, I’ve had a special affinity for local businesses. A new place opened near our house recently so we decided to give them a try. The food was terrible. We ate one slice of the pizza and a garlic knot, the salad was just lettuce with really terrible dressing. On the plus side, the sauce was good…

I was thinking about talking to the owner and giving him some feedback so he could keep improving his product. We’ve only ordered once, so would that be out of place or do you think it would be appreciated?

We’re having a debate, give some constructive criticism or just not order from them again.

What do you think? I’m curious as to the view of this from the other side of the counter.

A letter/e-mail may be your best recourse you could state that you really liked the sauce, you support locally owned businesses, you are not looking for a free handout, and then tell him/her about your pizza and garlic knots. Maybe the owner was not paying attention and one of his new employees screwed up or it could have been a thousand different thing especially in a new restaurant. I want to know when my customers are not satisfied as long as it is done in a tactful manner.

Whenever I receive a compliment from a guest, I thank them for their comments…and then follow up with saying, “and I want you to promise to let me know if we fail to meet your expectation someday as well”.

As an owner I welcome all comments…good and bad, though of course we have never had a bad ( ahem )…but please, go back at least one additional time to make sure it was not just “one of those nights”. And after that, still make your impressions known based on both visits.

Nobody likes criticism, so don’t be surprised with a negative reaction…but doing so is your only chance of helping the guy. If you would like him to survive, share your thoughts and hope he listens.

Definitely give the feedback, when we first opened our store friends and family said our pizzas were great. Turned out they we average at best in the eyes of most customers but the damage was done as we took too long to change.

Few people like to give criticism and few like to receive it but those who take on board you comments have a chance to change before they spend everything the have pushing something not worthy.

Liz I agree with letting them know but also after at least a second visit. Like Sam said… friends and family who you think are your best resource for honest feedback are really not the case. They feel they will support you more by telling how great it all is. Give it a second try and then call the owner at a good time. Mid-afternoon when they will not be slammed and just be honest. Tell him your following in the pizza world and that this is not just some disgruntled customer looking for a handout. Be positive also. Was the service good? Place clean? Dont just drop all the problems on him/her. Now, if all of the factors of the place are negative…just find a new pizzeria. Not all businesses succeed and these are the reasons why. I will eat so-so food in a clean place over great food at a place the health dept closes down every other month for pest control! (Just went through this locally at a very good bakery…no longer a favorite place!) :roll:


I think everyone here loves good constructive criticism. I emphasize “constructive”. If you call him up and tell him his sauce was “good” but the salad and dressing were not, that’s not much to go on. In fact, those are pretty subjective things. Is it a quality issue or do you just not like the flavors?

I received a ranting complaint about 9 months ago about how awful my pizza was. They used every synonym in the world for the word “bad” but failed to ever tell me what it was about the pizza that they did not like. I apologized and bought them a pizza and moved on but didn’t gain anything from the criticism. So please, as a favor to us operators, be specific about what it is you think will improve their product. And, by all means, give them a second and third chance so you really know what the problem is.

Awesome. Thanks for your feedback. I’m going to wait a few weeks for them to “work out the kinks” and then if the quality is still a mess I’ll send an email to the owner.

I totally agree on being constructive, not just negative. There were good things - the sauce, the delivery time, etc. - but I’ll bring up things that I saw that could be improved.

Thanks again for your responses. This is why the Think Tank rocks. I miss working with you guys.

I’ll take it any way it is offered – tactful or not.

As far as the original post, why wait a few weeks? I would think most operators would want to know right away. As far as how you approach it, that depends on you and how well you can communicate your suggestions. For me personally, I would do it by email so that I can better communicate my thoughts. But by all means, if you are so inclined to give feedback, do so. If he does not want to hear it you just saved yourself the price of another meal :stuck_out_tongue: