Opinion April 21, 2023 | 8:25 am

Customer service, the weak point of Dominican restaurants

In the world of restaurants, customer service is just as important as the food itself. However, in the Dominican Republic, customer service remains the main Achilles heel of food businesses, according to Luis Valderrama, a coach, and neurogastronomist who resides in the country.

Valderrama acknowledges that the Dominican Republic has a wide variety of ingredients and recipes and that the country is experiencing a boom in signature cuisine, which takes traditional dishes and elevates them to a new level. But despite this, customer service still needs to be improved.

According to Valderrama, many people who work in the food industry in the Dominican Republic do so out of necessity, rather than because they have a genuine passion for food service. He believes that both vocation and training are necessary for anyone working in the industry, particularly waitstaff, who are the face of the restaurant and an extension of the chef.

While the taste and smell of food are obviously crucial factors in the dining experience, Valderrama also highlights the importance of touch and hearing. For example, the texture and crunchiness of a dish, as well as the sounds of cooking and serving, can affect how diners perceive the food.

In addition to the food itself, other elements such as lighting, music, and even the cutlery and dishes can impact the dining experience. Valderrama notes that some techniques from the field of neurogastronomy, such as playing marine sounds when serving seafood or using metal cutlery instead of plastic, can enhance the flavor of a dish.

With the rise of social media, diners’ expectations are higher than ever, and restaurants have a challenge in meeting these expectations. Valderrama emphasizes the importance of meeting these expectations, as failure to do so can result in negative reviews and a damaged reputation.

In the age of home delivery, restaurants face even greater challenges in controlling the environment in which their food is consumed. Valderrama suggests that restaurants can only control what they can, such as developing safe and personalized packaging and including menu cards and cooking tips with the delivery.

Overall, Valderrama stresses that customer service and attention to detail are key factors in the success of a restaurant and that this requires both passion and training from those working in the industry.


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Paul Tierney
April 21, 2023 8:49 am

Customer service is being attentive to the customer. Customer service is the restaurant manager having sufficient staff to service the needs of diners in a friendly reasonable and efficient manner. Customer service is humoring customers with “specials” and advising them what is not available on menus. Customer service is not having customers wait, wait, wait for food to appear, going back to efficient. Customer service is not to list more beer on the bill than what was actually consumed, usually happens with a group of diners. This poster has a habit refusing the staff from taking empty bottles from the table until the bill is presented to proof what was tendered against the bill. Customer service is having the same prices on the bill as listed on the menu. Customer service is offering good food at good prices, with good service. Amen!

April 21, 2023 11:15 pm

it’s not their fault …they aren’t tought properly …on numerous occasions i wanted to open Hospitality University here …but unfortunately it fell in deaf ears …
With almost 40 years of experience working and opening many restaurants in USA , i realized staff is not to blame …there is no one there to teach them …first teach them how to think …

April 21, 2023 11:24 pm

Many restaurants went belly up because staff contributed to their failure …
Also margins are extremely low to run restaurants , that’s why corners are being cut …
Educate on etiquette and have them write down orders ,to make it easier and more efficient have numbers in front of items …
Make sure the back -kitchen waiters and cooks can read dupes better and be faster ….

Deivy Campusano
June 22, 2023 11:03 am

The lack of service in DR goes beyond just restaurants. They should also train and teach customer service at airports, hotels, banks, etc..