Bad News Travels Faster Than Good News

Last week I wrote about a dining experience that Jayne and I had recently endured that had delivered a number of memorably BELOW AVERAGE moments throughout our evening.

And the truth of the matter was that if the staff at the restaurant had enacted some form of SERVICE RECOVERY PROCESS then and there on the night, I wouldn’t have written the same article last week, and I most likely wouldn’t be writing this article for you today.

However, on the night, no service recovery systems or processes were detected.

The following day…

Interestingly, the following day, Jayne received an email from the restaurant which she shared with me:

“Dear Jayne,

It was a pleasure to have you dine with us yesterday!

We hope you enjoyed your time with us as much as we enjoyed seeing you. If there is anything we can adjust prior to your next reservation, please let us know.

And to make sure you will be extremely well looked after, please use this dedicated reservation page: [Ben’s reservation link]

We can’t wait to see you again.

Ben , Restaurant Manager”

I replied to Ben’s email:

“Hi Ben

I’m replying to your email. I dined with Jayne on Friday night.

I’m not sure whether you have been alerted to our disappointment with our visit last Friday, or whether this email from you is simply a generic follow up?

For what it’s worth, there were a number of things that we felt could have been handled better.


David Moffet”

My email bounced.

Ben’s email was a generic email, sent from an email address that responded with a NO-REPLY for any emails addressed there.

Meaning that Ben’s email was indeed a generic email.

I put my thinking cap on and clicked on the link in Ben’s email, which took me to a generic booking page.

The booking page did have one interesting addition:

“For Bookings larger than 12, please email

So I forwarded the above email from me back to Ben using that “bookings@” email address, with the following cover:

“Hi Ben

It appears the email you sent below was a generic one…. The reply bounced.

Just making sure you received my email reply


David Moffet”

And this email from me did not bounce…

What’s my point?

Because Ben had written to me with the comment:

“We hope you enjoyed your time with us ….”

Followed by:

“If there is anything we can adjust prior to your next reservation, please let us know.”

I thought it would be helpful for Ben to be made aware of some of the shortfalls that Jayne and I had experienced during our dining experience at his restaurant.

Although I did subsequently write publicly about my poor experience after visiting the restaurant , I did not name the restaurant in that article, as I felt that it would be better if the restaurant be given the opportunity to make adjustments.


However, sending out self-promoting emails veiled beneath some small offer of possible humility, won’t pass the pub test.

The computer generated email from Ben left no opportunity for diners and guests to offer suggestions for improvement.

And that’s unprofessional.

I don’t know how many if any dissatisfied diners would follow through with letting the restaurant know about their poor experiences, but being offered an olive branch that immediately turned into an ambush wanting more bookings and more business was to me a bit beyond the pale.

I’m not sure…

I wasn’t sure whether I would hear from Ben…

But he has emailed. And I have replied. I’ll let you know what happens….

I do know that I’m going to be telling a number of people about our poor experiences at his restaurant.

Bad news does travel quickly.

Your service recovery processes need to travel more quickly…


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