Managing Difficult Guests

Dealing With Difficult Guests: How To Handle The 12 Worst Types

who this class is for

Waiters and hospitality staff, hospitality managers, guests

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About this micro-class

Dealing with difficult guests in the hospitality industry is a crucial skill. Here are some common types of difficult guests, their behaviors, and how you can handle them appropriately.

General rules for dealing with difficult guests

Remain calm, professional, and respectful at all times.

Prioritize the guest’s satisfaction while also ensuring a positive experience for other guests.

Openly communicate and collaborate with your coworkers to handle difficult situations effectively and maintain a welcoming environment.

The most common types of difficult guests

1. The Complainer

Behavior: These guests often find faults in everything and are vocal about their dissatisfaction.

Handling: Listen actively, empathize with their concerns, and offer solutions. Apologize and rectify issues promptly to ensure a positive experience. Address their concerns professionally and, if necessary, involve a supervisor.

2. The Demanding Guest

Behavior: They have high expectations and may request VIP treatment or special services.

Handling: Politely communicate what can be accommodated and set clear boundaries. Provide options when possible, but maintain fairness to all guests.

3. The Impatient Guest

Behavior: They are in a hurry and dislike waiting, often expressing frustration.

Handling: Act quickly, acknowledge their urgency, and communicate estimated wait times. Offer distractions like menus or a comfortable waiting area.

4. The Boundary Pusher

Behavior: They cross personal or ethical boundaries with staff, such as making unwanted advances or comments.

Handling: Politely but firmly assert boundaries, involve a supervisor if needed, and ensure the safety and comfort of your team.

5. The Loud Guest

Behavior: They are noisy, disruptive, and may disturb other guests.

Handling: Approach them discreetly and politely request to lower their volume. Offer alternatives like a quieter seating area.

6. The Non-Communicative Guest

Behavior: They are unresponsive, distant, or may seem upset without sharing why.

Handling: Respect their space but be available for assistance. Let them know you’re there to help without intruding.

7. The Freeloader

Behavior: They bargain and attempt to take advantage of complimentary services or discounts relentlessly.

Handling: Politely explain and enforce pricing and policies. Offer value-added packages or promotions to minimize disputes, but avoid undermining your establishment’s integrity.

8. The Inebriated Guest

Behavior: They become loud, unruly, or may disturb others due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Handling: Ensure the safety of all guests and staff. Monitor alcohol consumption. Politely but firmly cut off alcohol service, offer water, and arrange alternative transportation if necessary. Be prepared to escort them out if they become a nuisance.

9. The Online Reviewer

Behavior: They critique service loudly and may threaten to leave a negative online review to gain undeserved benefits.

Handling: Listen to their preferences and address their concerns professionally, but don’t give in to threats. Encourage genuine feedback and resolve any legitimate issues.

10. The Loiterer

Behavior: They occupy tables for extended periods without making significant purchases.

Handling: Politely suggest a time limit or kindly remind them of other patrons’ needs for seating.

11. The Condescending Guest

Behavior: They are rude, arrogant, condescending, or offensive towards staff.

Handling: Maintain professionalism and politeness. Do not escalate the situation, avoid arguments, and involve a supervisor if necessary.

12. The Scammer

Behavior: They may attempt to get refunds or discounts with false complaints.

Handling: Investigate complaints thoroughly, politely require evidence if possible, and follow company policies regarding refunds and compensation.

Dealing with difficult guests etiquette: mistakes to avoid

Avoid open confrontation or conflict. Instead, allow the guest to vent, empathize, and work around the issue.

Don’t give in, as it usually leads to even more problematic situations.¬†

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