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Oct 7, 2011 06:28 PM

Restaurant Responses to Questions on Facebook

Yeah, yeah, I'm a vegetarian.

A new restaurant opened in my city and I was interested in eating there tomorrow night. Their menu isn't online, so I posted on the related Chowhound thread to see if anyone had seen whether there was a vegetarian option on the menu. I then went to the restaurant's official Facebook page, where I saw someone else had asked the same question on the Wall. A third person chimed in on the Facebook page and asked about vegan options. Both queries were written politely.

Instead of responding, the restaurant deleted the question. I learned from Chowhound that there wouldn't have been a vegetarian option if I'd gone.

What do you think is better customer service- politely replying to the thread to let people know there isn't a vegetarian choice, or deleting the question? (It seems rather obvious to me.) What is the advantage of deleting the question? Answering lets vegetarians know they won't be able to eat there. Not answering means vegetarians might show up and check out the menu, but they still won't be able to eat there. However, they might be a little peeved that they bothered walking or driving all the way there to find out. And frankly, by deleting the question, it makes me wonder how they would respond to any questions posed by diners in person.

This wouldn't just apply to vegetarians. It would be the same for an allergy or even a preference, in my opinion. "Do you have a chicken entree?" "Can you cook something without dairy?" "I hate tomatoes- do you have a dish without them?" What's the harm in answering no, if it's the truth?

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  1. If I have a question for a restaurant, I either call or email. The idea of posing the question on Facebook would never even occur to me....different generations I guess.

    1. I'm sort of on the fence here, I wouldn't trust FB to get an immediate response (and it's been acting weird lately) but even if the response was a scoffing rebuttal they should have at least said "we don't serve your kind" blunt but that might actually increase their business from the other side of that divide. ehhh forget them. ball dropped.

      1. They are using FB in a way you aren't used to-they don't want to communicate or interact. It's just a way to be found on the internet without paying for a website.

        If it is even the restaurant that set up the page.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Cathy

          They communicate with lots of other people and respond to other questions and positive feedback. It's definitely run by management as there are lots of photos of the restaurant space and management during the construction phase.

          1. re: Jetgirly

            Who else would run the website besides management? As to not answering your question, maybe you could give them a call and ask what is the best way to get questions answered.

            1. re: escondido123

              It isn't a website- it's Facebook. I could open a FB page with whatever name I'd like (like Escondido123) as long as I used a different email than the one I use now on FB. I was only posting it as a possibility because I didn't know the whole story about what was on the FB page.

              Now that I know, then I think that the restaurant does not want to pay for a website, edits out so as to only show the (positive) comments it chooses and also chooses to not post a photo of the menu. As a customer, I can chose to patronize the place or choose to not go there.

              1. re: Cathy

                I do not use Facebook much, but I was curious about the rules on creating a FB page for a business. Here's what the site says: "Only the official representative of an organization, business, celebrity, or band may create a Facebook Page. The Page creator can then add other representatives to help them manage the Page. Each Page admin will be able to update and edit their Pages from their own accounts."

                1. re: escondido123

                  I don't use FB much either, don't know rules for business and was speculating as to why they were deliberately not answering the OP.

                  1. re: escondido123

                    that's a CYA game in case some hostile party starts a FB page ostensibly under the place's name - absolves them (FB) of some liability.

                    FB can be manipulated all sorts of ways, I have 3 ID's (2 are dormant) and 2 or 3 fake businesses. (obviously fake but still)

          2. It sounds like the restaurant wasn't prepared for what happens when you have an active FB page as a business. They received an inquiry that they weren't prepared to answer, panicked and deleted the question rather than answer it.

            Of course, the better customer service solution would have been to just politely admit that no vegetarian/vegan options were available. I think that it's perfectly valid to pose that question on Facebook. I've used FB to contact businesses before and they have always politely answered my questions.

            1. Maybe the restaurant replied to the posters privately and then deleted the post.