Bad Customers or Bad Policy?

A recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser article drew attention to a popular Honolulu restaurant and their policy of placing certain customers on their “no serve” list. 

Although the restaurant does a remarkable job collecting and recording detailed customer data, including everything from customers’ favorite food and beverages, allergies, seating preferences, birthdays, and even tipping history to create a personal customer experience, they also maintain a detailed list of patrons that are banned from their establishment. 

Those included on their “no serve” list range from customers who displayed unruly behavior to those that submitted negative feedback on the restaurant's comment cards and, therefore, management feels “they can not please, no matter how hard they try.”  Currently, the restaurant has seventeen "former customers" on this list.

One such customer, who was turned away when trying to make a dinner reservation, said he left a comment on the restaurants feedback card, stating that the staff seemed overworked and that his server had too many tables to tend to.  He added that his comments were not offensive or insulting.  Although he had a previous negative incident (for which the restaurant tried to remedy), he said he also submitted positive comments on other occasions. He was baffled by being placed on the list and questioned the sincerity of the restaurant's interest in obtaining honest feedback. (

This article got me thinking...  Outside of abusive, belligerent, and illegal acts, does it make sense to ban a customer for giving negative or constructive feedback?  Shouldn’t organizations use “glitch” feedback as a starting point for improvement?  In tough times, shouldn’t repeat customers be viewed as a valuable asset even if they don’t always provide glowing reviews of your establishment?  After all, they are still coming back, aren’t they?

I’m eager to hear from all of you....Talk to me....What do you think?

Time to Change Your Policy

Thanks for your comment, Alex.  I totally agree that giving feedback is a way of expressing how much you care.  Keep sharing your excellent thoughts.  Happy New Year...glenn

Bad Customers or Bad Policy


I particularly like your comment " I would consider treating every customer as a new customer, no matter how many times they've frequented the establishment...."

I want to encourage all of my clients to heed these wise words.  Imagine how much better we can all be if we adopted this approach.

Thanks for yet another insightful remark and perspective.