When Should My Restaurant Comp A Meal?

Restaurants are fast-paced environments that require diligence, responsibility, and safety in order to operate efficiently.

When mistakes happen – and mistakes will happen from time to time – your restaurant should always find ways to make it up to the customer, be it a discount on another visit or some other perk.

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When a problem comes up, you may wonder if comping a meal is appropriate. While you cannot comp a meal for every little mistake, there are times when it is appropriate to do so.

When A Serious Mistake Has Been Made

When a mistake happens in your restaurant, it is best to admit it and immediately attempt to make it right for the customer.

Common slip-ups can include anything from a bug in the food to a server being rude or accidentally spilling a drink on a customer’s lap.

Something more serious could be an allergen accidently introduced into an allergy-free meal, in which case it would be especially important to comp the meal.

Food allergies should always be taken seriously, and steps must be taken to ensure that these meals are prepared in a safe environment. If you have a suspicion that an allergen was introduced, it is always best to remake the meal.

Freebies For Celebrations

For celebrations like birthdays, you can comp a piece of cake or another small plate like an appetizer. Just be sure to choose a dish that won’t cut too much into your bottom line.

Guests celebrating their birthday or anniversaries will appreciate this kind gesture, and you may end up earning return business in the future.

Customers Who Waited Too Long For Their Meal

Your restaurant should be efficient in keeping up with customer orders and making sure that they are prepared correctly.

If the meal took so long to get to a customer that they ran out of time to eat, it would be appropriate to comp the meal.

When You Shouldn’t Comp A Meal

Assess each situation on its own merit before you comp a meal. If the customer is picky, a local celebrity, or a food critic, you should not comp the meal.

If a guest didn’t like something about the dish, talk to them about what they didn’t like and make them a new meal.

Charge them for the new one and remove the previous charge. If they have eaten the meal and then complained about it, you should not comp the meal but can look for other ways to make it right.

Keep Track Of All Comps

In the event you must comp a meal, be sure to keep track of it! This will prevent your books from becoming unbalanced, and a reliable cloud POS system like Toast or Mobilebytes will help simplify the process.

Before comping a meal, make sure that your budget can afford it. You don’t want to comp a meal only to find out that it hurts your bottom line.

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