I'd like to comment on Michelle Mellor's letter about poor service and your feature headed "The Whine List" (Caterer, 21 December, page 22).
To Michelle Mellor, who commented on bad service in Durham and the surrounding areas, on behalf of all the quality establishments in the North-east, and in particular Durham, may I apologise for the lack of quality customer service attitude. I promise you we're not all like that in the North-east.
If your daughter decides on Durham University to continue her education, then we would like to extend a warm invitation to you and your daughter to a restaurant and bar in the centre of Durham city - very popular with university students who appreciate a high-end lifestyle experience, as alongside our highly rated food we not only pride ourselves on the front-of-house service, but also actively encourage customer feedback.
As a group marketing manager, I believe that quantative and qualitative research is imperative to confirm the brand's positioning, messaging, values and identity in line with customers' perceptions and needs.
We're conducting customer service research across our three properties in the North-east, and although, as you point out in your feature, we can't act upon every comment (eg, topless waitresses, please), when complaints recur, we take note.
Perhaps there should be a national or regional body with a recognised and respected reputation to establish a platform which offers consumers the opportunity to highlight and congratulate, or, name and shame establishments with exceptional or miserable service standards and attitudes.
Group marketing manager,Hide Bars & Grill, The Portland Group
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