This isn't about legit customer complaints. There are certainly times where customers have a very valid complaint. This is about that other 10-15%.
It cracks me up sometimes when I hear customers complaining. The other night I witnessed a manager pulled to the side by a customer. This manager then had to listen to an inappropriate and out of place diatribe by this nutjob customer. The manager then had to placate this idiot. Thankfully it was one of the "good" managers - by good I mean someone who doesn't buy into the corporate Gestapo like mind washing that the customer is always right. This customer was an asshole and an idiot. So our good manager walked over to the server whose skills were called into question, talked to them for a minute informing this server that the customer complained about how she was doing her job correctly, thanked her for doing her job correctly, informed her that said customer is a complete tool, and then went onto other manager duties. It was really, really funny. Too bad there aren't more managers with the sack to take one for the team. I've seen corporate robots (aka Lobsterbots) take complaints on things that the server did correctly, then turn around and berate the server because the customer bitched. Even though the server did their job right. Anybody else see how this is not motivating to the crew?
It is simply amazing that having people skills is not a requirement to become a Red Lobster manager. It is even more tragic that spinelessness is a valued trait in this corporation. Our company needs to grow a sack, take it's balls back, and empower the local management teams to actually use common sense once again. Red Lobster used to have some good managers, but as the years have passed, fewer and fewer of them have come through the system. The pay is competitive, so are the benefits, so you have to suspect that it is something else that is keeping the quality leadership away (and those remaining fleeing!) from this company.
The problem is leadership by BOHICA. Bend over here it comes again. Red Lobster managers are trained that BOHICA is their way of life for 60 hours a week until they die or leave. That is a quality corporate environment (sarcasm). And those who get really good at it and have perfected the second tool in the managers arsenal - the ass kiss - then get promoted to General Manager. Once you have refined your ass kissing technique, they then begin to consider you for other leadership positions in the area, region, or on the national corporate level.
What a screwed up system. Give me 4 managers who know right from wrong, their heads from their asses, and I'll give you a quality leadership team that will run a store the right way. Having quality local management would lead to better staff throughout the restaurant. This would lead to better service, happier guests, increased profit and bonuses for all. But somehow Red Lobster has decided this is too costly. They'd rather chew through the incompetent managers. They'd rather train the quality ones and watch them walk to greener pastures elsewhere.