What Should You Do if a Customer Complains About a Drink?

Last Updated on June 25, 2023 by Lauren Beck

Picture this: you’re working behind the bar, expertly crafting drinks and satisfying customers left and right. But suddenly, a disgruntled patron approaches, unhappy with their beverage. 

Fear not, my friends! I’ve been there and am here to share some sage advice on handling customer complaints about drinks with finesse and expertise. So, grab a shaker, and let’s dive in!

What Should You Do if a Customer Complains About a Drink?

When a customer complains about a drink, addressing their concerns promptly and professionally is essential. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Listen attentively: Give the customer your undivided attention and let them express their complaint without interruption.
  2. Apologize sincerely: Show empathy and apologize for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction caused by the drink.
  3. Offer a solution: Propose a replacement drink or suggest alternatives that may better suit their preferences.
  4. Involve the manager, if necessary: If you cannot resolve the issue, inform the customer that you will escalate their concern to a manager or supervisor.

Tips for Handling Customer Complaints

Dealing with customer complaints effectively can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Consider the following tips:

  • Stay calm and composed: Respond to complaints calmly and collectedly, avoiding defensiveness or arguments.
  • Empathize with the customer: Show understanding and acknowledge the validity of their concerns.
  • Take responsibility: Apologize for any shortcomings and take ownership of the situation.
  • Find a solution: Offer options to rectify the issue, such as a replacement drink, a discount, or a refund.
  • Follow up: After resolving the complaint, check back with the customer to ensure their satisfaction.

How Do You Recommend a Drink to a Customer?

4 cups of lemon iced tea

When recommending drinks to customers, personalize your suggestions based on their preferences and provide relevant information. Here’s how:

  1. Ask questions: Inquire about their taste preferences, such as their preferred spirit, flavors, or level of sweetness.
  2. Offer samples or tastings: If possible, allow customers to sample different drinks to help them make an informed decision.
  3. Provide descriptions: Describe each recommended drink’s flavors, ingredients, and characteristics.
  4. Suggest pairings: Recommend food or snacks that complement the drink to enhance their overall experience.
  5. Be attentive: Pay attention to their reactions and adjust your recommendations accordingly.

How Do You Encourage Customers to Drink Responsibly?

You play a vital role in promoting responsible drinking habits as a responsible server or bartender. Consider these strategies:

  • Educate customers: Provide information about the effects of alcohol, standard drink sizes, and recommended limits.
  • Offer non-alcoholic alternatives: Present various enticing non-alcoholic options to customers who prefer not to drink alcohol.
  • Monitor consumption: Monitor customers’ alcohol intake and intervene if you notice signs of intoxication.
  • Promote food consumption: Encourage customers to eat while drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol.
  • Provide transportation options: Offer information about taxis, ride-sharing services, or public transportation for those who shouldn’t drive.

Should You Tell a Customer They Have Had Too Much to Drink?

It’s important to monitor customers’ alcohol consumption, but telling them directly they’ve had too much may not always be the best approach [1]. Consider the following steps:

  1. Observe signs of intoxication: Watch for behaviors like slurred speech, impaired coordination, or excessive loudness.
  2. Engage in conversation: Talk to the customer and gauge their level of coherence and awareness.
  3. Suggest non-alcoholic options: If you suspect a customer has had too much, gently recommend switching to non-alcoholic beverages.
  4. Seek assistance if necessary: Involve a manager or supervisor to handle the situation if the customer becomes disruptive or refuses to comply with your recommendations.


In the world of serving and bartending, customer complaints about drinks are inevitable. But fret not, my fellow mixologists! 

You can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal advocate by embracing active listening, offering sincere apologies, providing solutions, and involving managers when necessary. 

Remember to remain calm, be empathetic, and prioritize finding a resolution. And above all, strive for excellence in every pour, ensuring that your customers leave with smiles on their faces and a memorable experience in their hearts. 

Cheers to mastering the art of handling complaints and serving with distinction!


Lauren Beck
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