March 8, 2023

How To Detect Critical Food Quality Issues In Real-Time Using Tattle

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Serving up bad batches of food is at the top of the nightmare scenarios list for every restaurant operator. But, when it comes to determining problems with the food quality itself, it can often be a slow and arduous process.

For example, let’s look at the negative reviews posted on social media pertaining to food quality, which oftentimes are posted days after a transaction. How does one discern between a subjective experience (the customer simply doesn’t like the food) and objective issues (the food is actually bad in some regard)?

In order to achieve minor improvements – let alone fix major problems – there must be a way to accurately assess and measure any given food situation.

From the front lines

This was the conundrum that Jim Bitticks, President and COO of Dave’s Hot Chicken, and his team ran into at their Irvine location.

Lumped in with their glowing Yelp and Google reviews, were five complaints about salty chicken. These specific reviews didn’t go into detail and the Irvine team couldn’t take any actionable steps to remedy the issue.

When was their transaction? What did they order? Was it the cooking method? Raw ingredients?

Not having a solid foundation on social media to crack the code, they opened Tattle and looked for trends amid their private feedback.

They quickly found a slew of consecutive complaints about salty chicken — at a higher volume than Yelp/Google and with greater detail as to their order info.

A franchise consultant quickly met with the Irvine team and found a defective bag of chicken, ultimately tracing it back to the original shipment and preventing further distribution of more bad batches.

Without Tattle’s systematic, causation-based surveys, the Irvine location might have gone through the entire shipment before resolving the problem.

Let’s look at how to utilize Tattle to spot food quality issues quickly and efficiently.

Step 1: Turn on Tattle

In order to detect issues, your brand must first collect real-time performance data across your restaurant units. Tattle achieves this through granular, private guest feedback surveys sent 90 minutes after a purchase.

When integrated with your POS, ordering, loyalty, or kiosk provider, all transactional information is automatically attached to the survey. Less for the guest to fill out and more data for the restaurant.

Here are some quick stats about the surveys:

  • Up to 55 questions asked per survey
  • 10% average participation rate
  • 94% average completion rate

This is the foundation required for restaurants to accurately track hidden food quality issues.

“What’s great about Tattle feedback is that it gives you the when, where, what. That’s the level of detail one can’t find on Google, Yelp or social media reviews,” Jim Bitticks, President & COO of Dave’s Hot Chicken

Step 2: Monitor Incidents

Tattle classifies an incident as a customer who submitted an overall rating of 3 stars or less. The responses of these dissatisfied guests live in the Incident Management section.

Brands that use Tattle will typically assign an individual or team to manage their incidents. That’s either someone at each location, a team at a regional office, or a general manager.

Whatever person or team is chosen, their job is to keep track of the latest dissatisfied customers. With each incident, there will be a host of insights to look at: transactional data, operational category star ratings, and root-level factor feedback/comments.

If or when food quality issues present themselves, you’ll be able to find and identify it in record time.

“We use Tattle as the early warning detection system of problems.” Jim Bitticks, President & COO of Dave’s Hot Chicken

Step 3: Take Action

Action can come in many different forms. Because the volume of responses is much higher with Tattle, things don’t slip through the cracks.

When there’s a critical issue, there’s two things to do:

  1. Immediately send an apology to the customer. This can be done automatically, but many brands like to be more personalized and more directly respond to the negative elements in the customer’s experience.
  2. Then, use the survey responses as a map to the source problem. Observe patterns to isolate daypart, location, ordering channel, menu item, and more as clues in your investigation. When you’ve found the issue, move heaven and earth to remedy it.

It’s a very fast, straightforward process because there’s zero guesswork involved. When you know what to do, everything just falls into place.

Here’s what a general manager that utilizes Tattle discovered about this guest recovery process:

“If a customer complains and you deal with it quickly, they are 75% more likely to return than if the complaint never happened. Complaints are opportunities to make people your ambassador.” Cliff Hillier, GM at Down To Earth.


While the idea of distributing bad, faulty food is a scary one, it’s one that can happen in this logistically-complex and ultimately imperfect world. Restaurants must be proactive and have a gameplan for tackling such problems when they arise.

So, is your restaurant brand prepared for anything that may damage the customer experience?
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This was just one of the many ways in which restaurant brands utilize Tattle to improve the guest experience. If you want to see first-hand how Tattle can manage incidents, win back guests at scale, and drive more revenue per unit – click here to watch a rapid demo of the platform.