All feedback is a gift

Coaching notes, Jamie Oliver, CarluccioOne of my pleasures in reading the Birmingham Post is the restaurant reviews by Richard McComb. He clearly enjoys and savours good food, he has a dry sense of humour and he reports critically, in the best sense of that word, on the ambience, service and food.

There was a time when I first came across him, when I was tempted to contact him and ask whether there were any restaurants in Birmingham that he actually approved of.

However, soon after that he began to report some excellent experiences and Birmingham is now a thriving culinary centre.

Recently he reported on two newly opened restaurants, both members of international chains. In both cases he was scathing about the experience. One of them was Jamie's Italian in Birmingham's Bull Ring.

There was no response from Jamie Oliver's organisation, nor was one expected.

The other restaurant was Carluccio's. An hour after the review was published Carluccio's public relations company approached McComb to say that managing director Simon Kossoff was mortified to read of his experience. He intended to drive from London to Birmingham the next day to address the complaints that were raised in the article, and invited the author to attend at the same time.

This was not a public relations exercise. There was a full meeting with the staff to address the issues and steps were taken seriously to put things right.

One of my strongly propounded beliefs is that 'all feedback is a gift' . And I tend to give quite a lot of feedback. Clearly, as a coach this is part of my professional skill and it is always done with the intention of bringing about improvements.

So you can imagine that I really enjoyed reading Richard McCombe's description of the two responses he had (or have not had) from the two restaurants. Which one is more likely to succeed – and which one is more likely to develop a healthy attitude in its staff?

I was pleased to learn that I am not alone.