Local restaurateurs Tiffani Faison and Will Gilson value candid conversation with their customers.

Gilson, owner of Puritan & Company, recently took to Instagram to hear directly from his followers about what they dislike about dining out. The overwhelming response pointed to widespread challenges adjusting to a post-pandemic world. Both Gilson and Faison acknowledge that the past four years have posed immense challenges for the restaurant industry.

“There's a real need for people to vent,” said Faison, the visionary behind Tenderoni’s in Fenway and other restaurants on Boston Public Radio on Tuesday.

“We've always done well by reaching out to our guests, asking them their opinion, whether it be surveys, whether it be just like direct feedback,” Gilson explained. “This one was an opportunity to just kind of throw [the question] out there and let people complain.”

Among the complaints, customers expressed dissatisfaction with high drink prices, added fees, and having to scan a QR code for the menu.

Another common theme in the responses was the frustration customers felt being asked if they had a reservation before receiving a warm greeting. Gilson acknowledged this challenge, connecting it to the difficulty of retraining staff in hospitality after prolonged periods of isolation due to the pandemic. “It's not coming as naturally to [the younger staff].”

Faison also pointed out that the younger staff faces problems maintaining focus amidst digital distractions.

“I don't know how to teach that yet. I don't know how to teach [staff] how to cook and stay focused and stay sustained in a generation of kids that are doing 17,000 things at once,” she said.

Gilson noted that the main takeaway from the responses was the significant changes the world has undergone in the past four years and how restaurants have had to adapt accordingly.

“I’m happy when my guests are happy,” Gilson said.