Category: customer feedback

Melbourne Zoo apologises for bloody uncooked chicken

Melbourne Zoo together with the Melbourne Zoo Bistro’s caterer, Liberty Catering Concepts, have apologised for serving bloody uncooked chicken to my four year old child.  I accept their apologies and hope that a mistake like this does not occur again.

Here’s what happened today.  Following my lodgement of a formal complaint with the City of Melbourne 2 days ago, a food inspector visited the Melbourne Zoo Bistro and inspected their facilities and audited their food handling processes.  The City of Melbourne have been very impressive with their handling of my complaint, taking the issue of food safety very seriously and keeping me updated through out the inspection process.

Putting aside the health issues, from a social media perspective it took the Melbourne Zoo two whole business days to respond to a serious customer complaint made through Facebook & Twitter – is that ok in this day and age?

This morning Zoos Victoria posted this message on the Melbourne Zoo Facebook page:

Zoos Victoria  Hi Josh, we’re really sorry to hear about your experience at the Melbourne Zoo bistro – thank you for alerting us to this issue.

We want all our visitors to have a great day at the zoo and this of course includes the experience at our catering outlets. If you would like to chat about this to one of the directors of the catering company we would be happy to arrange this. Our official facebook page is or you can get in touch by emailing
and this tweet from the Melbourne Zoo Twitter account:

@MelbourneZoo Melbourne Zoo @joshrowe Hi Josh, so sorry to hear about your experience. Someone will be in touch with you this afternoon.

and this letter (PDF) from Liberty Catering Concepts sent via email:

Libery Catering Concepts
PO Box 74
Elliot Avenue
Parkville VIC 3052

T (03) 9285 9440
F (03) 9285 9244
Mr Josh Rowe

Via email

Re: Liberty Catering Concepts poor food experience at Melbourne Zoo

Dear Mr Rowe,

I am writing to you in response to your visit on Tuesday 5th July to the Lakeside Bistro at
Melbourne Zoo. I am extremely disappointed that we served your child undercooked chicken on that occasion in the form of the Drummet dish. I have been furnished with the photo that you
took on the day and can agree entirely with your reaction to this incident.

Whilst we have been the caterer at Melbourne Zoo for a year now this is the first time that we have performed so poorly in both food service and the appropriate management response in
dealing with what was a serious food issue during your visit. For this I sincerely apologise and can assure you of my complete attention and my investigation and rectification of the incident.

I have reviewed the complete preparation and cooking process with the Head Chef and have formed the opinion that a step was not completed on the day of your visit which caused the
undercooked product to be served. This indicates poor supervision on the day and a flaw in the following of procedures by a team member. I have taken steps to ensure that this will never occur

I can assure you that all our food served at Melbourne Zoo is purchased locally, prepared on site and served with care. In this instance we have let you down and for this I am embarrassed and
upset that it has occurred. Again I apologise and welcome you back whenever you please at my expense so we may offer you a positive experience.

Please feel welcome to give me a call to discuss further on 0417 552 569 or via return email.

Yours sincerely

Justin Forrester Director


Melbourne Zoo bistro complaint letter (2011 version)

Today, the Melbourne Zoo Bistro served my 4 year old son uncooked bloody chicken and only apologised when asked to do so.  This blog post together with this Tweet, this Facebook post, this Foursquare tip and my online formal complaint to the City of Melbourne are my 2011 version of a complaint letter to the Melbourne Zoo.

I wonder how or if the Melbourne Zoo will respond?

Melbourne Zoo bistro bloody uncooked chicken

On Tuesday 5 July 2011, I visited the Melbourne Zoo and attended the Melbourne Zoo Bistro where I ordered some food for myself, 4 year old and 2 year old kids at approximately 1pm.

At about 1:30pm the food was delivered to my table in the bistro. I ate my food whilst my children ate theirs’.

My 4 year old was eating his “chicken drummets and chips”, which were basically chicken drumsticks fried in bread crumbs.

After my 4 year old had already taken a few bites of the chicken, I noticed some pinkness on the chicken & used my knife to cut in deeper and found bloody uncooked chicken.

I sought and received a refund for the meal (I was offered a replacement meal which I declined).

I spoke with the manager, David, who looked at me blankly and silently as he refunded the cash for the meal.

I asked if he would apologise for the error and he nonchalantly said sorry.

I am concerned about these two issues:

1. poor food preparation leading to potential food poisoning which risks the health of my children and others, and
2. a non-customer focused attitude by the manager (i.e. having to be asked to apologise) which may be the reason why the first issue occurred in the first place.

I have lodged a formal complaint with the City of Melbourne to investigate the issue of food safety and potential food poisoning of my 4 year old child so that it does not occur again.

It would be disappointing if the Melbourne Zoo’s great reputation was damaged by broader attention to issues like this one.