Cafe Cezanne owners Rod Williams and Jackie Wilk' />

The diners of Ponsonby have high standards, and many are quick to complain when they're not met.

Cafe Cezanne owners Rod Williams and Jackie Wilkinson get a few of those diners through their wide front doors. They know about picky, finicky complaints.

So when TV3's Target wrongly accused them of serving contaminated food, they knew what to do. They complained.

The couple had bought the Ponsonby landmark in November 2008, after Williams decided to leave his career as a builder and Wilkinson left her corporate career.

The cafe has an A-grade hygiene rating from Auckland City Council.

But an episode of Target, in June last year, wrongly alleged that chicken from Cezanne contained high levels of faecal coliforms.

Not surprisingly, they say, customers were scared off.

Target's producers, Top Shelf Productions, admitted incorrectly coding food samples from the cafes tested. The couple's complaint is now in the hands of the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

By complaining, and loudly, to TV3, to the BSA, to the newspapers, Cafe Cezanne has won back its reputation and won back its clientele.

Cafe Cezanne's owners say about one in 100 customers will complain about the food or service - some just trying their luck.

A customer at one table of six young people argued she had been given the wrong meal, Williams says, when really it was a case of food envy: she decided she wanted pancakes when she saw her friends' plates arrive.

Another woman once tried to demand a free smoothie instead of the complimentary coffee her loyalty card entitled her to. She left the cafe, only to come back and rip the loyalty card up in small pieces and leave again.

Wilkinson says cafe staff are trained to look out for people who may not be happy.

"A lot of people won't complain and if they're pushing their food around the plate we have to prod them gently to ask what's wrong," she explains.

"Some people are a bit embarrassed."