Service really begins the moment your customer approaches your restaurant. Before you even begin training your staff to serve and sell, be sure you look at your place through your customer’s eyes…
Your customer is coming in for more than just the food….
“I knew absolutely nothing about the business that I got into… so again I mentioned the business of a thousand details and one by one call it the school of hard knocks you know back in the early days it felt as though I was falling from a tree and hitting every branch on the way down. I made a lot of mistakes, I lost a lot of money before I created the systems that then turn things around and moved my business forward. And ultimately I was able to dominate my competition for about 18 of those 20 years that I was in the business ”
Your restaurant’s patrons appreciate inside knowledge, personal recommendations, and glowing descriptions. By training your service team to creatively use ‘Theatre of the mind’, you’ll soon be watching your customers smile, the cash register ring and online reviews bring in new and repeat business. Now, that’s a true competitive advantage.
There are so many reasons people run restaurants. Many of us first got into the business because of passion. Maybe you started working in restaurants and really oved the personal side, camaraderie with staff and customers alike. Perhpas you are drawn to the high-energy. Possibly, you were a chef with a loyal following of raving fans, or you just saw an opportunity and took the plunge. But that was years ago. Are you still passionate and committed to run a top-notch operation?
Every day before your doors open for business, gather your team for a motivational huddle and go beyond the typical tasting of the night’s specials. Discuss exceeding guest expectations and a strategy for the service to come. One of my most effective exercises was actually based on a popular game that everyone has played – BINGO! Much like the real thing my version of the game is easy to execute in your restaurant. Here’s the idea…
I work with many restaurants and collaborate with other professionals across the hospitality industry. One thing I continually see and hear about are the sheer numbers of operators not taking regular inventory or closely analyzing food, beverage and labor costs. It doesn’t seem to matter if the restaurant is just starting out or has been around for years, the trend is evident. This is crazy! It’s like feeding hundred dollar bills into your shredder several times per week.
Labor will always be any businesses’ biggest challenge, but you can turn the tables so to speak with a simple system or plan B, that becomes your restaurant’s strongest competitive advantage.
Our recent travel experiences differed greatly at a variety of businesses. Whether they were resort hotels, a hip modern motel, high end restaurants, Chinese take-out, the local bagel shop and a bowling alley; the lessons learned are the same. Regardless of the price of your menu or service provided, hospitality is either present or noticeable absent.
Whether you’re new to this business or a seasoned operator please read on. When you start a business of any significance, you pour your heart, your passion, your dreams and your hard-fought sweat into your venture everyday because your present, your future, your kids futures, literally everything is on the line. So this is why I am surprised with the all too common belief that “If you build it…”.