This is what is wrong with your business

Hospitality is a hard gig.  Long hours, working when everyone is playing but if you get it right the rewards are substantial.

Enjoying our Christmas party recently I realized that even the good don’t always get it right.  We sat in a great and successful restaurant yet there were some blaringly obvious points that could have meant their profits and client satisfaction was a lot higher.

1.     Hostess.  This person is the one that creates the feel for the night.  Makes you feel welcome and appreciated and that you feel so great from her interactions that you are really happy you picked that restaurant over the one next door.  I know you have had a long few hours but we are currently paying your wages and some pleasantries would be great. Create the feel and leave them wanting more.

2.     The meals.  There are two points on this one.  Service and Size.  Firstly my meal was forgotten.  There were 6 orders all the same and only 5 came out.  I waited for 10 minutes before mentioning it, and it wasn’t detected. The wait staff should be all over that and check all meals are down.  When I raised it with our hostess she was annoyed.  I am sure not at me, more the team she was working with but it came across like I had inconvenienced her night.  Now here this could have been a lot better with some service to turn that experience around.  A great interaction, here is another drink while you wait or we will give you a mixed dessert to share on the table after, to show we care. There was nothing of this. 

Next was the size.  These meals were huge.  And while aussies love a big meal this screamed ‘wastage’ to me as all of our meals had leftovers.  This ‘eats’ into the margins.  A smaller size meal, equally as satisfying and still worth the same would mean larger margins and a better bottom line.  Always watch those meals sizes as it can mean thousands of dollars difference in profits.

3.     The Bar.  Now this is where the money is made.  There is good margin in alcohol across a bar. So the key here is keep wastage down, which is easy without tap beer, and keep it quick.  The more you sell the more you make.  This was a huge fail.  There were around 10 staff, but only one making drinks and putting them out to wait staff.  This meant at times a half hour wait on drinks and that was just our table, and there were around 15 of us.  In addition to this our table were then chasing the wait staff to order drinks, often.  There should be someone on the floor just circling to check on the tables and who needs drinks, and clear glasses.  They then let the team member allocated to that table know that a drink order is needed. They don’t get bogged down they float and often a good hostess would do this roll to create those experiences and conversations and show she is caring for the patrons.  The quicker the drinks the more money that can be made and in hospitality this is key.

This is by no means a gripe about the restaurant we went to.  We work on many hospitality businesses and these are the kinds of conversations we have when determining why there might be a change in margins or a drop in sales.  And most of our clients nail it.  Take Our Place Tenterfield for example.  Amanda has her team well trained in customer experience and she herself is one of the best hosts I have seen in business. 

So Think of this as a Mark Bouris business mentoring, without the price tag.