Poor service costing business millions
I recently dropped by a relatively new restaurant for a bite to eat and a spot of mystery shopping.
It was mid week and their lunch crowd was moderate … only a few spare tables, but no long queue waiting to be seated.
Firstly, I had difficulty locating the main entrance due to a lack of external directional signage. Secondly, the non-automatic double entrance doors were devoid of push and/or pull signs, and as is the case with many businesses, one of the double doors was locked. So on my fourth try, I gained entry to the premises.
The words of welcome and smile of the person greeting me were polite, but perfunctory with only fleeting eye contact.
“Table for one please,” I asked” … ” follow me” was the reply as she grabbed a copy of the menu, a bottle of water and a glass from the bar enroute to my table.
On arriving at the table, she, without asking, poured me a glass of water.
So how could this be construed as poor service I hear you asking?
Well first of all, I don’t normally drink tap water … call me precious, but if you knew what was in it … but that’s another story.
I mostly order lightly sparkling mineral water that costs between four & ten dollars a bottle. However, because she had already poured me a glass of water, it felt awkward to say, “no thanks, may I have some bottled water.” Needless to say, she never asked what I would like in terms of water, so a guaranteed sale was lost.
She did ask if I would like a drink and I ordered a glass of Shiraz. That was the first and only time I was asked, and my glass, when empty, sat begging to be refilled for at least twenty-five minutes before I left. If asked, I would definitely have enjoyed a second glass … it was a very nice drop. Second guaranteed sale lost … nine dollars per glass.
My ordered meal was delivered in a timely fashion and was well presented and very tasty … no complaints. Except for the again perfunctory “how is your meal” three minutes after the meal was presented. GRRRR!!! (What clown ever invented this stupid question?)
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Stop asking patrons how their meal is. Instead, when you deliver meals to the table, say words to the effect of, “enjoy your meal and please let me know if anything is not to your complete satisfaction.” THEN STOP BUGGING PATRONS AND RESPECT THEIR SPACE!!
After enjoying the tasty dish I waited … and waited … and waited … to be asked if I would like a cup of coffee. But alas, everyone seemed too busy to notice … or care. Third guaranteed sale lost.
Total value of lost sales … approximately nineteen dollars and fifty cents.
Now multiply this by the number of covers per luncheon and evening sittings seven days a week.
For this restaurant alone, that’s potentially one million, four hundred thousand dollars in lost additional annual revenue.
It’s a sad, but not uncommon reality.
The owners have spent millions and have done a very good job on the fit-out and equipping of their fine establishment. The hard side of their business is excellent … almost impossible to fault. The soft side however, the people and service side, is what is letting them down and costing them plenty. In fact, it’s costing them millions.