One of the biggest lessons that I learnt during my recruitment career was how to make candidates feel comfortable and give them an experience that will be long-lasting. Irrespective of whether we select him, the experience should be good enough to create the brand image that would encourage/motivate candidates to spread the word and apply again. Experiences create branding. Experience makes or mars the image! Experiences generate perceptions that are hard to break!
The same applies to service industry too – especially F&B. They too need to create unique experiences for their customers. The standard of service is on a decline as restaurants miss out on creating a great customer experience.
Irrespective of how the food has been, basic trainings should be provided to both the servers and the staff. It is imperative that investment is made on training staff on basic etiquettes. Learning being a continuous journey and with market being saturated with restaurants, customers do carry high expectations. Staff should be trained to “WOW” guests in every possible way. Basic trainings on how and when to provide service is a crucial element in all customer interactions. Both the timings and the relevance of that service clearly dictate how customers perceive business. As everyone is striving to be in a positive light, and in the age of social media and online review sites, it is important that customers get an experience that would make them come back – time and again!
Recently, I went to a newly opened Italian restaurant – Jamie’s Italian in vasant kunj for lunch with my wife. As we were two of us, we choose two-seater, however my wife felt uncomfortable and we requested to be moved to the next table that had the capacity of four. The entire restaurant was empty, however the service lady refused to entertain and move us to the next table. I told her “Mam, your entire restaurant is empty and we will not take more than 20 min to finish our lunch, in the meantime if your restaurant will be full, we will make sure that we will vacate the seat”. She obliged. The behaviour was highly unprofessional. It’s fault in the system too, where we are in a hurry and we forget to provide basic comfort!
Another incident was on my son’s birthday at Café Delhi Heights, Promenade Mall. We had shared that our son can’t eat spicy and hot stuff. We ordered pasta in white sauce. What was served to us was pasta with loads of black pepper. It left a bad taste and spoiled the mood as our son couldn’t eat it.
In an incident, we went for early lunch at Uzzuri Deli at CP. This experience was even worse. The server who had come to take our order was wearing cluttered shirt, was chewing tobacco and had a bad odour. I had spilled coffee on the table while stirring. The server cleared the plate, but didn’t bother to clean the table.
These are the incidents that I have shared as its lack of basic etiquettes and training that creates negative customer experience which in turn leads to negative review. At times we take service casually. I recollect an incident where I went for reviewing a newly opened cocktail place. I was served red snapper that had two large fish bones. I showed the chef and their GM, however their approach was very casual and I didn’t again to the same place.
In one of my conversations with Mallika Oberoi, PR of The Oberoi and Trident Gurgaon – the kind of service standards that they follow is almost perfect. Oberoi learning school should also be extended to people outside and the expectations from any café and restaurants should meet the basic criteria of:
- Servers should be given guidance about cleanliness and professional appearance
- Service body language and what is appropriate
- Articulate standards specific to the restaurant
- Protect customers from food borne hazards
- Know the menu and instilling right /pleasant behaviour
Restaurants employ staff to serve patrons as well as new customers. Great customer experience is an essential that delivers and creates a memorable experience for dining guests. An ongoing training would not just help in creating success stories of happy customers, but would also lead to increase in business!