I recently met some family members for a special dinner at a well-known “trendy” hotel Penthouse restaurant. We were all excited to eat there, soak up the atmosphere and of course enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the beach and the city. Having been to this restaurant previously for lunch, I convinced the family that the food was very nice.
As dinner began, of course I was the one who asked challenging menu related questions. For example, “can I have this without this or can we add this instead of that?” For a restaurant though, these questions should have been fairly easy to answer. Instead, we were faced with a group who just did not want to do anything outside of what they already do. They also didn’t know their menu very well and seemed concerned about asking the “chef” to do anything other than what was on the menu. After almost “begging” the waiter to go and please ask and check if we can add avocado to our salad and substitute spinach for iceberg lettuce and have something well cooked, we were sure that our dinner selections would be right when the order came.
I could not have been more wrong. Everything came out at different times, then had to go back as we asked that our order come out at the same time. The waiter did not want to replace an order that they got so significantly wrong, the manager then came over and poured sparkling water into our still water cups, and it went on and on and on.
By the end of the meal, we were all exhausted as we sent food items back, had to beg our waiters to swap items out and were made to feel guilty for asking for it just to be right.
It made me think if this happened with others, would they come back, and how much money would that restaurant be losing both in terms of financial value and also brand reputation? If everyone sent back their food as much as we did, surely they could not continue to operate with those additional costs.
Getting a task, a call, a dinner right the first time is what all businesses should strive to achieve. Each error, passing or transferring of a call to another department, or remaking an entrée is expensive.
I left dinner wondering why and how it went so wrong. Was it that they just did not care to satisfy the customer? Was it that any slight change of what they already knew severely altered their ability to serve? Was it that perhaps we were too demanding of a clientele to eat there? I don’t know.
The next morning we ordered room service for breakfast. We asked for onion to be replaced with tomato. When the order came, guess what; there was no tomato. I asked why they didn’t bring it and they said it was only a garnish. I shook my head and then received a text asking for feedback on my dinner last night.
Getting your service and product right the first time is an important metric for all businesses. It not only helps to drive unwanted cost out of your business, but it also helps to increase customer satisfaction. Think about what you are doing to get it right the first time.
Service Woe or Wow? You decide?