Numerous recent independent surveys, taken by prestigious organizations
suggest that while quality of food is a major reason for the success of
a food service facility, other factors, including how noisy children are
handled determine whether guest will return.
This comes as no surprise to me, since my many years as a consultant
in these Industries convinced me long ago that there are factors (which
incidentally apply to all businesses –even professional practices) other
than Quality, Price and Service that determine whether people want to give
you their hard earned money.
In my work I travel a lot. In fact, both by client exposure and the
fact that over the course of any year my home away from home has put me
in hotels and restaurants for many days. That certainly has qualified me
as an expert on the subject-but I am careful to be objective, rather than
While operators of restaurants that are not in a Hotel/Casino environment
see every customer as a source of their income, Hotel/Casino operators
often see the Food & Beverage segment (with the exception of the catering
areas) as a necessary evil, when in fact that area of service plays a key
role in where their guests choose to stay, when away from home. I would
suggest that even though your property may be ringed by restaurants, many
of your guests prefer to stay on site to fulfill their food needs.
By considering some of the recommendations that follow, a major step
can be taken towards achieving greater Revenue Generation from your Food
and Beverage operation.
1. The entrance ways and public areas should always be neat
and clean. Trash cans filled with cigarette butts and paper cups do not
create a good atmosphere for those who are about to dine.
The message herein raised is that we all need to look at out customers
though “Their” eyes, not “Ours” and then ask ourselves “If I were the patron,
how would I evaluate this establishment?”
2. Restrooms should be checked every hour, or more, to ensure that they
are clean and fresh. Nothing is a greater turn off to a diner than a messy
rest room. Many patrons have health problems. An unsightly restroom dose
not provides them a comfort level.
3. Servers should be trained in how to warm up a piece of pastry in
the microwave. Usually the crust is warm and the inside ice cold. The usual
explanation is that “WE do not want you to burn yourself”. If, as I will
discuss later, all cooked food should be served not only hot, but on hot
plates as well. So why not the pastry?.
4. Observe how “Toasted” Toast is served. 90 % of the time one needs
to look closely to be certain it got into the toaster. This suggests that
there is more concern about with getting the food out, than whether it
meets the customer’s expectation.
5. Given the recent rise in concern about food safety, it is astonishing
that no one has spoken out about the significantly high percentage of food,
even in the finest restaurants, that is served just barely warm, particularly,
on breakfast buffets. Instead of filling your chafers to the top with eggs
and meat, why not reduce the amount in them and fill up more often? When
I called this to the attention of the owner of a 4 star Hotel in Arizona
he told me that he never eats breakfast in his hotel, only lunch-so he
was unaware of the problem. Wayne Fowler, a well known Consultant in he
Food & Beverage Industry and close associate, talks about the “MBWA”
system of managing a restaurant i.e. “Managers and Chefs need to Manage
by walking around paying attention to the small details of what is happening”.
While entertaining clients during a recent conference we were served “cold”
food on three different occasions in 3 high class restaurants. This is
not an uncommon occurrence and certainly has an effect on the choices consumers
6. If you are going to serve a Complimentary Breakfast”, make certain
that your patrons will “Compliment” you on it. Don’t just go through the
motions. Someone should be stationed in the serving areas to ensure that;
they are always kept clean, the bagels and bread are fresh and not just
out of a freezer, all of the food is hot (see previous comments) and that
by the end of the serving hour the food on the counter looks like you just
opened, not like you are ready to close. There should be Staff in the area
to help customers with special needs needs. Once again, it is one thing
to offer something for free, another to make it appear to have value...
If you want me to come back-make it look like you mean it. When someone
spills something on the buffet counter, they should not have to clean it
up themselves-even if it is “Complimentary”
7. Continually monitor what is being delivered to your guests and train
servers to carefully listen to what the patron says. It is amazing how
many times the food arrives without the “Gravy on the Side”, as it was
ordered. An associate of mine told me the following story. When traveling
on business he stays in upscale full service or high end limited service
hotels and/or eats at mid to upscale restaurants. He said that he always
orders “two poached eggs on dry whole wheat toast”, but that almost always
what he is served are two poached
eggs sitting in a small bowl of water, two pieces of scrunched up whole
wheat, barely toasted, bread and some very greasy hash brown potatoes..If
that is not bad enough, he told me, that he has to put the toast on his
large plate and transfer the eggs from the bowl. Unfortunately eggs are
slippery and most often if you are not very careful one of the eggs will
land on the table. My curious mind got to me and for many months thereafter,
I did the same and of course his experience was duplicated. When this happened
in a major Las Vegas hotel, the wait person smiled and commented “Oh! That
happens all of the time”.
8. Train your buss persons how to clean tables without banging dirty
dishes into a buss tray. When guest are dining the last thing they want
to hear is that kind of loud noise.
9. Schedule the mopping of public areas and entrances at non-peak hours.
It always boggles my mind to walk into a restaurant during prime breakfast,
lunch and dinner hours and have to step through, or around pools of water
and slippery floors.
10. There are an abundance of restaurants that cater to families with
small children. Mid-scale and fine dining establishments, however, need
to develop a strategy for the handling patrons with loud children who run
around the dining area, jump up and down in booths and otherwise are disturbing
those who are out for a leisurely meal (this applies to rowdy adults as
well). No one loves children more than do I, but unfortunately we live
at a time when discipline and good manners are not always taught by parents.
Having a friendly, courteous process for controlling that kind of situation
will gain you more patrons than you will lose. Every business including
Food and Beverage, at times has to recognize it cannot be all things to
all people. If your establishment’s image requires that on occasion you
need to take a hard stand with those who take way from that-do not hesitate
to do so. In the final analysis, whatever the nature of your business,
or profession, you deal with human beings (there is no other source of
supply). They expect to receive value for their investment in you and quickly
recognize those who understand their needs and cater to their idiosyncrasies.