Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dear Restaurants and Cafes,...May I have a word?

A restaurant, cafe, or deli, like any other business, may only get one chance to surprise us with their service, food, and cleanliness. Unfortunately, some do not make it to our "Top 10 Favorite Places to Eat" list.

It's even worse when a favorite eating spot disappoints. No business is perfect, but all businesses should strive for perfection. If 100% satisfaction is not part of the business culture there's already a problem, and it's only a matter of time before that pothole becomes a sinkhole!

Food service business owners are some of the hardest working people I know. Many times they go into this business because they love to cook or love to be around friendly people. Yet, understandably, they may fail to realize there's so much more to making this business successful, even beyond the financial risk.

So, what can food service businesses do to win total devotion?
Here are my personal Top 10 things it takes to win my heart:

10. Include plans and training for customer loyalty and leadership in your overall 
      business strategy. Customers can spot the ones who do not.

9. Terminate any employee who is not 100% committed to your business culture. It 

     only takes one bad apple to spoil the barrel.

8. Have a mobile friendly website that contains what a customer might want to know. 

    Seek advice from an expert with proven experience.

7. Provide convenient parking and accessibility.

6. Be philanthropic and community minded. Your community will thank you in

    countless ways.

5. Create a culture of happiness and 100% commitment to serving.

4. Provide superior training to waitstaff and all others who interact with customers.  

    It's not just about the proper serving of plates.

3. Prepare delicious food. Your customers are the judges.

2. Realize that cleanliness is next to Godliness in food service, so keep the place very
    clean. This includes the restrooms. Please.

1. Deliver platinum customer service. That is, if you want to make money.

If you're an owner I know what you're thinking. It goes something like this:
"What??? There's no way I can do all of this. I can tell this writer has never owned and operated a restaurant or cafe. Too bad. Customers who expect all this can just find somewhere else to dine!!!"

Okay. I sure will. You are right about one thing. I have never owned a food service establishment. But, here's what's really important: I am a customer, and I am the one who keeps your refrigerator as well as your cash register running. Or not.

You cannot take short cuts on any of the Top 10, and each one requires a dedicated strategy and tactics to drive success and make life easier on owners, managers and employees.

Remember #5? That one is really a part of #1. If you're one of the brave, hard-working souls who owns and operates a food service business, I know you can do this! You have the grit and determination it takes, so let's see you show off. We will be devoted fans forever.

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