A subject of great fascination to me is to better understand the process to Meet or Exceed Expectations. If it were possible for a Chef to know exactly how customers and management perceive the experience and their food, the Chef could do a better job and become more effective in accommodating their needs.
To begin to understand this, I selected a restaurant and started at the front door and worked my way throughout the entire operation touching on and observing all facets. A question I held going through the operation was, “What do you find of greatest importance when entering the restaurant?” The short answer is every facet is important to ultimately Exceed Expectations.
- A warm personal greeting from staff.
- Fast and efficient service.
- Seeing others enjoying themselves.
- Clean organized facilities (No sticky tables)
- A safe & secure environment.
- Having a manager on duty that is actively following up.
- Appropriately dressed staff.
- Great, interesting and nutritious food!
- Great beverage service and product to compliment the experience.
- Knowing that the restaurant is a good value.
In an effort to operate the restaurant with the objective of Exceeding Expectations, I suggest trying to think like and view the restaurant operation through a customer’s eyes. If you experience less than great service or see deteriorated conditions and facilities, most likely the customer’s perception is similar. Here is a simple three-step approach that may help exceed your customer’s expectations.
Step 1. Understand “Quality”
Establish high standards based on comparison. Experience the best of the best yourself and attempt to replicate in your operation. If you are going to exceed your customer’s expectations quality product and service executed to perfection is paramount. Eliminate the obstacles and reduce the unnecessary steps to help the staff improve their performance. Provide your staff with the tools, equipment and training to perform their jobs effectively.
Step 2. “Difference is in the Details”
Always ask yourself, what can we do different to create a better-perceived product? Continual improvement is the key. It may be as simple as serving a salad on a frozen china plate as opposed to a room temperature bowl. Or, improved graphics using a more personal approach; having a well-dressed uniformed staff or upgrading tabletop accoutrements. The little touches sometimes are the most effective and make the biggest impact.
Step 3. Institute the “Wow” factor.
What can you do that will get your customer’s attention and have them talking positively about their experience? Think outside of the box! Sure doing things in a more complex manner takes more work but believe me, it’s worth it. Create unique presentations using interesting shapes and sizes of china. Use smoke or ice or change the size of a presentation. Unique food presentations are memorable. Most importantly, add the personal touch especially with follow-through and recognition wherever possible. Get out in the dining room and meet, greet and listen to your customers.
Exceeding Expectations should become a part of your daily routine and instilled within your staff’s culture. In today’s world, we all have numerous choices and believe me, there are plenty of venues after your customer’s business. It’s important to understand what your customer’s expect and it’s often a thrill EXCEEDING them!