What’s the most expensive item in your restaurant? An empty chair! There are two ways to fill those chairs — bring in new customers or bring back existing customers. If you spend all your time focusing on new customers, it won’t be long before you see more and more empty chairs. Marketing only for new customers is simply unsustainable. Improving customer loyalty, which creates repeat traffic, is critical to the long-term success of your restaurant.
Filling the chairs in your restaurant is about much more than the food you serve. Remember, service is your invisible product and obviously it involves a little more than sloganeering, smile training and serving hot food hot and cold food cold. When someone gets bad service in your restaurant, the word can spread like wildfire. We’re certain that you’re insured against fire in your restaurant but are you insured against BAD SERVICE? Repeat traffic is a testament to the service you provide.
Since what “good service” is varies so much between each server and each guest, we’d like to suggest a solution to the “service” puzzle. It involves breaking down every facet or experience of the guest’s visit into a separate unit, or contact point, and then delineating:
- How the customer should be treated to ensure 100 percent guest satisfaction.
- Identifying which employees and managers interact with the guest at each Customer Contact Point and will therefore have the greatest impact on the guest’s experience.
- Deciding on what training is necessary to ensure that each interaction or Customer Contact Point results in a positive experience for the guest.
If you use a full-service restaurant as a model, you can break down your individual Customer Contact Points into 12 specific areas. By knowing what your service challenges are in each area, you know what you have to manage and who’s responsible for the service delivery. String them all together in chronological order and they add up to hospitality’s Cycle of Service.