After a long week of speaking engagements in Australia, I decided to try out a new bistro for a meal and beverage. As I always do, I looked for a crowd because that usually indicates people enjoy the food and experience. The place had a growing crowd with people pouring in to unwind after their work week. Music played and boisterous conversations filled the night in the open-air venue, and I settled in for a meal and some time to relax and refresh.
It All Matters.
In the restaurant and bar business, there are so many details to manage properly that it's easy for something to go wrong. For this reason, I truly admire great restaurants because this is not, and never will be an easy gig. It's a financial sinkhole for those who get it wrong and a massive financial win when you get it right. Just think of the big, short list you must get right:
Top 10 Must-Be-Exceptional-At List:
- The Service
- The Food
- The Atmosphere
- The Cleanliness
- The Beverages
- The Menu Presentation
- The Timeliness of Service
- The People You Employ
- The Guest Experience
- The Perceived Value
No Room for Excuses
In fact, you can get it all right...and then screw up one item on this list, and people simply will not come back. It's truly showtime all the time in this industry. You are running a showcase every given moment your doors are open.
With today's social media, your patrons can evaluate and rate you in real time. Your reputation is on the line all the time. People can hit you up on Yelp, call you out on Twitter, post a comment on Facebook, and they can and will tell your story for you - whether it's good or bad. Everyone on your team must know they represent the restaurant to the people they interact with in this fast-paced business.
What is experience? It is a combination of what you see and hear and how it makes you feel. In this business, you must also add what you taste and how long it takes you to get served. At this particular bistro, the food and overall atmosphere were great. It was even almost perfect, but I will not be going back. Why? The brutal truth is one bad, negative, unfriendly, unqualified person can fire an entire restaurant or business. As a person who waited tables and fully understand the stresses of that job, I am always slow to criticize any server. I know it can be incredibly hard and thankless work.
What Went Wrong
It's really not complicated at all to explain. The server in my section was not a happy person on the evening, and it showed quite clearly. There was not a smile in sight. On a scale of 1-10 for happiness or enthusiasm, I would be generous to rate the service as a two. I believe this person hated their work, and as a result, they took it out on their customers. The server's mood was so intensely negative, it ruined the experience. From start to finish, the best way to describe this person's attitude was sour and negative. Granted, this person is making about $25 bucks an hour and is not dependent on customer tips, but is that an excuse? In my opinion, it is not a valid one, but a reason to make certain people enjoy their experience even more. This individual would have brightened up the room if they had left.
I Am Responsible
I would love to know who the leader of the establishment was, because this is squarely on their shoulders. In a great business with great leadership, team members do not act this way. I actually sent the restaurant a letter and attached the I Am Responsible Mantras I believe in so much.
I Am Responsible for:
- My Attitude
- My Enthusiasm
- My Energy
- My Level of Excitement
- My Passion
- My Joy
- My Service
- My Drive
- My Kindness
- My Awareness
I never heard back from the place, which confirms my suspicion about their leader. I do know the I Am Responsible Mantras would help their business. I hope you look through the list and do a mental checklist. If you accept responsibility for these attributes and display them every day, you will be highly successful at making others around you feel better.
Remember this impactful life lesson:
Make a difference today.
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Copyright 2017: Paul Cummings Enterprises.
About the author: For over 30 years, Paul Cummings has taught dynamic life changing strategies on sales, customer service, communication, building a better business, and leadership. Millions have had the opportunity to learn what it means to live and work at Level 10.