Longer working hours to gain more customers?

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What would you describe as one of the worst dining experiences ever?

I’d like to tell you about my worst restaurant experience – it happened today. I arranged a meeting around lunchtime in my guests’ restaurant of choice. After we were through with lunch and had discussed our topics, I decided to stay a bit longer to get some work done before heading to the second meeting of the afternoon. I thought it would be quiet enough to be able to concentrate on my work, as the peak time was already over. But no, the restaurant thought it was a good time to pipe up and not provide their guests with the peace and quiet they need. They used this down time as a chance to noisily rearrange the tables, regardless of who was listening. After 20 minutes of watching 4 waiters hectically run around every aisle, move the tables without lifting them up off the floor, and throw dirty dishes around, all while chatting away, it was dangerously close to reaching my tolerance level. As I watched and listened, I wondered if they would recognize my disapproval at some point and stop being so inconsiderate, but to no avail. Even though the waiters did take notice – the one that took my order later admitted that it was too loud and that was why he didn’t write it down correctly, and that he forgot to bring me a menu after I had already asked twice because they were so busy with their other work. The one thing I wanted to complain about was used to excuse another complaint of mine – that’s a double whammy.

I wonder if they are actually open for their guests during the working hours that are stated on the door, or if it’s just for looks. What is the point of providing long working hours they do when they can’t serve their customers anyway. This sort of a situation is even more unacceptable in high-end restaurants, where people pay more for what they buy.

Of course, longer working hours are there to gain more guests as well as more revenue. Why would a business even be open if that wasn’t the goal? And yes, they probably will gain more short-term customers by staying open during the non-peak times. However, it’s also counterproductive if their service is so poor that they’re actually losing customers because of it, like they did me today. The goal of reaching “more and more” is again merely used in terms of revenue instead of quality and satisfaction.

Ensuring great service quality is a full-time job, which means that all times, places, and touch points have to be included within the efforts. If your service is excellent from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., but horrible from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., you’re missing the point. Of course, that’s just my opinion.  But take the time to ask yourself what’s most important for you. Monitoring and therefore ensuring you’re offering the best quality across the board, or gaining more revenue, but at the risk of providing inconsistent service.

Author: Trang Le 

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Longer working hours to gain more customers?

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