Two “key-foundations” for any successful business are offering Paramount Service and true “Value for the Dollar” with consistency every customer, every time.
Unfortunately, missing one or both combined is all too common in service businesses. The end-result is that both the customer experience and the business’ cash register suffer the consequences.
This past weekend, my young daughters and I travelled to Jackson Hole, WY where we experienced far differing service and value at many different types of businesses, restaurants and hotels included.
Granted this is a high-traffic year-round tourist destination, and certain businesses may mistakenly believe that repeat business is not as essential as it is in any-town USA, but in the age of on-line reviews this is dangerous thinking. In two of our experiences, these blatant “misses” were so obvious that even my kids were surprised. They had words to say both to me and in online review sites for these businesses.
The bottom line is this: Service and value are the cornerstone of your business image and reputation! Every customer has expectations that are either met, exceeded or fall short. The first line of “offense” is of course your staff. Train them well and train daily in the finer points of paramount service and then as owner or manager, personally audit your service and value equation on a regular basis.
Listen as my youngest daughter tells all about her reasonable expectations, disappointments, excitement and satisfaction from a few of our different experiences in Jackson Hole.
Give this episode a listen then go out there and Rock Your Restaurant!
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EPISODE #101 TRANSCRIPTION
[Start of Transcript]
You’re tuned in to the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast. Powerful ideas to rock your restaurant, here's your Host Roger Beaudoin.
Welcome back to The Restaurant Rockstars Podcast. You know to absolute essential in this business are providing true value and what I call Paramount Service to your customers each and every customer regardless of your concept or your price point. It should be an operating philosophy, part of your mission statement and a point of pride for your entire team to treat each and every guest like they're your most important guest.
Unfortunately, this approach is not the norm when I visit restaurants or businesses there any type where I live or where I travel. This past weekend my daughter had a ski race in Jackson Hole Wyoming, it's a 5hour drive for us; we selected a hotel well in advance at the base of the slopes partly for the convenience but mostly because of the heated outdoor pool which is a must for my kids, I enjoy this amenity as well.
Now, Jackson Wyoming is one of the world's great ski destinations and as one would expect, it obviously attracts a sophisticated well-traveled and well-heeled clientele. But really the local population of regular hardworking folk, families and ski bums are the backbone of the community. Now listen and learn as our experiences differed at a variety of businesses resort hotel, hit modern motel, high end restaurants, Chinese takeout the local bagel shop and a bowling alley.
The lessons learned are the same regardless of the price on your menu or the service provided, hospitality is either present or noticeably absent.
Your operations reputation, your online reviews and ultimate success are dependent on providing true value for price paid with paramount customer service. This is what brings customers back again and again, delivers 5-star reviews and has customers singing your praises there is no more powerful and cost effective marketing on the planet, listen up!
Rockstars let me introduce my daughter Maddy who at a very young age has a really great understanding of both value and service. This is her take on our experiences in Jackson. So Maddy, what happened when we arrived at our hotel?
Maddy: We checked in and we went to our room, it was a little outdated and kind of you know old and so we weren’t totally hooked on it. But so, we decided to go to lunch. We were hungry after the long drive; so we went to lunch and we sat down and the lady came and took me and my sister's orders but forgot about my Dad.
She walked away like just like he was invisible and then came back with a lame apology just explaining that, “Sorry about forgetting your order”
Roger: So how was the food?
Maddy: The food was OK but the only thing was that...
Roger: We were treated like just any other customer right? Nothing special?
Maddy: Yeah, nothing really special, wasn’t the greatest lunch experience ever but the food was good and the price was good so it was a reasonable lunch.
Roger: Awesome! So what did you want to do next?
Maddy: We wanted to go to the pool, that was the main reason that we came to the hotel.
Roger: OK, so we went out to the pool, what did you see?
Maddy: Well, we saw the pool, wasn't anything special, just kind of around with like one little net, there was no towels on the towel rack and my Dad was like, “OK, I'm going to go up to the room to get towels. But first you better feel the pool to make sure because there was no steam coming off the water”
Roger: Exactly! So you tested the water and what was it?
Maddy: It was ice cold!
Roger: Freezing water actually, so it's a really good thing that you didn't you guys didn't just jump in like you usually do because you would it came shooting out of there like a cannon right?
Maddy: Yeah, that would have been true and so we decided to go and find out what the deal was. So, we went to the front desk and asked the lady. She shrugged her shoulders saying, “I don't know it's probably going to be done by tomorrow but we're not really sure, they're working on it”
Roger: So oh no, there was no heated pool, I mean again you said that was the reason why we picked this hotel, we needed a pool. So, then what did we do?
Maddy: So, we decided we will go to another place where my sister's team are staying and will check it out.
Roger: OK so it was a motel not a hotel but you actually called this place right? You asked them a couple things, what did you ask them?
Maddy: First of course, I asked them if they had a pool that was a definite need and they get they said there was really big and really warm.
Roger: Then what did you ask them?
Maddy: Then I asked them if they had a room for two nights and they sounded really friendly and said, “Yes come and check it out”
Roger: Awesome so we checked out of our hotel went to this motel and how did the place looked from the outside?
Maddy: From the outside, it looked really cool and the lobby the guy was hip and really cool and told us everything about the hotel info and where to park. And said if we need anything, to give him a call and he would take care of it all right?
Roger: So good I mean that's what he said, he said, “Give me a call, I'll take care of any of your needs; let me know if anything isn’t to your expectations” I'm like wow that is so great so what do you think of the rooms Maddy?
Maddy: The room was beautiful and had a buffalo mirror behind the bed and a cool chalkboard word search that explained words of Jackson Hall.
Roger: That was fun right? The first thing we did was he grabbed the chalk and we started finding the words you know everything about Grand Teton National Park and all the cool stuff that we'd see in Jackson and that was a really cool touch. How were the beds?
Maddy: The beds were really cone contemporary and you could just sink into them and they're really comfy.
Roger: Yeah, they were really comfortable beds.
Maddy: Alright let's move on Dad! So, we went to dinner that night how was the service?
Roger: So as you know, we went to three different places, the first place we couldn't even get into the parking lot it was so packed so we just turned around and kept moving. So, we went to two more places and everywhere we went they told us the wait is about an hour. But finally we found a restaurant that would take us in 10minutes or so and they said they'd see this at the Pizza Bar Now that was really cool because we used to have this wood fired pizzeria back in Maine right and we could sit there and watch the pizza makers so that was great.
And they only had one size 12inch pizzas just like we did but the big difference was, they were twice as expensive. We used to charge what $13-$15 for specialty pizzas. But here the prices were double but I did really enjoy my rubella salad with shaved Parmesan. What did you and your sister order Maddy?
Maddy: We ordered spaghetti and meatballs.
Roger: How did the spaghetti meatballs taste?
Maddy: They tasted fine but that wasn't the problem, the problem came in when my Dad saw the bill. $40 for me and my sister's dinner? It was only spaghetti meatballs, that was ridiculous!
Roger: OMG! I was like blown off my stool right? It was crazy. So obviously, I needed to speak to the Manager again you said it $20 portion for a kid's spaghetti and meatballs. Nothing else, no fruit, no vegetable to accompany it; just a plate of spaghetti.
So, I just had to say that you know I've eaten all over the world but never ever have I seen a kid's portion of spaghetti for twenty bucks. I know your food cost on that portion, I get this is Jackson Hall but how can you justify charging this much for a kid's meal?
The Manager was pretty cool though I have to say he was accommodating and he thanked me for bringing this to his attention. But was this really the first time a customer complained about the lack of value here, so to me this was a real blatant negative against both the service and value of this restaurant. So, next morning where did we go for breakfast?
Maddy: We went to a really cool bagel shop right next to our motel that was convenient. We went inside and got in line. When it was our turn, we ordered our food and started waiting for our food they made it right in front you.
The people are nice, guy their order right the first time if they do the simple but delicious and with a good price. The place got filled up quick; everyone got great service and great food.
Roger: Yeah, there's no wonder why there are lines out the door there so we went back the next day and we had we just had to go back but we went a little earlier to avoid the crowd. So, how about dinner Saturday night what happened there?
Maddy: That night for dinner we decided to order takeout Chinese restaurants I wanted orange chicken I googled it and called the place asking if they had it?
Roger: You absolutely love orange chicken so that was a must but ironically that place the Chinese restaurant was right next to the motel so I was able to just walk over there in place my order so I walked in and the owner took my order and I asked for orange chicken with vegetables because I always want you guys to eat healthy OK. But the owner was really rude to me, he said, “No! That's two orders. Wow! I was really surprised because whenever I go to a Thai or a Chinese place, usually they're pretty accommodating even if you have to pay extra you know for the veggies.
But interestingly, the restaurant was totally empty except for just one other customer sitting at a booth, it's Saturday night at 6:30, there's only one customer in the place. Maybe there was something to this rude owner thing.
Maddy: My Dad brought the food back to our motel and it was good, after we ate, I decided to look at reviews and most of them were terrible.
For a while, I didn't get why they were so bad but then the next day, my Dad told me about how rude the owner was and I understood.
Roger: Yes, many of the complaints online talked about the owner not only being rude but then tacking on the 16% automatic gratuity even though the service was bad in 90% of the cases. So, this probably happens there based on my experience with the owner.
So there you have it folks, my kids and I had several other experiences this weekend at gas stations, convenience stores, retail shops and even a bowling alley.
Now, I'm not going to go into any more details because of the interest your time. But the flame fact is service and value really very dramatically all over town. So, here's the bottom line train your staff to put themselves in the customer's shoes, treat everyone like they want to be treated like they're the best customer in the business and make sure your pricing offers true value and respect for each customer's business and don't forget to take it from the expert.
Maddy: You better give great service at a good price because I might be your next customer.
Roger: Look out guys, Maddy's coming!
Thanks for listening to The Restaurant's Rockstars Podcast. For lots of great resources, head over to restaurantrockstars.com and while you're there, download a copy of the book, ‘Rock Your Restaurant’ it’s a game changer, See you next time!
[End of Transcript]