The Harvard Review claims that customers who had great experiences in the past with a company will spend 140% more compared to people who had poor experiences. Clearly, there is a correlation between the quality of the experience and revenue, which also holds true in the hospitality industry. The Hospitality Industry Should Be More About Hospitality and Less about Industry.
“To entertain a guest is to be answerable for his happiness so long as he is beneath your roof.” — Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1825
By its very definition, the word hospitality implies a great experience. The definition of hospitality is “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. So, it’s not just about receiving guests and sending them up to their rooms, or food to eat. It’s not just about taking their money – to borrow the words of Sarah Miller.
In fact, the concept of money isn’t even mentioned because hospitality is about welcoming people and making them feel good. Yes, it is also an industry – which means money has to be made, but the core concept shouldn’t have changed; otherwise, why call it the hospitality industry and not the lodging industry?
While we may all know not to judge a book by its cover, there are a few instances when presentation really does matter. In the hotel industry, polished presentation is vital to success. Everything about your property will be evaluated through photographs and reviews before a guest even decides to purchase a room.
If your rooms look out of date, your lobby is dirty or your restaurant looks cramped, guests will make an initial judgment about your property that will not be in your favour. The same applies to the hotel staff, too. They must look professional and presentable, because they are an integral part of the property – according to Hotelogix.
Hotelogix points out that though some hotels might be too busy managing their property with no time left for training and grooming of their staff, you should know that the appearance of your staff is just as important as choosing the right property management software or creating a revenue plan. When it comes to your staff’s demeanour, uniform and personal grooming habits, employees should follow a strict dress code so they can be the face of the hotel. It can make or break the impression of your hotel.
The physical appearance of your hotel staff helps to maintain your overall appearance, but the way they act also contributes to the hotel’s reputation. Employees should be encouraged to report for duty five to 10 minutes before their shift starts, and to always treat guests with respect.
Outline a code of conduct that employees must follow. As a hotelier, you should be constantly incentivising your employees to perform better. Those who receive high praise from guests or continually meet or exceed expectations should be rewarded for their efforts.
Make sure your property puts its best foot forward for guests, from the physical property down to the employees working in it.
While grooming requirements will vary between men and women, it is important that both look clean and presentable while they are on the clock. Make sure all your employees know the dress code, and provide them with a clear outline of what is expected.
Give guidelines for both men and women that dictate appropriate hairstyles, accessories and shoes. You may even get as detailed as outlining nail-polish colours, the appropriate amount of make-up for women, or asking employees to wear deodorant.
Attributes of Remarkable Service:
- Is welcoming, friendly and courteous • Is consistent
- Is knowledgeable • Is efficient
- Communicates effectively • Instils trust
- Exceeds expectations • Is flexible
- Is well-timed
We will take these attributes of remarkable service above one after the other to discuss in this month of February.
“You only have one chance to make a good first impression” has become the mantra for quality-oriented service businesses. In the restaurant business, judgments that can alter the entire dining experience are made by guests within minutes of their arrival. A good server never forgets this oft-quoted but still valid adage.
When a restaurant—including the physical plant, decor, furnishings, equipment, and staff—presents a clean and neat appearance, it banishes any worries guests might have about sanitary conditions in the part of the restaurant they can’t see, the kitchen. Even a single grease stain on the carpet, a crumb on a chair, or a spot on the wall can turn guests off about the meal they came expecting to enjoy. Stubbed-out cigarette butts on the sidewalk or dirty windows send a very powerful negative message to would-be customers.
Remarkable Service is Welcoming, Friendly, and Courteous
A warm, friendly welcome assures guests that they can relax and enjoy their meal. By the same token, a warm good-bye makes guests feel appreciated and encouraged to return.
Good servers are sensitive to guests’ needs, not only as to the dishes served but also in terms of the entire dining experience. Few guests come to a restaurant to chat with the service staff; most want to converse with their companions.
Regular customers may develop an informal relationship with the staff; some may even think of the restaurant as their second dining room or home away from home. Good manners, smooth social interactions subconsciously inform people that they have nothing to fear. Courteous behaviour creates an atmosphere of comfort, so guests know what to expect.
Remarkable Service is Knowledgeable
Guests often request information about menu items or wines. Servers who are knowledgeable about the menu (ingredients and preparation of the menu items, presentation, wines, and the like) can provide the help they need to order from the menu and the wine list. Servers can—and should—list specials of the day and other dishes not on the menu to help guests make informed decisions about their meal. Guests cannot order dishes they don’t know exist.
A remarkable server not only has to know how to answer the guest’s question but also must guess what the guest really wishes to find out. For example, a guest asks what is in the spinach-and-goat-cheese quiche. While the server could reply “Spinach and goat cheese”, which is technically accurate, it is far from hospitable and doesn’t tell the customer what he wants to know – which is probably if there is garlic or onion in the quiche. The server should tell the guest what else is in the dish, especially if there is garlic or onion or nuts, which some customers have allergies or aversions to.
Remarkable Service is Efficient
Efficiency is important to servers and the restaurant for obvious reasons; for one, more work can be done (and more money made) with less effort. And when guests see the servers working quickly, smoothly and easily, they feel at ease. Disorganisation and unseemly haste are contagious.
Inefficient technique wastes everybody’s time. It interrupts the flow of the meal and erodes the environment of trust. Attention to the place (having everything in its place), an intelligent economy of motion, and a cooperative attitude all make the server’s job easier to perform.
Remarkable Service is Well-Timed
Remarkable servers anticipate the dining needs of guests. This means providing just the right items or services before the guests even realise they need them. Orders should be taken within a reasonable time after the guests are seated and have had time to peruse the menu. Cutlery should be in place before the guest needs it; nothing is more frustrating for a guest than to look at dessert and not have a fork or spoon to eat it with.
Guests should not have to wait a long time between courses. Careful timing for the delivery of each course ensures that guests will get their food while it is at its freshest and at its ideal temperature. Guests should not have to ask for refills of water or iced tea, bread or butter.
Coffee should not sit cooling in front of the guests while they wait for cream and sugar to be brought to the table. Cream and sugar should precede the coffee or tea. The cheque should be delivered smoothly, quietly and unobtrusively, when the guests have finished and indicated that they are ready to pay.
Guests should never be made to feel rushed. However, when guests are in a hurry—when they need to be in theatre seats by curtain time, for example, or when they are travelling—whatever is needed to pace the meal should be done so that the guests can enjoy their meal in the time at their disposal.
- Guests should not have to ask for refills of water or iced tea, bread or butter.
- Coffee should not sit cooling in front of the guests while they wait for cream and sugar to be brought to the table. Cream and sugar should precede the coffee or tea.
- The cheque should be delivered smoothly, quietly and unobtrusively, when the guests have finished and indicated that they are ready to pay.
- Guests should never be made to feel rushed. However, when guests are in a hurry—when they need to be in theatre seats by curtain time, for example, or when they are travelling—whatever is needed to pace the meal should be done so that the guests can enjoy their meal in the time at their disposal.
We will look at the second part next week, giving more attention to the hospitality industry this month of February. Until then, let us still process Kaizen and Execution.
Reference: the-nine-basic-principles-of-hospitality-and-service | 13.RemServ•01•Final..
Walid Zoobi & Daniel Adjei | Management Consultants | D.W & Associates| [email protected] |