I find myself dining more and more often in fast-casual restaurants as opposed to ones that offers full service (and I use that term loosely). Why? As well as being more in command of the timing of my experience, I find the amount of hospitality in many fast-casual chains equal to or better than many of the casual full-service restaurants – for less money. Exactlty what can you learn from a CASE (copy and steal everything) study of today’s successful concepts? Think hospitality instead of service.
On a recent holiday to Pei Wei, PF Chang’s fast-casual concept, using a colleague of mine (his first time to enjoy there), he was impressed with all the friendly food delivery and provide to have drink refills for people. Drink refills? Most of us could offer that little dose of hospitality within our restaurants. Heck, at many full-service restaurants today, you’re lucky if you get a refill in a timely manner. Will that develop your sales? Certainly!
The Golden Corral inside my neighborhood features a very Cheers-like atmosphere, where the guests request specific servers as well as the managers are out front and manage to know everyone. Wonder why they continue to build sales and have long lines? The guests possess a better experience for less coin. You have the capacity to create an event such as these in your building too–should you move out front.
Leave your kitchen tiles and spread some smiles working the guests’ tiles. Get on the opposite side from the counter and view your guests’ meals. Inject some hospitality in your restaurant. Why do you think a lot of people go through the drive-through? They might not need ahead inside. Develop a better experience and they’ll be lining up. Studies have shown that dine-in guests spend more money, so provide them with a good reason ahead on in!
Hospitality Rally – Add a dose of hospitality to your pre-shift meetings. Teach your men and women to communicate with your diners–and this starts with you. It takes no more time and costs forget about money for someone pre-bussing a table to smile, discover how the meal is, and discover should they need everything else. Your rally should focus on how the interactions happen, not on a number of steps and tasks the guest doesn’t worry about.
A recently available trip through my local Chick-fil-A drive-through opened my eyes for the distinction between service and hospitality. I ordered a big drink and pulled around towards the window. The attendant passed us a straw and informed me the entire was $1.29. I gave her the money, and she joked that was simply for the straw–the soda was yet another $1.29. A bit laugh from someone jblstb her job and showing it to the guests. Services are filling the requirement–if so, the need being “I’m thirsty”–and can be delivered by a vending machine or a variety of places. Hospitality, though, is unique. It happens through people. My family dines at Pei Wei menu frequently with this very reason. How will you have the transition inside your restaurant?
Cashiers, phone, and drive through. A good rule of thumb would be to greet the guest by name. In the event you don’t recognize them, their name is Welcome. Start their experience off on the right foot. Positive, reassuring responses such as “great choice,” “that’s my favorite,” “it’s our most favored items,” “which goes well with ___” will make sure the guest feels good about their order. Simply replace the nod, non-acknowledgement, or “okay” with eye contact along with a positive response. Watch the sales add up.