I find myself dining more and more often in fast-casual restaurants instead of ones that provides full service (and I use that term loosely). Why? As well as being more in charge 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. What else could you study from a CASE (copy and steal everything) study of today’s successful concepts? Think hospitality instead of service.
Over a recent visit to Pei Wei hours, PF Chang’s fast-casual concept, having a colleague of mine (his first-time to enjoy there), he was impressed using the friendly food delivery and provide to obtain drink refills for all of us. Drink refills? Most of us could offer that little dose of hospitality inside our restaurants. Heck, at most full-service restaurants today, you’re lucky if you get a refill in a timely manner. Will that build your sales? Certainly!
The Golden Corral in my neighborhood features a very Cheers-like atmosphere, where guests request specific servers and also the managers are out front and seem to know everyone. Wonder why they continue to build sales and possess long lines? The guests have a better experience for less coin. You are able to create an event like these within your building too–should you move out front.
Jump off the kitchen tiles and spread some smiles working the guests’ tiles. Get on the other side of the counter and view your guests’ meals. Inject some hospitality into your restaurant. Why you think so many people browse through the drive-through? They might not need to come inside. Produce a better experience and they’ll be lining up. Studies show that dine-in guests spend more, so provide them with a reason to come on in!
Hospitality Rally – Give a dose of hospitality for your pre-shift meetings. Teach your people to interact with your diners–which begins with you. It takes no longer time and costs no more money for a person pre-bussing a table to smile, learn how the meal is, and see should they need other things. Your rally should focus on how the interactions happen, not on several steps and tasks the guest doesn’t care about.
A recent trip through my local Chick-fil-A drive-through opened my eyes for the distinction between service and hospitality. I ordered a large drink and pulled around towards the window. The attendant passed me a straw and explained the total was $1.29. I gave her the cash, and she joked which was only for the straw–the soda was an extra $1.29. A little laugh from someone jblstb her job and showing it for the guests. Services are filling the necessity–if so, the need being “I’m thirsty”–and may be delivered by way of a vending machine or a variety of places. Hospitality, though, is unique. It takes place through people. Our kids dines at Pei Wei menu with prices frequently for this particular very reason. How will you have the transition in your restaurant?
Cashiers, phone, and drive through. An excellent guideline would be to greet the guest by name. Should you don’t recognize them, their name is Welcome. Start their experience off on the right foot. Positive, reassuring responses like “great choice,” “that’s my personal favorite,” “it’s one of our most popular items,” “which also goes well with ___” will ensure 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 mount up.