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Have you ever been totally blown away by the level of customer service you have received? An experience so good, that you felt compelled to tell someone, so good, that you start to question why you’ve accepted such inferior service from so many others up until now?

If you take a moment to analyse it, you’ll soon realise that all they did was their job! Only to the highest standard and the difference, are you ready? Interest. They were simply interested in the other person having a great experience. The employee didn’t have to work any harder, cover any more steps or even study more – they simply cared. Cared about their guest, their employer, their brand and their personal reputation.

The next time you receive average service you might think that person doesn’t care, but they might not even know that they’re providing average service.

Now this might be a little controversial, but maybe it’s the business that doesn’t care (enough). I don’t accept that it’s hard to recruit the right people. Sure it’s got a lot to do with hiring the right people, but then it also has a lot to do with a great induction and  more importantly ‘better’ training. You reap what you sow. The business owner, the Ops Director and the People Director are as responsible for the guest experience as the person on the front line. So how important is the guest experience to you? How badly do you want to be known as the best in the area?

How can a business help ensure every guest receives not just good service but exceptional service? Consider this one thing at every stage of your guest journey, ‘What does ‘next level’ look like?’ Because there’s always a ‘next level’.

Here’s a simple everyday example,

1.      Hi guys, table for two? Awful

2.      Good afternoon, how can I help you? Average

3.      Good afternoon, how are you today? Good

4.      Good afternoon, how are you? How’s your day going? Next level!

The difference? Just interest. Interest in providing service that’s so good, it’s both surprising and delighting! Kind, thoughtful, authentic service, which is still quite rare and yet the solution to improved guest experiences, loyalty and sales. Something desperately needed these days with spiralling food and labour costs.

To achieve such consistency requires an uncompromising level of discipline that is best achieved through agreed ‘steps of service’. Steps of service are not a process that dictates ‘what’ to do and ‘when’ to do it. On the contrary it's a framework, a guide, a set of opportunities to engage the guest. An opportunity to inspire, impress and show a guest that they're about to have a great experience. A process that once explained and demonstrated internally provides the ‘how’ and ‘why’, which always trumps the ‘what’ and ‘when’. 

Experienced servers don't want to be told what to do and when to do it and Gen Z certainly don't want to be told what to do and when to do it.

Hospitality is about providing memorable experiences whatever and wherever you choose to eat, drink, or sleep. Whatever your taste, the one thing we all have in common is the desire to be treated with respect and courtesy in a warm, friendly manner.

Here’s how we move from transactional to memorable, from service to hospitality in few recognisable steps…

  • Operators need to discover if an arriving guest has a reservation but asking them how they are and how their days been is far more thoughtful and welcoming. 

  • Establishing if a guest has an allergy is obviously important, but dare I say not as important as pouring the first glass of water and pointing out your favourite dish.

  • Repeating the order is arguably one of the most critical things to do to avoid unnecessary mistakes, yet endorsing a guest's order or recommending a specific dish to make the experience even better is sure to make a guest feel valued and appreciated.

  • Announcing the dish as you arrive at a table is certainly professional and necessary, but pointing out ingredients of interest or suggesting a certain glass of wine shows genuine interest in their experience.

  • Selling desserts is important to increase the average spend but why do 80% of servers ask guests if they would like to see the dessert menu as they're clearing their dirty plates? Why, why, why? When it's so easy to clear the table, wipe it, read the guest’s body language and approach with a smile, handing an open dessert menu into the hands of each guest.

  • Delivering the bill is obligatory, but thanking the guest and recommending other dishes to try next time they visit shows we've enjoyed having them look forward to serving them again.

Service might give guests what they need, but hospitality gives guests what they want.

It’s time to focus your team’s attention on engaging every guest, at every opportunity and taking your customer service to the ‘next level’ - it really is easier that you might think. For more insight and inspiration to take your service to the ‘next level’, get in touch.  


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