Throw your comment cards away, they suck. You only need one question to tell you everything you need to know about your restaurant or business.
🤓 Just a heads up, this post is super geeky
I’ve designed hundreds of guest feedback and measurement programs over the last 12 years. Have completed thousands of mystery shopping valuations all over the world and implemented customer feedback systems that all deliver powerful and actionable insight.
With the pivot that has been required in the last several months from restaurants capturing guest feedback and brand loyalty is critically important. I’ve been noticing a trend of 25+ question common cards that provide little to no unbias feedback. The only people that are going to fill out a 20 question come and card or pissed off people. There is a much simpler way to get a pulse on the restaurant (or business). It’s called the net promoter score.
➡️ What is Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a guest feedback, that among other things, measures how likely your customers are to recommend your business to a friend. Net Promoter Score for restaurants and hospitality businesses offers a way to evaluate and improve customer loyalty. It is different from other feedback options as it measures a guests overall sentiment about a brand, giving a much more holistic sense of a guest’s perception. The Net Promoter Score is a tried and tested scientific method that is widely utilized in many industries.
Net Promoter Score Methodology
It all comes down to one question, which is:
👉🏼 On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?
As you would expect the customer can only select one answer, and these answers can fall into one of three categories
☑️ Promoters – Customers who answer the question with a 9 – 10
☑️ Passives – Customers who answer the question with a 7 – 8
☑️ Detractors – Customers who answer the question with a 0 – 6
It is fairly obvious what the intentions of these categories of customers is, see below
* Promoters – Enthusiastic and Loyal Customers who will tell their friends about your business and bring in new customers
* Passives – Indifferent and could become promoters, or they could switch to the competition
* Detractors – Unhappy customers, who you risk losing as customers and worse again could damage your business by sharing their bad experience
📌 Calculating Net Promoter Score
To get an overall Net Promoter Score for your business you simply subtract the percentage of detractors (customers who wouldn’t recommend you) from the percentage of promoters (customers who would recommend you).
Passive responses are left out of this equation as they are regarded as neutral, and therefore not likely to give a review, good or bad.
For example, if you surveyed 100 people and 55 were promoters and 15 were detractors you would have a net promoter score of 40. The higher the net promoter score for restaurants and hospitality businesses, the better the customer experience has been for your customers.
NPS = % of Promoters minus the % of Detractors
Benefits of Net Promoter Score for Restaurants, Bars, and Hotels
* identify your Champions
* Provides a big picture view of Customer Experience
* Quick, Straightforward, and Inexpensive
* A measure of Customer Loyalty
* Generate Positive Online Reviews
Drawbacks of NPS for Restaurants and Hospitality
* Not Specific Enough – Only one open question not enough to find out why customers could be detractors
* Next Steps Needed – Capturing NPS on its own is ineffective unless you have a follow-up plan
* Data Needed – A method of contacting customers is needed. Can be difficult to ask when they are in the restaurant, bar, or hotel. ￼
I can talk about gas feedback solutions and net promoter program set up for days. If anybody has any questions shoot me a message.￼￼
Moving past robotic service
Everyone provides service: everyone has their 12 steps of service that include all the transactional lists most people (restaurant managers included) come up with to answer the question:
“what does good service look like.”
This is the wrong question.
The right question (for those who have the fundamentals down) is how do you move beyond service to provide Hospitality.
The answer is to engage each Guest in a personal and meaningful way.
One that adds value to their lives in such a way that it cannot be duplicated or usurped anywhere else.
That means you have to have two things:
✅ 1. engaging personalities serving your Guests.
✅ 2. processes that help them gain and use knowledge about each Guest to personalize each experience.
If all you have is: “Hi. My name is Sally and I’ll be your server today.” You’ve lost. 🪦
The Difference Between 'Service' And 'Hospitality
‼️No, it’s not semantics, they are not the same. ‼️
This is a super common scenario and question, I’d like my restaurant (or any other service focused business) to provide great customer service, but staffers don’t seem to grasp the concept. Can it be taught?
Answer: “The most important thing you can do is make the distinction between customer service and guest hospitality. You need both things to thrive, but they are completely different. Customer service entails getting the right food to the right person at the right time. Hospitality is the degree to which your customers feel that your staff is on their side.” ~ Danny Meyer
While I’m a huge fan of Meyer’s work, I feel he misses the point to a degree important enough to talk about here:
1. Service is the technical delivery of food & beverage to a guest.
2. Hospitality is the emotional connection made by the entirety of the guest experience.
3. Restaurants have guests, Walmart has customers. Big difference.
4. ‘Sides’ denotes winners & losers. Real hospitality exists when people trust you enough to not care about either.
If you focus on just #1 above, you become transactional in your service delivery (and overall experience) and fail to make the emotional connection necessary to derive real, organic loyalty.
Being technically proficient is an important fundamental to master but the degree of hospitality necessary to add meaningfully differentiated value is much, much higher. This is where most operators miss the boat. They think that being technically proficient is good enough.
👉🏼 Nothing could be further from the truth.
You have to personalize each guest experience enough that guests believe and trust in you to the point of entrusting their happiness to you. A guest experience is/should be an emotional one. Tapping into the guest’s emotions is the only way to cement yourself in their psyche to the point of creating not only a remarkable and memorable experience for them, but garnering their loyalty as well (real, organic loyalty, not the frequency scheme type 95% of operators focus on).
You have to stop 🚫 doing two things. Negotiating and Contesting everything.
A guest shouldn’t have to negotiate to be provided either the best service or hospitality. They don’t care if you’re shorthanded or the Chef just quit or any other fact which advertises the fact that you can’t manage your business. Are you open for business? Then act accordingly.
Likewise with Contests (for either guests or staff). Overt contests with staff, like highest PPA and such, do nothing but create losers. All of your efforts should be about rewarding behaviors – up and down the spectrum, not just the top.
🎙 (We will be doing a podcast that focuses on contesting this week on Restaurant AF)
The same can be said of contests you put guests through. Far too many of these on Facebook, “Like us to have a chance to win a massage,” or some such nonsense.
These contests don’t work because they create one winner and tons of losers – not a great loyalty enhancer if you really think about it.
The same goes for guests sitting in your dining room who see you treat one guest best than you do all of them.
🔥 Why do we offer new guests the world and ignore the ones who have been in our dining rooms forever?
Why do we offer prizes to guests whose experience we mess up but ignore the guests right next to them?
Think about it then look at what you’re doing.
🔥✅ Joseph Orellana & I are starting a new podcast Restaurantaf Podcast with episodes a few times a week that run around 15-20 minutes each.
Let us know if we should cover something that is important to you! Stay safe ❤️
Cardinal Service Sins. Back to basics - Part 1
In 2003 while living in New York I had the opportunity to have dinner at Le Bernardin. This single dining experience showed me what the meaning of service and hospitality we’re all about.
A few years later Chef Eric Ripert published a book called “On the line: Inside The World of Le Bernardin and Inside the book, there were a couple of pages that outlined the philosophy the restaurant had about guest service and what a dining experience could be. It provided a list of “cardinal sins of service” that is given to every new server and front of house member at New York’s famed Le Bernardin.
Sometimes it’s important to go back to service basics and remember what it’s all about - to deliver a great experience for the guest. The original list is nearly 150 items and over the years I’ve added probably 75 more that I believe make it more modern and relevant in 2020 (and in the times of Covid-19)
I’ll break the list up into groups of 50 and post it every day or so. If I missing anything, please leave a comment or shoot me a message.
In no particular order #1-50
1. Not acknowledging guests with eye contact and a smile within 30 seconds. First impressions count!
2. Not thanking the guests as they leave. Last impression!
3. Not remembering the guests’ likes and dislikes!
4. Not opening the front door for guests.
5. Silverware set askew on the tables.
6. Tabletop that isn’t picture perfect.
7. Forks with bent tines.
8. Unevenly folded napkins.
9. Chipped glassware.
10. Tables not completely set when guests are being seated.
11. Dead or wilted flowers on the tables.
12. Tables that are not leveled.
13. Salt and half-empty pepper shakers.
14. Salt or sugar-crusted inside the shakers.
15. Carelessly placed items on the tables.
16. Table linen with small holes, rips, or burns.
17. Clutter or junk. Watch the trays, gueridons, etc.
18. Pictures on walls not leveled.
19. Tables not properly cleared.
20. Burned-out lightbulbs.
21. Clattering dishes. Be quiet!
22. Dropping china, silverware, or glassware.
23. Murky or smelly water in flower vases.
24. Wobbly tables or chairs.
25. Broken chairs.
26. Needing to be the center of attention. Give the ego a break!
27. An “I’m doing you a favor” attitude.
28. Socializing with certain guests while ignoring others!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
29. Being too familiar or excessively chatty.
30. Having a visible reaction to the amount of the tip.
31. Ignoring obvious attempts to get attention.
32. Making light of a guest’s complaint.
33. No sense of humor.
34. Orders that arrive incomplete.
35. Not acknowledging guests as soon as they’re seated.
36. Not providing service to tables in order of their arrival.
37. Wrong pacing: meal service too fast or too slow.
38. Not providing a place for meal debris—e.g., shells!
39. Food sitting visible on gueridon.
40. Necessary condiments that don’t arrive with food.
41. Lack of eye contact.
42. Talking to the order pad.
43. Not repeating each item as the guest orders.
44. Not naming each item as you serve.
45. Addressing the woman as “the lady.” (Times are changing!)
46. Thumbs on the plate during service.
47. Stacking or scraping dishes in front of guests.
48. Approaching a table with another table’s dirty dishes.
49. Entering the guests’ conversation without invitation.
50. Interrupting or asking questions while a guest’s mouth is full.
After seeing social media post began to circulate again with empty store shelves it really got me thinking, what in the hell is going on with this toilet paper shortage and are people really hoarding roll after roll. ￼
👉🏼 I spent entirely too much of my time the last couple days thinking about toilet paper and trying to figure this out. I think I got a pretty good hypothesis. ￼￼ sorry for the length, it’s just not as simple as people being insensitive asshole hoarders. ￼
The great toilet paper shortage of 2020
Around the world, in countries afflicted with the coronavirus, stores are sold out of toilet paper. Target, Walmart, shop ‘n save, from coast to coast are bare and empty with pictures usually of one lonely damage roll on feet and feet of empty shelving.
And we all know who to blame: hoarders and panic-buyers 😡
Well, not so fast.
Story after story explains the toilet paper outages as a sort of fluke of consumer irrationality. Unlike hand sanitizer, N95 masks, or hospital ventilators, they say, toilet paper serves no special function in a pandemic. Toilet paper manufacturers are cranking out the same supply as always.
It has to be panic buying, hoarding, or just being an insensitive asshole.
I’m pretty certain that has to do with not using the washroom more but where you are using the washroom. Most of the country was on lockdown and spending a significant amount of more time at home. Spending more time at home they’re using more product.
Using more product will require purchasing larger quantities coupled with social media sensationalizing stories and the great paper shortage of 2020 is born.
Most outlets agreed that the spike in demand would be short-lived, subsiding as soon as the hoarders were satiated.
No doubt there’s been some panic-buying, particularly once photos of empty store shelves began circulating on social media. Social media tends to amplify smaller issues and make them seem the norm.
There’s another, entirely logical explanation for why stores have run out of toilet paper — one that has gone oddly overlooked by majority of media coverage. It has nothing to do with hoard and everything to do with supply chains. It helps to explain why stores are still having trouble keeping it in stock, months after they started limiting how many a customer could purchase. The product you buy at the grocery store has been steadily consumed at the same rate forever.
In short, the toilet paper industry is split into two, largely separate markets: commercial and consumer. The pandemic has shifted the lion’s share of demand to the latter. People actually do need to buy significantly more toilet paper during the pandemic — not because they’re making more trips to the bathroom, but because they’re making more of them at home. With the majority of U.S. population under stay-at-home orders, Americans are no longer using the restrooms at their workplace, in schools, at restaurants, at hotels, or in airport.
The average household will use 40% more toilet paper than usual (yes, I looked this percentage up) all of its members are staying home around the clock. That’s a huge leap in demand for a product whose supply chain is predicated on the assumption that demand is essentially constant.
If you’re looking for where all the toilet paper went, forget about people’s attics or hall closets. Think instead of all the toilet paper that normally goes to the commercial market — those office buildings, college campuses, Starbucks, and airports that are now either mostly empty or closed. That’s the toilet paper that’s suddenly going unused. Sitting in warehouses and store rooms sad and lonely 😒
So why can’t we just send that toilet paper to Walmart or CVS? That’s where supply chains and distribution channels come in.
it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. It’s a different product entirely.
Talk to anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you the toilet paper made for the commercial market is a fundamentally different product from the toilet paper you buy in the store. It comes in huge rolls, too big to fit on most home dispensers. The paper itself is thinner and more utilitarian. It comes individually wrapped and is shipped on huge pallets, rather than in brightly branded packs of six or 12. commercial paper is basically rough sandpaper that the home consumer would never purchase. It’s sh**. (No pun intended)
It’s just not the same product. Shifting to retail channels would require new relationships and contracts between suppliers, distributors, and stores; different formats for packaging and shipping; new trucking routes — all for a bulky product with lean profit margins.
There’s just not a lot of money in toilet paper. For these manufacturers that aren’t making a ton of money off toilet paper as a product line in general, it’s just not in their best interest to completely retool factories for a temporary spike. We are living in COVID and is consuming our lives but on the scale and span of time it’s only going be a year and a half.
Because toilet paper is high volume but low value, the industry runs on extreme efficiency, with mills built to work at full capacity around the clock even in normal times. That works only because demand is typically so steady. If toilet paper manufacturers spend a bunch of money now to refocus on the retail channel, they’ll face the same problem in reverse once people head back to work again and office buildings and airports are packed.
The same can be said with kegs of beer going unsold and shortages and bottled beer. It takes a lot of logistics to convert product that is earmarked for one sector to be retooled for another.
so while it’s super easy to blame the panic hoarding asshole insensitive consumer that’s clearing the toilet paper isles. It’s just not the case. Everyone is doing the best they can and trying to adjust as quick as they can.
Taking pictures and posting on social media really is not doing anything but creating panic and anxiety in peoples lives.
So that’s the theory on the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. Stay safe and if you could, leave a roll on the shelf for the next guy or gal. ￼
The (REAL) Cost of On-Demand Food Delivery. In-House VS. 3rd Party Services
👉🏼 TLDR - to long didn’t read version
1. 30% and access to millions of potential customers a world class delivery and logistics infrastructure and your ability to focus on what you do best. Produce product.￼
2. Setting up an in-house delivery platform is a massive undertaking and the vast majority the time will end in lost revenue and a lot of wasted time. Quite simply you can’t execute a similar delivery platform for less than double the highest rate the apps in charge.￼
🔥Spoiler alert: It’s F’ing bargain at 30%🔥
Apps like Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, and DoorDash are charging restaurants 15 to 30 percent of customers’ tabs for every meal delivered. These 4 apps combined have control of 95% of the market.
Let me start by saying all the big delivery companies (even Instacart) do not profit from any delivered order. They lose money on every order even at a seemingly high rate of taking 30% of the sale. (which is another conversation entirely)
On-demand Delivery is the biggest profound switch in the restaurant business that I’ve ever seen. The available opportunities are pretty remarkable. The new customer reach and diversity that these companies are provide immediately is almost incomprehensible.￼ you are walking into millions of potential first time customers and only have to pay in orders are placed..￼
Some of my friends on Facebook remember back to a company that I founded in 2010 called GrubGo restaurant delivery service. At the time we were the second full-service on-demand delivery service in the Midwest. This was before Uber eats, Postmates, GrubHub, anybody.
While this post is not about the viability of a restaurant delivery services it is possible to meet profitability if they are located within densely populated areas with streamlined focus (578 Dine & Food Peddler are good example of well managed profitable local businesses)
These companies are asking only 30% for the complete fulfillment of your order. That is an absolute f’ing bargain. You’re getting an on-demand workforce that ONLY paid when they BRING you a new order. If that’s not magic I don’t know what is.
❌ DOING DELIVERIES IN-HOUSE ❌
The cost for an In-house delivery program would probably be in the 60 to 65% range, if not more. INSANELY EXPENSIVE. If you take delivery in-house, suddenly you are managing a business you know nothing about. It will end up costing you more than 30%. Promise.
There are constantly stories of restaurants and cities and states, going after on demand companies demanding they cut the fees to the end operator.
Drivers demanding a livable wage of $15, credit card processing fees, service fees, these costs do not begin to cover the cost of maintaining an on-demand order network.
- Go all-in with on-demand -
✅ Revise your menu focus on favorites, specialties, family-style type offerings
✅ Manage labor aggressively for business flux
✅ Attempt to get the best rate possible with on-demand services.
✅ Focus on marketing and value proposition
If I was an operation today I would focus all my energy and all my attention on the on-demand market.
✋🏼I can literally create a daily blog on this subject alone. There are so many variables and unique circumstances that come in to play. One size obviously does not at all. I’m speaking in generalities. If you have any questions or if we could be of any value, please don’t hesitate to reach out day or night. Best of luck as always have a safe weekend!
❌❌ COVID-19 FEE ❌❌
There’s a lot more to this question then should I add a fee or shouldn’t I. For the sake of time and simplicity we’ll keep it as simple as possible.￼￼
I received an @ not to long ago that asked something along the lines of this, With the cost of meat and supplies is going up as the pandemic rages on, who should foot the bill: restaurants or the guests?
‼️ That’s the wrong question to be asking. The real question is, how well do you know your numbers and how lazy are you?
New York City recently passed a bill that allows restaurants to add up to a 10% Covid-19 surcharge to each check. Ouch.
There’s no question that, for restaurants, the cost of doing business has increased amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Rising food prices, increased costs for to-go packaging, third-party delivery fees, protective gear for employees and more have all cut into already-dwindling margins.
What’s less clear, though, is how to make up for those increased costs. Raise menu prices? Cut staff? A number of restaurants are instead instituting COVID-19 surcharges on each check.
Answer: All the above. Whatever is necessary. The same thing you should’ve been doing since you opened.
✅ Labor- you always adjust your labor based on business levels. If you’re slower you need less staff. This should happen automatically every day regardless.
✅ Menu Cost- You should have a firm grasp on the costing of your menu and adjust based on market conditions, etc.￼
Let’s talk food cost & menu costing
There’s a huge misconception in regards to the cost of an item that is placed in front of you in a restaurant or deliver to your house.
You’re not just looking at the cost of the food alone. Factored into that $14.99 delicious mom‘s famous whatever is every other expense as well. Delivery cost and to-go infrastructure, supply price fluctuations, should be figured out and factored into the cost of the item.
Every year like clockwork certain items sometimes double or triple in cost. This is expected and this is planned for. We do not see a seasonal price adjustment % charge on the bottoms of checks. Those pricing fluctuations have already been factored into the price.
Any type of COVID-19 related price fluctuation in raw product such as chicken or vegetables🥬or to go containers needs to be factored into the end price on the menu. Period. It is an incredibly lazy approach to just add a blanket percentage and potentially piss off in alienate the few customers you have.
If you’re adding a blanket percentage I am willing to put money on the table that your costs are out of line and you really have no idea what your true cost of the item actually is are managing by Hope and prayers. Unfortunately hope and prayers hope and prayers are not the most effective management strategy
You have to know your numbers. You have to know how to cost out a menu. These are non-negotiable and you have to do it outside of the guests view.
◾️So the answer obviously the guest is going to end up paying the increased difference whatever that number is. You need to treat COVID-19 like any other major price disturbance and fluctuation in the industry. Adjust your pricing and be done with it. It really comes down to how lazy or not you are.￼
I really think we need to do a deep dive into food cost and costing out a menu. It’s not the most exciting aspect of the industry but it’s the most important aspect that determines success or failure.
You have to know your costs. Stay tune for menu cost fun.
Alright people, it’s been one heck of a last few months. Joseph Orellana and I will be launching RestaurantAF podcast this week.
Each episode is 15 to 20 minutes. Nobody wants to hear anybody talk longer than that. I really don’t
Such sexy fun operational topics will include,
✅ Food & beverage costing
✅ Menu design & architecture￼
✅ Overall restaurant marketing strategies living in the COVID 19 environment￼
✅ Nuts and bolts back to basics of operating a profitable operation.
✅ The boring nine sexy stuff that most people could only tolerate sports 15 minutes at most but is critically important to your success
Available on iTunes, Spotify￼￼, Google Podcasts, etc..
Stay tuned for more info and stay safe ️
Wayyyy to much talking & noise and not nearly enough listening.
The last few days I’ve seen Restaurants increased their attempted guest engagement numbers by frantically posting on social media with posts ranging anywhere from pleading for patronage to promoting dinner specials, and everything in between.
I have yet to see Posts asking how they could be a best service to the community and what they could do an offer to possibly secure their business.
Listening to the guest is critical especially in times of upheaval and confusion when what you think the guest wants quite possibly could be something completely different. If you were listening you would know chicken piccata à la cart is not top of mind, family style back to basic type meals is what people are clamoring for.
Imagine going to a dinner party and having everyone there talk about themselves. How long are you going to stay? Not long! Your business is about hospitality, not Walmart’s business or Target business. Restaurant guests have a much more immediate and direct and impactful say so in your daily operation than most any other business. ￼
Remember, you’re in the hospitality business. The hospitality business is all about listening to your guest and their lives, for the dual purpose of entertaining and taking care of their needs. At the same time you should be learning new information about their lives so that you can provide more hospitality.
What’s going on in the lives of your guests? That’s what you need to be talking about. What’s valuable to them? Is it valuable that you have a new seasonal menu out and have pumpkin spice on the menu? No! It gets old after a while, when everyone is talking about the exact same thing. If businesses are talking about the same stuff, then no one is listening.
Restaurant restriction pushback & reality
Seeing that I have many hundreds of friends and clients in the restaurant industry I’m sure I’ll get some resistance for this post. I am friends with a couple of the restaurant owners that are potentially filing litigation against the county. I think they’re making a selfish and dangerous choice. And maybe most importantly are wasting precious time that they could be utilizing to retool their operation to be successful during the pandemic. ￼
Are we really pretending that restaurants and bars aren’t at part to blame for the increase COVID cases? Of course they are. CDC has come out with multiple studies stating the obvious, restaurants, hotels, are absolutely contributing factors to the increase in COVID-19 cases. It’s common sense.￼
I’ve been hearing several comparisons of restaurants to big box retailers and the unfair restrictions that have been levied upon them.
1. They are absolutely not the same. People are not gathered in small groups at Walmart with masks off consuming food and drink into their body.
2. Retailers for the most part are ￼socially spaced out with masks on 100% of the time.
It’s an to comparison. The only similarity is there place is a business the public frequent.￼￼
I would love to see how anybody can maintain any semblance of social distance and follow the appropriate guidelines after two or three vodka martinis.
This is the deathblow to many restaurants and it’s a horrible tragic situation. National Restaurant Association and Missouri Restaurant Association have done fucking nothing in the last nine months except try to offer bullshit seminars and market like it’s 2009. They are completely irrelevant and 15 years behind the times. They dropped the ball they should’ve been lobbying for some type of relief from the government. The anger and rage should be directed towards them.￼
What happens long-term? Nobody knows.
I think there are some pretty good tactical & strategic operational strategies that have been vetted and discussed that could potentially drive revenue and foot traffic.
But the truth is most operators are going to be petrified of changing anything in fear that they lose the little business they have. Instead of fighting the government with an unlikely reversal, this time would be much better spent working within the framework and setting yourself up for success.
With all that being said,￼ I am the biggest proponent and cheerleader for the food and beverage industry especially in St. Louis in Chicago.
If I can help anybody in any small way please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. I have a good number of resources at my disposal and we have to help each other out in times like this. ️￼