It’s A Day In Their Life
Every time a guest walks into your business, it’s because it’s an occasion in their lives. Birthday, anniversary, first date, last date, job promotion, bad mood pick-me-up, divorce final, winning the championship, etc….And even when a guest has a coupon for a free meal, they are still a guest in your business and are still choosing to celebrate their special event with you.
Why do we want to discount their discontent about poor service or food just because they are getting it for free in the first place? The first rule of recovery involves hearing the guest out, then taking action. This is about more than a lost ticket. Which no one ever wants to take responsibility for. It’s about the guest and his family being in your business on a very important occasion in their life, with very high expectations because you do have a good reputation for good food and service, only to be disappointed because they received the ultimate act of disrespect – a forgotten order – and on their birthday. I wouldn’t stick around to talk to you if you lost my order on my birthday.
And to be upset because you didn’t get to apologize first? That’s just plain hubris. I’ve lost tickets before, but I also never let a guest leave unhappy. Understanding that guests don’t necessarily want a comped meal but rather better service is paramount to being in the Hospitality business. The zeitgeist of our culture isn’t about apologies, although they are the first point of good manners for a host, its about correcting the wrong done to a guest because:
IT IS PERSONAL TO THEM, because it’s a celebration of a day in their life. It’s never “just food”. And your response to them should be as personal as the slight. A bottle of champagne or an invitation to a special night of entertainment and dining on you, or something even more personalized would have been appropriate.
AND NEVER EVER SEEK REVENGE FOR WHAT YOU CONSIDER UNRULY BEHAVIOR ON THE PART OF A GUEST! If you tell them you are comping their meal, changing your mind because you think you were insulted or abused is simply you not keeping your word. Which is worse? Did the guests at the next table hear you and now see you not keeping your word? What word-of-mouth will you get out of that? We’re not in the food business, we are in the PEOPLE business.
Here are a few more thoughts on why the ‘Experience Is Business’: