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Are you turning away business with high quote times?

I recently visited a restaurant on a weeknight at 7 pm, and was quoted one hour wait time to be seated. Most people will not wait that long on a weekend, much less a weeknight. They will give their name to be added to the wait list just in case they don’t find another restaurant that can seat them sooner. If they find another restaurant, they will probably not remember to notify you to take their name off the wait.

On this occasion we decided to wait as there were not a lot of people waiting and saw 5 open tables. We were seated in 20 minutes which was 40 minutes sooner than we were quoted. We were thrilled, however I started thinking how much profit they lost that night with such a high wait time quote. Often times, inexperienced front of the house staff worry that people will be upset if they are a few minutes off on their quote, so they quote higher.

How can you avoid this happening at your restaurant? Here are a few ways:

1.    Better training

2.    Manager helping out at the door or at least have two people to verify quote times.

3.    Monitor customers waiting closely.

4.    Make sure tables are cleaned as soon as previous customers leave.

5.    Make sure servers are only assigned a reasonable amount of tables and not given more than they can handle, this will help turn tables in a more timely manner.

6.    Staff-up when reservations are high or you have a large party. Maybe have a few servers on call if needed.

Does your front desk and/or bell staff monitor the entrance for guests entering?

I recently visited a hotel in the valley, when I entered there was no one at the front desk. How many people entered without being noticed? If your guests have a reservation they will have to wait until someone acknowledges them. If they don’t have a reservation and aren’t acknowledged quickly, they may decide to choose another hotel. Guests are tired from traveling and don’t want to wait. How do you avoid this happening. Here are a few ways:

  1. Always have staff at the front door when you are open.
  2. Install a camera at the door or have a bell that alerts the front desk when door opens.
  3. Train staff the importance of greeting guests as they enter your establishment.

What happened to all the retail employees that used to ask if you needed help?

How many times do you leave a store without buying an item because you couldn’t find anyone to ask where the item is located or to answer a question? There used to always be employees on the floor to help you, now you rarely see anyone except cashiers.

Reducing staff to save money on the bottom line isn’t the answer and can wind up hurting your business. Training your existing staff and managers is the key to being proactive and will ensure consumer’s money is spent at your business and not your competitors. Plus will give you more return and referring business.

We at The Hart Experience can help you keep your profits from walking out the door. Contact Debbie Hart at 602.717.3271 Check out our website to sign up for your complimentary shop

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