My work involves extensive travelling, but I thought that I would raise a few points about the hospitality and service industry in general.
Coffee is almost the measurement of an establishment, if the coffee is good we are happy and if the coffee is not to our liking then we normally just finish our cup, pay and move on.
If you don’t serve coffee and you thinking you don’t need to read any further then you may just be wrong. I ask that you would use the analogy of the three dollar cup of coffee and apply it to the thirty dollar bottle of wine, the three hundred dollar overnight stay or even a thirty thousand dollar car.
When I order a coffee, very few places will ask how I like my coffee, yet when I visit friends they always ask ‘how do you like your coffee?’. If this is the service I get from my friends when I visit them, surely if I am paying for coffee at a restaurant or a coffee shop; I can expect them to ask me how I would like my coffee? Is this too much to expect, am I being unreasonable?
Are we asking the right questions, are we interested in what our customers want or are we giving them a menu and they should just except what our standard offering or go somewhere else?
Tasty food is what we generally want when we eat out, be it at a five star restaurant or a fast food franchise. We need to feel that we are getting some value in return for our hard earned dollars.
Recently my brother and I went to one of our favourite franchise Shawarma joints for a quick dinner. We both love hummus, but we realised that the hummus did not taste the way we remembered it. When the friendly manager came and asked us how we were enjoying our food, we told him that the food was great but something is different about the hummus.
For the next half hour he told us that nothing was wrong, nothing had changed and that the recipe is still the same as it was twenty years ago when we first encountered these Shawarma’s. We then suggested he goes to the local supermarket, as they have the best hummus. When challenged at this level, he then admitted that they have begun to use a lot of corn starch as fillers recently, (and it is all of the branches not just this particular branch) why would a franchise cut corners to such an extent than it changes the customers taste experience?
So here we have potential brand damage, but not because they thought they could make ten rand more on a batch of hummus, but because the manager blatantly lied about a recipe that he knew had changed. When customers are lied to, that is when brand damage takes place, we realise that we can all makes mistakes yes but intentional lying to hide the facts will cause serious reputational damage.
Be honest, transparent and authentic – because the world expects that from you.