GUESTS: Six Ways You're Ruining the Guest Experience
A lot of nationally recognized brands have it right when it comes to finding ways of boosting the guest experience. Buffalo Wild Wings even has a position dedicated to that role. But restaurants also are setting their focus without identifying the real culprits in ruining the guest experience. It's the little things that kill our business. You have the power to not only salvage the guest experience, but enhance it by addressing these six common fails.
DID YOU KNOWS…
Coca Production Soars in Colombia
Between 2016 and 2017, Colombia's net coca cultivation area grew from 146,139 hectares to 171,495, an increase of 17%. During the same time period, potential cocaine hydrochloride production also increased 31%. The UN stated that potential cocaine production in Colombia has a value of $2.7 billion in the local market with the region bordering the Pacific the most intensively cultivated. The following infographic shows net cultivation of coca in Colombia between 2010 and 2017. In recent years, the cocaine trade has been flourishing with some blaming the peace with FARC for creating a vacuum which is being filled by criminal groups. It is believed that FARC used to control up to 60% of Colombia's coca fields.
E. Coli is Not a Mojitos Ingredient
Barcelona beach vendors are in a bit of hot water after being busted for selling E. Coli-tainted mojitos and storing ingredients in sewers. During a two-month span, cops confiscated more than 133,000 bootleg beach drinks, often which are tainted with fecal bacteria. Yummy. So who wants a beach cocktail?
AB InBev Deals with Player Unions
For the longest time, players unions for professional sports have been extremely reluctant to allow active players promote alcohol. That’s starting to change, however, as Anheuser-Busch InBev has struck a deal with the MLB and NBA players unions. Still, federal alcohol regulators frown upon marketing that connects alcohol consumption with athletic prowess.
AS THE CAULIFLOWER BLOOMS
Why it matters to you: Understanding how trends emerge can be a way to stay ahead of them in the first place.
If you haven’t noticed, cauliflower has been on a quite a run these past few years. Whether it was diet trends like Keto or Paleo that gave it the push is NOT anyone’s guess. In fact, this terrific analysis on Vox delivers a pretty good analysis on the rise of this previously boring cruciform.
According to the folks at CCD Innovation, it takes multiple drivers to push a trend into the public consciousness. In the case of cauliflower, it was a general low-carb diet trend coupled with a push to decrease meat consumption based on its environmental impact. No matter how a trend emerges it can impact your business. You can either be behind and miss the benefits or you get ahead of it and create loyalty from guests that want to see what’s new on your menu.
As an operator, grabbing trends early is a great strategy to differentiate yourself. For example, I first had Buffalo Cauliflower as an appetizer at a restaurant at the Beat Brasserie in Cambridge, MA. This was five years ago and it’s still among the most popular items on their menu. In fact, I go there (45 minutes from my house, btw) specifically to have it. That doesn’t mean you all need to add that dish to your menu. However, it does illustrate the power of trends in driving traffic and loyalty. If you put yourself in a position where guests can experience trends at your place, that’s exactly what they will do.
DON’T AUTOMATICALLY AUTOMATE
Why it matters to you: The technology of automation is moving fast, should you be on board now?
Automation has taken more jobs in the U.S. than immigration. For example, since 1979 88% of manufacturing jobs lost in the country were due to automation. This creates an interesting discussion in our industry about the role of automation and how it will impact the culture of our business. Take the new restaurant in Boston called Spyce Kitchen. This location uses a robotic cooking process that turns out an amazing vegetarian meal in just three minutes and for only $7.50. According to some estimates, the cost of a robot is about 1/3 that of a minimum wage employee per hour.
For those of you struggling with the expenses and challenges presented by human labor, the robot thing might be a valid alternative. This piece on FSRMagazine describes in detail the various aspects of automation that are being invented and perfected right now. The article implies that automation in the production process is probably not an issue, but asserts that it shouldn’t replace human service. The conclusion is that automation should ease the burden on servers, so they can focus on hospitality and not on tasks. Certainly, many of our operators would like an automatic dishwashing system or a sauté station that man’s itself. While we are quite there yet, those types of automation aren’t as far of as you think.
For now, we suggest you focus on the things that you can access. Whether it’s tableside tablets/payment systems or Pour Your Own Drinks, these automated systems can potentially save you labor and simultaneously improve your service. The question is which tech you should embrace and when. While we don’t have the answer, this article is a great place to start.