Trouble in the restaurant
But at least it was food for thought!
I suppose that I’m like most British people in that generally speaking I prefer compromise to conflict, but last week during a family birthday celebration I found myself confronting the deputy manager of a well known Italian restaurant, which is a part of a large respected chain.
OK, I wasn’t happy with the situation, but deep down I wasn’t trying to have a row, what I was endeavouring to explain – calmly and rationally – was that the restaurant and indeed the whole group was not doing itself any favours and seriously risked damaging the perceived impression of its brand, simply because of the attitude and intransigence of the member of staff concerned.
The fact was that I’d booked a table a few days beforehand. We had arrived on time, only to be told that there was no table available.
“What about the one there?” I enquired, pointing to an empty and prepared table.
“Oh that was booked by phone fifteen minutes ago.” I was told.
“But I booked three days ago!”
make training, understanding and the delivery of your company’s policy and profile … a key ingredient of your overall recipe for success
“We don’t take bookings like that seriously. It’s not company policy to take advance bookings like other restaurants’ because we’re in a shopping centre”
Clearly I was getting nowhere and what should have been a jolly birthday treat was seriously undermined. A day or two later, and after a brisk email to the Group’s head office, I was contacted by a ‘marketing person’ who simply told me in short: “Sorry for your bad experience. Of course it is standard company policy at every one of our restaurants to honour bookings. The manager made a mistake. By way of compensation we’ll send you a voucher.”
So that’s alright then! Not!
The point I’m making is that neither the restaurant manager nor the head office personnel addressed the real problem, which was that both of them had unwittingly, possibly unknowingly, misrepresented their company to the public. And because of that, they had seriously devalued their brand. A brand, incidentally, that the company had spent an awful amount of money and effort establishing and promoting.
The branch manager hadn’t been trained properly or didn’t understand company policy. The head office apologist clearly didn’t recognise the importance of everyone, from senior directors to the newest recruit, to be ‘on message’. All it takes is just one individual, either through ignorance or lack of direction, to say the wrong thing and compromise years of effort and expense in building a brand and reputation.
My message… and something that we take seriously at AsOne Design is that you should make training understanding and the delivering of your company’s policy and profile – by everyone – a key ingredient of your overall recipe for success. And put it at the top of your menu.