Can these kinds of customer response data be obtained reliably, systematically, and cheaply enough for a restaurant? If so, how?
This type of data could be gotten by adding survey questions to a receipt given to a customer with a few questions relating to the Pareto chart (Ex B). This can also be done by observation of host (ess) when times are not busy noting customers body language. Also managers can go around to tables and ask how their meal was, and if anything was unsatisfactory. The important thing is to have a log of this data, which can be analyzed, at the end of each week and solutions implemented at the beginning of each week to try and resolve problems quickly as they develop.
One type of bias the restaurant may have to worry about is the concept of “self-selection”, where a person who has a bad experience is more likely to voice their opinion than one who has not.
Another great example of how this data can be obtained is through benchmarking and competitive analysis, looking at how other competitors deal with their problems and applying the best solution to a given case. Benchmarking can easily help provide better service to customers by applying the “best practices” found in leading restaurants.
Which of the Exhibit B complaints are natural targets for continuous improvement in the restaurant (or any enlightened firm), thus, perhaps, not requiring solicitation of customer inputs to reveal the target for problem solving?
The of course obvious and most logical answer would be all elements could be improved upon. As we’ve discussed in class, “if you aren’t improving your product/service your loosing ground.” However I choose ones that could immediately be implemented through better training of the servers/busboys. In referencing the Pareto Chart of Complaints: Room too drafty, Table not clean, Buffet table not well organized, Missing utensil at place setting, no ashtray on table, and had to wait too long for coffee could all be elements of continuous improvement.
An example of how a problem could be solved is (G), simply setting up a smoking section where ashtrays are a mainstay at the table, if this cannot be implemented simply having the host(ess) after asking smoking/non bring a ashtray to the table, or after determining the size of the party have the host (ess) gather the utensils (the basket under the greeting table) before showing them to their table. The one I said could not be immediately improved upon is the room being too drafty, this may require a more physical solution such as adding another set of doors to the entrance thus alleviating draft cause through the entranceway.
The solutions can be developed through training the staff, (i.e. busboys, servers, host (ess)) to have a mental checklist of what needs to go on a table before it is ready to be sat, and having the host (ess) make sure they are seating people in the appropriate section (i.e. enough utensils, ashtrays, etc).
All of the complaints in Exhibit B clearly are things customers would notice. If restaurant staff, instead of customers, were asked to express their complaints, suggest at least five complaints that would probably come forth. To what extent could the staff’s mind-set be altered so that they would worry about the same things as customers? How could this change occur?
1) Angry/disgruntled customers – low tips, not due to service
2) Too many tables designated at a time for one person
3) Too many hours – better scheduling
4) Managers who don’t consider the individual – not concerned about your problems
5) Kitchen not staffed adequately during peak times – customers are angry and take it out on servers
A way of getting staff’s mindset to change is remind them of all their bad experiences in restaurants, getting the staff to own the problem. This can be done in a monthly training sessions where customer complaints are voiced to all the staff showing them that there is a problem. Even showing how better service can mean more money to them is a high motivator.
Show that you are going to make changes to better both the customer and the staff to make the workplace an environment where information is freely shared and solutions can be brought “in house” before going for outside the restaurant (i.e. corporate). Most importantly market each improvement, boast to your staff about how quickly problems are resolved, make your restaurant the one others are trying to benchmark for your best practices.