Beyond recommendations about food & beverage, there are many other questions that locals and tourists ask. Use this list to build your ‘fact file’ for staff, and quiz them regularly to check they’re offering correct answers.
#1 issue for most managers is ‘staff motivation and attitude’. The interesting thing is, when staff are helpful to customers, they receive positive feedback and reinforcement. Food & beverage knowledge is one thing, but local information and recommendations can really make a difference to the customer experience. Build up staff local knowledge and their ability to assist, and everyone will smile more.
Make sure your staff can respond to questions like these:
- When did the business start, and who were the first owners?
- If there have been other owners since, what has changed?
- This place is unusual – what’s it about?
- Do you do takeout, catering, functions etc?
- What’s the website, phone number, fax number and email address?
- I want to come by local transport – what bus, train etc do I use?
- Phone number and website for transport information.
- Are taxis easy to find – what number do I call to make a booking?
- Best place for parking – long and short stay (including insider tips that only the locals know).
- How much does it cost – described in a way that makes it sound affordable.
- If parking is difficult, best way to tactfully advise this without losing the booking.
- If they are worried about security for their car, what would you advise?
- Where is an ATM teller machine?
- Where is a local bank and when is it open?
- Where is the post office or where can I buy a stamp? How much does postage cost on a postcard or letter?
Local attractions and points of interest:
- Places that would appeal to a family with young children.
- Places that would appeal to people that like shopping.
- Places that would appeal to a group of seniors who are out for the day.
- Places that would appeal to a group of sport players who are staying locally for a competition.
- Places that would appeal to people who like walks and outdoor activities.
- A well-known tourist attraction – hours of opening and costs etc.
- Local bookshops, fashion shops, music shops, gift shops and department stores for browsing.
- Where’s a shop nearby where I can download the images from my computer onto a CD?
- Is there an internet café nearby?
Two of your customers have finished their meal and tell you they would like to go for a stroll. Describe a walk they would like lasting about 20 minutes.
Draw a map on a napkin for a customer who wants to get from the restaurant to a location.
There are many more – you have staff who would love to prepare this information for the business.
By Ken Burgin of http://www.ProfitableHospitality.com – a leading industry website offering a wide range of management resources and cost-control systems for restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars.