When is “we are busy” an acceptable reason for bad service?

Hi all,

It’s a question that as a professional, I would always ask myself, but quietly. How many times have you visited a service establishment and found the service poor?

As a member of the Service Profession, I have always been more than understanding of such circumstances and chose to remain either very patient, or if the need has become so acute, I have taken the individual aside discretely to advise them of any displeasure.

In the service sector, we provide service, that is true. However, what we provide is so much more than that. We provide an experience. In fact, it was summed up this week in Birmingham at The Great Hospitality Show by David Murdin from Whitbread, who said that yes, it is experiences that we provide, but we make memories.

What an excellent perspective. We are in the business of making memories; ideally pleasant ones that will make them want to come back.

Two recent examples I experienced first hand were in High Street Restaurants. Large chains, with an extensive presence in the UK. The first restaurant had fundamental issues around staffing, physical product quality and service. It was very much an unloved restaurant, and the staff seemed equally unloved. I politely, raised the question around service, but was met with a stern “we are busy!” response.

The second restaurant was very well furnished, had adequate numbers of service staff on duty, and was well aware of our booking. However, 40 minutes of sitting invisible at our table before any offer of drinks or meal ordering was evident, set the scene for what was to be a disappointing experience. On this occasion, it was made more disappointing by the fact that it could so easily have been avoided and/or rectified. After numerous issues, I discreetly informed the manager of our feedback. The response “we are busy!”.

Ironically, the food in both establishments was very good. That most crucial element, was fine. The defence of “we are busy” always confuses me. Wait, do I mean bemuses me? Were these two restaurants in question opened with the intention of never wanting to be full? Do they want people to return? How many discounts and allowances are made due to poor service? Similarly, what damage does this do in today’s social media connected world?

What about the customer that says nothing, but never returns? Their “memory” soon forgotten and new ones made in someone else’s restaurant.

JWH Hospitality Solutions is able to provide you with an outside in perspective of your business and full mystery guest services, please call us today to find out more: 07500 110 331

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