Higher Spend and Happier Diners – A Psychological Match

By Brian Mitchell Principal, Mitchell Performance Systems | March 16, 2014

Co-authored by Evan Mitchell, Senior Consultant, Mitchell Performance Systems

The fourth article in a series on improving revenue and profits from F&B

The French diplomat and gourmand Brillat-Savarin, author of the classic The Physiology of Taste (first published in 1825 and never out of print since), had this to say on dining – “around a single table (one may find) all the modifications which extreme sociability has introduced into our midst: love, friendship, business, speculation, influence… ambition, intrigue.”

It’s no different in our 21st century. Restaurant tables today come with the same array of psychological variables. The dining experience should never be seen to be about food only. This is a dangerous assumption. Customers bring a range of expectations to a dining setting – not all of them conscious – and as these emerge and develop they present opportunities for resourceful front of house staff to bring about that ideal combination of higher spend and happier diners.

Put simply, the essential goal of all dining staff should be to maximize the enjoyment of each customer’s dining experience. The fact that we so rarely see this in practice might be put down to poor supervision or inadequate training. But there’s another more subtle impediment: the belief that diners go to restaurants with the express intention of limiting their spending. This imagined budgetary barrier is a fallacy, the evidence indicates otherwise. Unfortunately it’s a fallacy that too many front of house staff find easy to accept. This automatically stunts their performance, by limiting the options they’re willing to present to a customer and the confidence with which they offer their recommendations. The end result is that everyone suffers – the establishment through lost revenue, the diner through lost potential enjoyment, and the staff member through a loss of professionalism in their own eyes and in the perception of the customer.

This last point, the customer’s perception, is the critical issue here. By second guessing the diner’s expectations, and putting a false and arbitrary limit on their capacity or willingness to spend, the staff member is dictating the level of enjoyment the establishment is prepared to make available to that customer. This is ignorant at best and an insult at worst, and either way, hardly an inducement for customers to come back.

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.