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51% of Your Customers Say Your Service is too SLOW

I don’t know about you, but I hate losing money. Even if I were ultra-wealthy, I don’t think I’d ride down the road tossing $50 bills out the window. That would be crazy right? (Well, maybe not to the lucky ones who pick those bills up!)

But that’s exactly what I saw happen a couple of weeks ago: On a whim, my husband and I decided to meet up for lunch at the Brick House Tavern and Tap in Tampa (say that three times fast!).

We were looking for a good meal, and to have a beer in a fun and lively atmosphere. We’ve been there before and we’ve had good food, and better than average service.

My husband frequents Brick House more than I do, and although he’s experienced slow service in the past, neither of us imagined we’d experience a problem at 2pm on a weekday.

We were greeted right away at the door, and promptly seated at our booth, where we proceeded to sit… unrecognized… for 15 minutes. Servers were eagerly waiting on tables in front of us, behind us, at the bar, across the way, outside, you name it; while we sat memorizing the menu and dying of thirst.

After stopping two servers to see if they could find someone to help us, and continuing to wait (were we ignored? forgotten about?), we took our $50 and walked out the door.

And that, folks, is how slow service will make you lose $50 in 15 minutes.

Sure $50 in the grand scheme of things might not sound like a lot. I mean, don’t restaurants make thousands of dollars a day? Yes, some do, but consider this: if two tables were to walk out each day at $50 each time, we’re talking about $36,400 in lost revenue each year!

With an average profit margin of only 2-3.5%, restaurants need to  do everything they can to avoid throwing money out the door.

The August 2014 edition of Consumer Reports (already published), features a national survey titled “The Gripe-o-Meter”.  In that survey, 51% of those surveyed said “slow (or maybe non-existent) service” was their top gripe for restaurants.

51%! That’s over half the people they surveyed, who must have experienced something similar to us.

The good news is that there are ways that you can be on the right side of that statistic.  Check back next week for my next post that will give restaurant operators 4 ways to stay on top of their service.

In the meantime, what is your gripe? Are you one of the 51% or do you gripe about something else? We want to hear from you! Tweet, FB, or comment below!

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