Business Insights

Exceeding Customer Expectations

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Celebrity Chef Richard Blais, restaurateur, author and television personality, was the keynote speaker at Shamrock Foods EXPO. We are sharing key learnings from his presentation in a series of articles.

How To Exceed Expectations

A restaurateur can spend countless hours on developing their idea, fine tuning their menu and building their dream team, but execution is the critical final step in ensuring success for your business.

Shamrock Foods prides itself on going above and beyond for their customers. That is what Chef Blais insists must happen with the execution – going above and beyond. It’s easy to focus on back-of-the-house areas such as menu ideas and staff placement as that truly sets the strong foundation a restaurant needs. But one has to go the extra mile, and that could mean something as simple as focusing on front-of-the-house or hospitality.

Chef Blais explained the importance of hospitality and things to consider when developing an execution plan.

  • The Truth

    What do patrons really think of the restaurant? Did they leave a review on Yelp? Did they have a good time? What happens when they leave? Chef Blais believes the hospitality business starts before the guest arrives – from the reservation to valet – and never really ends. Map out your philosophy on hospitality and see it through for the whole dining experience.

  • Personalized Follow Through

    When was the last time you sent a guest a handwritten note? Chef Blais relates this gesture to having to write thank you letters after receiving holiday gifts – if you’re nice and send a thank you, they send better gifts. The goal is to build relationships with these people, and that means investing the time in follow through that counts and makes them want to come back.

  • Build Your Own Template

    Do what works best for your restaurant and don’t think about industry standards when it comes to execution. Look at the idea, the product and then set your execution goals from there. Chef Blais shared an example on ticket time as it pertains to serving steak. On average it takes 20 minutes to cook a steak, but what if you could get the steak to the table in five minutes? In today’s restaurant world, there is equipment and various types of methods that can help a restaurateur bring any ridiculous idea to life. Explore technology such as sous vide cooking, which allows a chef to cook the steaks in the morning and vacuum-seal when done so that when a guest orders it, it is already cooked and just needs to be quickly prepped. Voila, your ticket time is now five minutes instead of 20!

What opportunities do you have to truly improve customer experience at your restaurant? Going above and beyond for your guests, and approaching challenges differently, is what will keep them coming back time and time again.

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