Yes, you’re losing business. You’re losing customers. I have members who have lost anywhere from 10-50 percent of their sales in the last few months.
A large portion of this loss is the economy.
But let me pose that some of it could be because of your training (or lack of) and service (poor).
It reminds me of a study I read a while back that catalogued the top six reasons why customers don’t come back. The study was called “The Spirit of Service” done by the National Institute for the Foodservice Industry (NIFI).
Reason No. 6
1 percent of your customers die. This is just the reality of it all.
Reason No. 5
3 percent of your customers will move out of the area. Some may move too far away, but stay in touch in case they can come back. If your customer moves 45 minutes away, you have a choice: lose their business for good or fight like heck to get them in at least four times a year. It’s worth the effort in sales. Make sure to employ a new-mover marketing strategy as well, because for every 3 percent moving away there are new families moving in.
Reason No. 4
5 percent find new interests or friends. While this is somewhat out of your control, it’s still important to stay in constant contact. Interests and friends keep changing, and you never know when you’ll be en vogue again.
Reason No. 3
9 percent change for competitive reasons. A new restaurant opens in your territory and is in direct competition with yours. If you’ve done your job right and have a restaurant that is clean, has great service and great food, they will come back… and usually do. And it doesn’t hurt to keep communicating with them with your monthly newsletter and e-mails. Remind them that they matter and continue to invite them back in to your restaurant. The key here is to run your restaurant well on all accounts: clean, great service and great food.
Reason No. 2
14 percent change because they are dissatisfied with the restaurant. Make sure your restaurant is in clean working order. Make sure on a daily basis management is walking the floor with a customer’s eye. Deep clean your restaurant, paint where paint is needed, make sure all the minor details of your restaurant’s appearance are perfect. Make sure every employee is trained and ready to give your customers the best experience they could reasonably expect for your format.
Reason No. 1
68 percent encounter an attitude of indifference or unconcern by one or more employees.
This is my biggest pet peeve of all, and my wife Susan can tell you, this is why any restaurant will lose my business.
Reasons No. 2 and No. 1 together are all employee related. Just look those numbers together, 82 percent. This means 82 of every 100 customers that don’t come back because of how your employees conducted themselves or have done their jobs! So as a part of your training program you need to not only cover the basics from food safety to steps of service, you need to train on hospitality and the idea that the customer comes first!
If you do nothing more than tackle these two reasons, your business will literally explode! All it takes is training.
Do you have an official training program in place in your restaurant? Does it include job descriptions, evaluations and performance evaluations? Or is it more like a shadowing program, where the newbie follows around a veteran to learn the job? If it’s the shadowing scenario, look deep and consider what you can change to make it better. If you need help of where to get started… just give me a call. Mention you’re a FohBoh member and I’ll be more than happy to help.