Working hard to disappoint

Image: Life of Pix

Image: Life of Pix

How a lot of sweat creates more sweat

On Sunday, my wife and I treated ourselves to a “date-lunch”. We chose a nice restaurant we had been eyeing off for a while, booked it up, and were looking forward to a wonderful afternoon together. It ended up being… okay. In fact, it was a little worse than okay as we were looking forward to it so much.

This restaurant had it all. Beautiful views, a lovely dining room, staff dressed smartly, and the food… Arhhh, the food was amazing! But we may not go back. And we certainly wouldn’t recommend it. It was one of those experiences where good intensions and hard work created many moments that shuddered and disappointed.

A few examples that lowered the value of our experience:

·        We were freezing! The table was near the door, and when we asked for the lovely table in the middle of the dining room we were refused. We watched intently as another couple came in 30 minutes later and were placed at that table, before requesting a table by the window that was set for four people. None of this made sense as we shivered while patrons continually came in and out of the door.

·        Random servers asking the same question and checking on us. It was confusing and unhelpful. At times we were feeling rushed, and then we would have to wait for drinks or food to arrive.

·        We ordered too much food. Now this on us, but we were not sure of the size of the plates and the staff are there to guide us on such matters. Our order was happily taken, and when the final course came out, we were happy to bag it up to take away. But this was not allowed. So, we did what every irrational human would do – we gobbled it all down to the point of exhaustion. I mean, if you have to pay for it anyway… right!?!

We left feeling cold, scattered, and overly heavy (food coma). It was not the experience we had planned for, nor the feelings we aimed to have after spending our Sunday afternoon and a good few pennies at this place.

how we felt during our meal...

how we felt during our meal...

The weird thing was that the service team worked tirelessly hard. They were all hustling, and I am sure they were well intentioned. And the management would have worked very hard and spent many resources to get us into the restaurant in the first place. So much hard work was done, but the result was less than fruitful.

Imagine if 50% of new customers had a similar experience to us? Imagine if 50% of the staff left in less than six months because it was all too hard?  

Everyone worked harder than they needed to and they will need to work even harder to build the business going forward.

I feel this is more common than we think. How often do you get memorably good service? How often do you see staff cruising through a shift while customers are having a cracking time?

If it is so uncommon, then we must reflect that our own customers may not be getting the service we aimed for. I would argue that many of us are working harder and longer to provide a mediocre service.


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