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Customer Service Recovery for Restaurants

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Hi I’m John Tschohl

I’d like to talk about customer service recovery for restaurants

You know, if there is an industry that seems to have more problems and more difficulties, its gotta be in the restaurant business. So when I talk about service recovery, I’m talking about when the customer perceives that you’ve done something wrong and they get irate, they get upset, they get really mad.

We’re talking about four key things that I want you to master.

Number one: we’ve gotta act quickly. That means the employee, whoever’s interfacing with the customer when there’s a problem, has to be able to make fast decisions on the spot. And it better be in favor of the customer. That means you don’t go to see the manager, you don’t find the shift supervisor. I want the employee to make very fast decisions.

Number two we want the person to take responsibility. “We screwed up. Sir I am so sorry that your meal came late, It’s our fault”. Now, most employees lie. I mean, I’m shocked at how seldom I’ve ever heard anyone say “You know what, It’s coming in twenty minutes late and it’s our fault”. Okay? So I want you to take responsibility.

The third thing is I want people to be empowered. That means, everybody has to be able to make fast decisions on the spot, without going to a manager, supervisor, store manager, restaurant manager, whatever you want to call them. I want the employee to be able to spend your money—this is all marketing money. Keep in mind, fifty percent of the money you spend on marketing is waisted, the problem is we don’t know which half! Okay? 

And then the fourth thing we’ve gotta practice is compensation. When you screw up in the restaurant business, there are so many things that you can give away that have high value low cost.

So let me just give you an example of what I call incredible customer service recovery for restaurants.

I have a reservation for seven o’clock tonight. Party of four. I get to the restaurant, the hostess says “Mr. Tschohl, I apologize, but we’ve been slammed. Theres no way I’m going to be able to get you seated until seven thirty. would you and your party of four go to the bar area, have drinks on us, and we’ll call you as soon as your table is ready”. 

That’s called compensation, now lets say each person has two drinks. Somebody has a beer, somebody has some wine, somebody has a soda, somebody else has a cocktail. Average real cost it maybe a dollar a drink. So now we’re talking about eight dollars. Think about those people, they’re in there for thirty minutes.  What are they talking about?

“Wow, this is incredible, this is cool, man I like this.”

They’re on their iPhones, they’re sending out text messages, they’re going onto whatsapp, they’re on Facebook, doing social media, all the sudden some of them are on twitter. Hundreds of people can hear about that.

Now visualize, if you said, now thats too much money eight dollars. And you went to your local TV station and you said “Heres eight dollars, I want to run a commercial for my restaurant”. Well, for eight dollars they might give you one second on tv. In fact, they’ll probably laugh at you as they shove you out the door. So customer service recovery for restaurants is probably the most powerful tool you can use to keep customers so they keep coming back. Thank you.

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