In a study of chain restaurants in the July 2009 edition of Consumer Reports, customers reported at least one complaint during a whopping 43 percent of the visits! The complaints reported are very surprising and an area that we should all be focused on improving in our hotel restaurants.
Here are the top complaints:
- Noise (reported in 26% of visits)
- Poor Service (18%)
- Cleanliness Issues (10%)
- Food Quality (7%)
Most people would automatically assume that food quality issues would be the top complaint in a restaurant. Keep in mind that this study covered restaurants from Denny’s all the way up to Morton’s Steakhouse. You probably spend a lot of time working on your menu and your food quality. Keep in mind that this is the area that the fewest people complain. Where should you focus most? First, hopefully your hotel restaurant does not have a noise problem. Very few of the restaurants our mystery shoppers visit have any sort of noise problem. However, many of the hotel restaurants have both a service problem and some cleanliness issues.
Service problems are the biggest problem areas during our mystery shopper’s visits. Surprisingly, the biggest problems are the most basic service standards. Many servers struggle to do basic standards such as taking orders, pre-bussing tables, and delivering the check correctly. Schedule a mystery shop today to see how your service ranks.
We also see a few cleanliness issues during our visits. The main culprits? Buffets and bathrooms. Bathroom cleanliness was also a complaint in the Consumer Reports study. Have a messy bathroom in your restaurant is probably the quickest way to scare a guest. The buffet problems we report are issues such as dirty plates in the plate rack and messes left on the buffet from other guests. Be sure that dishes are inspected after they come out of the dishwasher and before they are put on the buffet. Also, be sure you have someone monitoring the buffet to clean up the mess left by guests who don’t know how to operatate a set of tongs.
Keep focused on the basics to improve your guest satisfaction scores!