Monday December 10, 2012
By Stephen Yates - Development Specialist
Who, like me, has an unstoppable craving for a Saturday night curry? It’s just one of those things that just gets you; indulgent and addictive, naughty but oh so good!
So that was this Saturday’s objective, a night out with my friends and Godchildren in one of my favourite cities, Liverpool. And so we ventured into town, early table booked and thoughts of that delicious spicy treat on our minds.
The restaurant had a great reputation for good food and once the hunger hit all we could think about was a good ol ‘ruby’ (Ruby Murray – Cockney rhyming slang for a curry ) and a lovely evening.
It wasn’t to be. From start to finish, our guest journey wasn’t quite that Saturday night experience we all longed for and anticipated for as we drove through the Mersey tunnel to the bright lights of the Liverpool.
You see the problem was that as the night drew on, the wait for that curry just lengthened- and all we wanted was somebody to listen to us.
From ordering - we had to strenuously beckon a waiter (who thought he was actually the Michael Macintyre of the North, who, coincidentally, was performing that night in the city) - we waited an hour for main courses. What was meant to be an early evening supper and back to the house with a log fire and night cap, turned into...well, just one long tiresome wait - like the food that clearly had sat on the hot pass as long as our hunger had ravaged our stomachs.
The problem was not really the wait, but the clear lack of ability of anyone to actually listen, empathise and react to our situation. The guest journey, as we all know in hospitality, isn’t just about the food but how the team react to a situation. The only way to act in an appropriate way is to really listen to the customer, get into their world and offer a solution that’s relevant to the scenario…not a stock answer of a two for one cocktail, or “yours is next out in five minutes… “So if there’s one thing that we can do to really enhance the dining experience and let’s face it, mistakes happen, it’s about listening to what’s really important and flexing to the needs of a customer. If you are going to make all those Christmas dining experiences something special and memorable “moments of fame” to quote the great Mary Jane Flanagan, Head of Learning at the purple palace, then take just a few moments to listen.
Incidentally, the food was terrific, albeit rather lukewarm and two hours late. We ventured back home, having eaten well, made holes in our wallets yet feeling somewhat cheated. Just a few moments of listening would have changed that guest journey. Oh and I still fancy a curry; I want the whole package. That’s next Saturday sorted then…