Scores going down?

Are your restaurant scores declining?


Revenues are going down, customer service feedback is going in the wrong direction, expenses are going up - and your boss is asking a lot of questions. How did we get here? Well, it happens easily, and happens to most of us at some point. We get caught up in the whirlwind of the daily business and fail to realize how a couple of small things start to grow into a larger problem.

 More importantly, how do we go about the task of fixing it? Really making a difference and actually improving the operation? Let’s review.

·         Identify - Confirm that you really have an issue is step number one. List out all of your metrics to last year, sixth months ago, last month. What has changed? Is this a short-term blip that will auto-correct or is it more?

·         Analyze - Doing some type of analysis is the next step. I found it best to call in an independent contractor rather than someone from corporate office or someone that is too involved in the daily operation. Have a full review of the hotel conducted by an unbiased outsider, who will review the operation, look at what people are saying, and work with the team to figure out where the issues are. Working with the whole team will bring real answers and also make sure that they are more likely to be on-board in leading the improvement, once identified. All aspects of the operation should be evaluated: service, quality, speed, atmosphere, cleanliness, marketing, culinary operations, purchasing, systems and efficiencies. Any review should include the hotel leadership team dynamics; are they the right fit? How do they work together? Are there training opportunities or other needs? Review the concept: is it working, congruent, and current?

An experience report is very important as this drives customers and should be a big part of the report.  It also drives revenues and word-of-mouth marketing, which is so important in this age of social media. If the experience is not good or even just “OK”, then we're spinning our wheels on many fronts. So, this should be done with a keen eye for detail. However, focus on the big picture; don’t get caught up in the minutia. Of course, the small details need to be followed up on, but shouldn't be a distraction to the main event - the overall impression.

·         Plan for Improvement- Once the issues have been identified, a clear plan of action, which states the goals, the steps, who is responsible, and when, should be put into place. The team should work as a team and meet on a regular basis to drive the improvements home. Of course, outside resources may need to be used for training, direction, or guidance. That is where I can help you! Each aspect needs to be quantified, and agreed-upon by everyone involved.

·         Follow-up - Coming up with a plan is great, but if everybody goes back to work and gets lost in the daily grind, then it will all be for naught and you have wasted good money! But if you have a plan and follow up on it, it can make all the difference to your venue. Follow-up needs to be weekly, monthly, and quarterly, depending on the scope of the project. Know that someone will be checking on your progress. Along the way, milestones should be recognized and celebrated so that the team sees the value in the progress that they have made.

Don’t think for a moment that this is too much for the team. I guarantee you that everyone [ok, most!] on your staff wants to work in great location that they can be proud of!

For help with a comprehensive assessment and a detailed plan to get your organization moving in the right direction, contact me anytime…..

Author, Russ Blakeborough, has extensive hospitality leadership experience and is Managing Director/Senior Consultant at Focus – F&B