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The Dos and Don’ts of Hospitality

by | Jan 12, 2023

Dos and Don’ts at the Bakery

Setting the scene at the coffee shop/bakery. It’s a fantastic example of the dos and don’ts of hospitality.

It’s 7:45 in the morning. People are in a hurry to get to work and drop kids off at school. For all intents and purposes, it’s rush hour at the coffee shop!

Don’ts Of Hospitality

I walk in and am 4th in line. There are two cash registers but just one is open. The customer who is placing his order glances to the back and catches the eye of a staff member. It’s obvious that they are long lost friends reuniting. It’s a joyous moment! They’re making connection. While this is fun to watch during a romantic Hallmark movie, it’s not so peachy when standing in line with things to do, places to go, and people to see.

The staff who was behind the register stood there watching and waiting for the Hallmark Movie Moment to continue to completion. We customers in line stood awkwardly watching and waiting. This scene falls squarely into the “don’t” category.

Turning into a “Do” in Hospitality

In order to change this situation into a hospitality “do” the staff should have said to the customer something like,

“You and Mary catch up! When done, just pop back and I’ll take your order.”

At that point he would have either realized that he needed to get a wiggle on and place his order, or he would have stepped to the side and talked to his friend. Easy fix. This would have kept the line moving along without interrupting a Hallmark moment. But that didn’t happen.

I stood there in awkward silence with everyone else and just waited.

The Saga Continues

After chitchat, shooting the breeze, and catching up with his long-lost friend he finally placed his order and the line started to move again. Meanwhile two more customers arrived and queued up behind me.

Two staff members appeared and were manning both cash registers, so both people in front of me stepped up and placed their orders. I was next in line.

When those two customers placed their orders, both staff members turned and left their registers to fill the orders. I, along with the people behind me, stood there in that awkward moment that happens sometimes at the grocery store.

That awkward moment where you’re all in one line, looking to the left and to the right, wondering which lane will open next. You’re hoping some unaware shopper doesn’t miss the line of people waiting and cuts right to the checkout.

Are you supposed roll the dice and pick a lane hoping you don’t choose the slow one?

I felt awkward, uncomfortable, and (if I’m honest) abandoned, like a wallflower. I stood there in awkward silence with everyone else and just waited.

An Easy Hospitality Fix

A simple fix for this situation, a “do” in hospitality, would have been for one of the staff members to make eye contact and simply say,

“One of us will be right with you.”

Simple yet effective. Customers would know what to do. We wouldn’t have felt abandoned.

This experience tells me, very clearly, that this team, these staff members, have not been trained to know and understand their value.

~Samantha Irwin

Do Staff Know their Value?

This experience tells me, very clearly, that this team, these staff members, have not been trained to know and understand their value.

They have incredible influence on the financial success of the business, on the tips that they receive, and on the general mood of the customers in front of them.

If this were my team, giving them an example a little closer to home would help them to understand their influence, impact, and value.

Dinner Party!

You’re invited to my home for dinner. You walk in and I am busy, head down, chopping veggies for the salad. I don’t look up at you when you enter. You stand at the door a little awkwardly wondering what to do with your coat, your shoes, and the bottle of wine that you brought. Are supposed to help yourself to the hors d’oeuvres and drinks or wait?

You stand there awkwardly for a moment casing the joint.

You put your wine with the other bottles on the counter and go join some guests that are sitting near the fireplace. I don’t look or speak to you unless you come and ask me a question.

That would be a hospitality fail. It’s absurd! Of course, you would never treat guests like this! When someone comes to your home you greet them. You welcome them. You take their coat show them where the bathroom is, offer them something to drink and eat. You want them to feel welcomed and valued; they’re your guest.

Staff should liken their work, the business, to their home. They are the host or hostess.

  • It’s their job to make the guests or customers feel welcomed and comfortable.
  • It’s their job to help customers know what to do, where to go.

They have great responsibility. They have great influence on how comfortable and welcome customers feel.

This translates either very well, or very poorly, to the financial success or mediocrity of a business.

Training staff to simply take an order and fill it isn’t enough. In order to reduce staff turnover and to increase tips and revenue, train staff to understand their power and influence. Give them the skills to create phenomenal Customer Experiences.

Equipping Your Team

For weekly assistance in helping your team understand their impact and influence, grab your Creating a Culture deck.

There’s no better time than now to start making more money and having a positive influence on your staff.

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