Are You Making It Hard for
Customers to Spend Their Money?
By George McAuliffe, President, Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Apologies to the authors of a great, quick-read business book titled WAYMISH…Why Are You Making It So Hard for Me to Give You My Money? The focus of the book is how silly, little mistakes – or one minute’s lousy service – can lose customers for life. Anyone in the service business should read this book and have copies available for frontline employees. (You can buy a copy at: www.amazon.com/WAYMISH-making-hard-give-money/dp/0967324505.)
Examples of WAYMISH
Much of our business lives these days is spent figuring out how to survive in this time of Covid-19. We need every dime customers are willing to give us. In the last week, I had three restaurant experiences and in each, I wound up with WAYMISH echoing in my mind. Was this just a coincidence? Or is there another epidemic out there of mistakes, undertrained staff, inadequate processes and poor management?
• Restaurant 1: Our niece, her husband and three kids asked if we wanted to join them for an early dinner on the patio of their favorite Mexican restaurant. We were in! We arrived at 4:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, but the hostess told us that she couldn’t seat us because they were full. We looked around. There were two tables out of 30 that were occupied. After we pointed that out, the waitress explained that they were full with reservations for 6 p.m. and she didn’t want to have to kick us out. So, we asked for the manager and were quickly seated, had a great, leisurely meal, and were on our way at 5:45 p.m.
• Restaurant 2: We had guests over during the Labor Day weekend and headed out for a Saturday at the beach. Wanting to get good real estate, we decided to get there early and have breakfast on the beach. That meant ordering take-out from the classic Jersey diner on the way. Great! They said it will be ready in 15 minutes. We arrived twenty minutes later only to find that the order wasn’t ready. At the 30-minute mark, about half the order came out. At the 40-minute mark the rest came out except for one item which had been forgotten. After 50 minutes, we were (finally) on our way.
• Restaurant 3: This was one of the nicer restaurants in town. We looked forward to an upscale dinner of take-out hosting my wife’s brother and brother-in-law. We called and placed the order, picked it up on time and got home to find only three of four entrees. (Since we had also ordered appetizers and desserts, I didn’t notice anything was missing when I picked it up.) Although they delivered the missing meal 25 minutes later, the meal was negatively impacted.
As Paulie Walnuts said to Silvio when Tony Soprano got shot: “How could this happen?”
These places are restaurants. They are in the restaurant business. They are in survival mode and not exactly at full capacity. Restaurants need to deliver three things to be successful: quality food, good service and atmosphere. For takeout, they only need to worry about the first two. So what gives?
• In Restaurant 1’s case, what owner wouldn’t want the unexpected bonus of parties of seven showing up for dinner at 4:30 p.m. on a weekday? The lesson here: Do you have the right people at your front line dealing with guests? Do those people have the right skill set? Do they understand the big picture involved in keeping the business alive so they can have a job? Is there a “yes first” culture in dealing with customer requests?
• Restaurant 2 was really having a bad day. There must have been someone new in the kitchen and if that’s the case, the owner or GM should have been in there with them. Here’s a basic, out-of-the-Disney-playbook method: under promise and over deliver. If the wait time is 15 minutes, tell the guest 20 or 25. If the unexpected happens, you’re covered. If not, the guest is pleasantly surprised that you delivered early.
• Restaurant 3 needs work on their processes. That order should have been double and triple checked: when it went into the kitchen, when it came out, and as it was being packed.
Training is the Common Denominator
Are your team members adequately trained and is the training they received effective? Is it designed to be effective with today’s young workforce? Will they retain that training?
Top 3 Reasons Training Is Failing Employees Today
1. Today’s workers are different.
2. Current methods of training and communication are boring, outdated and clunky.
3. Companies are failing to adopt new technologies and software to skill-up and level-up their people.
Key StatsYou can pick up a copy of the book on Amazon: www.amazon.com/WAYMISH-making-hard-give-money/dp/0967324505.%5B/caption%5D
• 87% of what you learn is forgotten within 30 days
• Only one in three employees are engaged while at work
• Employees today are disconnected and disengaged
Like many of you, we’ve been searching for the solution to these problems. We won’t do a commercial in this space, but we will soon be launching an app for FECs which is game-based, speaks to employees in a format and language they relate to, and has great features which turns training into a game. You’ll hear more about it as we roll it out in the coming months.
There are other solutions out there, I’m sure. Much has been written about developing a culture within your organization. Each of the restaurants I mentioned need to work on their service culture. Does your FEC? Above all, let’s make it as easy as possible for customers to give us their money!
George McAuliffe has helped hundreds of businesses large and small develop and execute arcades and FECs. He has personally operated family entertainment centers from 2,000 to 150,000 square feet as a corporate executive, entrepreneur and consultant. He is the owner, with his partner and son Howard, of Pinnacle Entertainment Group.
George lives on the Jersey Shore with his wife, Julie. They have three sons, two daughters-in-law and a grandson.