PALM BEACH, FL: Poor internal communications in America’s restaurants may soon start taking their toll at the cash register.
PALM BEACH, FL: Poor internal communications in America’s
restaurants may soon start taking their toll at the cash register.
This was the conclusion reached by marketing consultant Tom Feltenstein
(of Tom Feltenstein’s Neighborhood Marketing Institute) following exit
surveys of 50,000 patrons of restaurants serving everything from fast
food to haute cuisine.
’Customers are a revolt waiting to happen,’ he said, noting that 7% of
those surveyed claimed they would never go back to a restaurant because
of bad service or food. The 7% figure has great repercussions, he
suggested, in that customers dissatisfied with a restaurant will likely
Feltenstein criticized the internal communications efforts of the
restaurant industry, claiming that by failing to provide an atmosphere
conducive to friendly and efficient staff, the industry has compromised
’Service is a restaurant’s invisible product,’ he said. ’Bad service
happens all by itself, but good service has to be managed.’
Many restaurant staff are reluctant to go to work, and this is reflected
in their attitude once they arrive and start dealing with customers,
Feltenstein argued. His solution is for restaurants to boost training
expenditures, devoting at least 1.5% of their budget to nurturing a
capable and efficient staff. Right now, he estimates that only 0.3% is
spent on training programs.
Feltenstein, who previously held marketing posts for McDonald’s and
Burger King, contended that simple morale-boosters, such as providing
business cards and extra days off for holiday shopping, would provide a
sorely needed sense of importance to restaurant workers.
The National Restaurant Association, however, claimed Feltenstein’s
study was inaccurate and wildly exaggerated.
’We strongly disagree with the findings,’ said association spokesperson
Kristin Nolt. Nolt pointed to information compiled by the group this
fall, which showed that eight of 10 customers rate service as
’excellent’ or ’good’ at table-service restaurants.