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Customer Entitlement

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Every time I do something special for a regular it ruins them as a person in my restaurant and as a customer. It seems like any simple act of kindness towards a person opens the floodgates for every bad characteristic that a customer can have. This has been wearing on me lately.

post #2 of 15

I know exactly what you're talking about! Such preferential treatment can really bite you in the arse, as some regulars just take take take. My biggest problem here is that I get a hard time for not chatting to them at the table all the time. I'm expected to p**s in their pockets, yet I'm a cooking chef, not a Maitre d', and they simply don't get it. My job isn't done when they get their food on the table!

 

Cheers,

Recky

post #3 of 15

If you want to see the worst side of people --give something away for free----

post #4 of 15

I don't get it, that's how I started my business. I gave my Clients/customers great customer service, that's why they picked us to cater to them. Think about what got you into business and what keeps you in business. I don't think saying "NO" is a good alternative............ChefBillyB

post #5 of 15

Agree with Chef Billy.  I cater to all my customers special requests if and when I can, not just my regulars and special customers.  Goal is to make everyone feel like that special customer.  You just can't be afraid to say no sometimes.  I think it is more about how you handle that No moment.  More important is to just acknowledge them so that they feel special.  I am lucky because my wife works the front of the room for busy nights to give that owner talked to me touch. 

post #6 of 15

O.K. here's an observation I made about people in general:

 

Whatever is free, under priced, or available in almost unlimited quantities--will be treated with contempt and scorn.

 

 

Now think about this for a bit, because it can apply to clean water, air, good manners, public libraries, and restaurants--especially restaurants since they are available in unlimited quantities and usually under priced.

 

I also had my own catering business for ten years.  Yes, there are a lot of services and items we could offer, but they have to be negotiated, because if you give them away for free they are not respected.  Once I have a customer who actually acknowledges and respects extra efforts that I make, then I will go out of my way to do so again and again.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 15

It's like free refills on soda. Some restaurant owner thought of that to boost sales, and now every single person comes in expecting free refills, and are SHOCKED if they have to pay. Same goes for bread or chips on the table, etc. Entitlement is totally the correct word for it. Nothing's free, even if you aren't the one paying for it. 

post #8 of 15

I wasn't really talking about free, I'm just saying I don't say no. If my client wants it, it's done, they never asked for stupid shit. I feel it's my job to make my customer feel, when they ask me for something they don't need to call me up and ask if it was done. If   a client calls for a catering, they call because they want me, they like what I do and how I do it. Catering is all about logistics, I'm not saying I won't cater the party on the beach in Hawaii. I'm saying because it takes more people to accomplish this, it will cost more money. I also never let the customer cheap-in the catered event, it may be their party, but, it's my reputation. I try to take all the accountability away from the organizer and put it on my shoulders. I can't guarantee 100% success, if I don't have 100% control. I use to walk all my dining rooms, talk with my customer, take care of problems. I never had anyone looking for a free-bee, most of them just liked being noticed. Giving good customer service should not be giving the house away, it is controlling the house the way you see fit. .............ChefBillyB

post #9 of 15

Being in the hospitality business, its easier to succeed when you are hospitable. Customer requests shouldn't be seen as a problem, but an opportunity to make more money. If they are asking you to go beyond what you normally do, its perfectly reasonable to ask them to pay more than they otherwise would. That helps reduce the "entitlement" attitude that does come from giving things away. I don't understand why anyone would turn down an opportunity to make more money. Maybe its just a matter of changing your perspective.

 

What I've always taught employees in the past is that the default answer to any question is "Yes." if the request is possible. The real question is how much then to charge for it, and knowing how to present that to the customer. Charging more for extra service isn't "nickel and diming" either. It's adding value and being compensated for it. Nickel and diming is charging for things that should be included in one price, like the bread, condiments, and even soda refills if that is the norm where your restaurant is.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #10 of 15

Their are some things that you may just have to say "NO".

If they don´t like it oh well. 

 

Example 1: Such as, clients enter the restaurant early stay from 12-3  we close at 4 for a break to open for dinner at 8. 

Well they want to know that if we can cancel our break to stay and cater to their every wim, because they may order something. They are in 4 people with 4 kids... they havent ordered anything and have literally been drunk all afternoon just ordering drinks. 

Well when that was asked i said a flat out no... and went on my break , along with the other cooks....

 

Well when we come back they were still there, still drinking, still drunk , and they proceeded to staying their till 1am and ordered no food. 

I doubt me not taking my break and staying their would have altered anything... let alone made them feel special, after how drunk they were. 

 

Example 2: Party of 50, no reservations comes in at closing time...

We werent advised, we werent prepared...

Well we had nothing going, it was late, we were tired as hell and THEY WERENT PAYING...friends of the owner

Because apperently they were just occupying tables, and the space, they had brought their own food, and goodies, one problem nothing was cooked and we were still expected to provide free service, work 8 more hours, bake their cakes, their goodies etc....

 

Emaple 3: Kitchen cleaned, no prep for that day, staff basically ready to go home. 

ONE man comes in even though we are closed, wanting the special.... i dont have prep, i dont have patience and well i just dont want to at this point. 

Well fine, i do prep in a hurry, and my entire kitchen staff helps... we get the dish out in 15 minutes. Note: restaurant is closed and he is eating. We will have to clean up everything we dirtied as well. 

40 minutes later after he is done eating , he compliments the food, we say thanks, and wait for him to go home. 

HE NEVER SHOWED UP AGAIN....wish i would have said no to that one....

 

Example 4: This was done many times in my last job, but didnt take too long before i refused. 

EVERYDAY, homeless pot head would come in the restaurant, with or without clients and ask for food. So our only options is to make something on the fly for a homeless dude. Usually we would get rice (that was made in advance daily), beans (same thing), ad some type of veg if we felt like it. But seriously im wasting time giving away food for free when i should be preparing meals or paying customers. He would come back everyday...

As foodpump stated: Whatever is free, under priced, or available in almost unlimited quantities--will be treated with contempt and scorn.

I think it lasted a few weeks and he continued, when not food it was cash, and our manager being the idiot he was would give him money (obviously from the register). 

Hell soon enough i ended that habit , refused to make free food during working hours, if anyone wants to give out money be it from your pockets....

When i left that place he would still show up daily...

 

Clients are treated with good food, respect, and hospitality 100% of the time , while im working. 

If they want some special treatment and im capable of doing it, fine ill do it. But sometimes when you treat others too kind , you may get stepped on. Saying no in some cases is better then saying yes.... not just in the industry but in life....

 

I don´t say no often, ill usuallly do it, keep quiet and get it done, but the few times i refused, havent affected me badly yet, and in my opinion was justified. Im a cook, im not a waiter to chat, im not the owner to give free-bees, and sorry im not your BFF to hold your hair while you vomit in the bathroom after getting your a** drunk. 

Im a cook i work with food, my goal it make sure you eat well, have a pleasant time, while also doing the same for various clients...

If the request is doable, and i honestly can not come up with any decent reason to not do it, fine ill do it, now if i can justify saying no, then its no period. 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 1/28/14 at 9:08am

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #11 of 15

I think there's a big difference between adding value by accommodating customers' wishes on the one hand and giving away freebies etc. on the other hand.

 

Adding value and charging for out-of-the-ordinary services or items is clearly part of our jobs and a sign of a dynamic, flexible and service-oriented business. This will usually be appreciated by customers as long as they agree with the price tag attached to it.

 

Here in Germany, there has been a give-away culture in restaurants for many years, where customers have come to expect free amuse bouches as well as complimentary spirits after the meal. This was originally introduced by mainly Greek and Italian family restaurants when they flooded the country in the late 70s. Yet, rather than representing Mediterranean hospitality, it quickly became commonplace even in German restaurants, because customers had come to expect freebies. And I think it's fair to say that these days, the cheaper the restaurant is the more likely you are to encounter this habit. We all know, of course, that the cost of your giveaways is either added to your menu items or it will eat into your profits. Since retail prices are extremely low in the German restaurant industry, there is very little wiggle room as regards your pricing, so if you can't raise your prices you have to cut corners elsewhere.

 

I've been told many times by people "who mean well" that I should offer complimentary spirits in order to lure more locals in - my restaurant is in a rural area with a great deal of summer tourism and very slow winters. I refuse to do this, as I'm operating on the upper limit of what I can get away with as regards pricing, and I'm absolutely certain that free spirits alone will not attract any more locals anyway. Nevertheless, this freebie culture is rife in this this country, and many restaurateurs feel pushed into giving away drinks or food items so as to attract and/or retain customers. Not a good thing, in my opinion...

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon ODell View Post
 

Being in the hospitality business, its easier to succeed when you are hospitable. Customer requests shouldn't be seen as a problem, but an opportunity to make more money. If they are asking you to go beyond what you normally do, its perfectly reasonable to ask them to pay more than they otherwise would. That helps reduce the "entitlement" attitude that does come from giving things away. I don't understand why anyone would turn down an opportunity to make more money. Maybe its just a matter of changing your perspective.

 

What I've always taught employees in the past is that the default answer to any question is "Yes." if the request is possible. The real question is how much then to charge for it, and knowing how to present that to the customer. Charging more for extra service isn't "nickel and diming" either. It's adding value and being compensated for it. Nickel and diming is charging for things that should be included in one price, like the bread, condiments, and even soda refills if that is the norm where your restaurant is.

 

Back in the day we didn't have to hire a consultant to educate us in these matters.

We pretty much treated everyone (well except that falling down drunk rodeo clown propped up in the corner lol) as if a guest in our homes.

Some times we added upcharge sometimes not.

IMO Brandon is nothing short of genius to ID this niche in the current market and jump on it.

Brandon...what is the first notable change when a place is hitting the skids?

 

mimi

post #13 of 15
Deep discounting is usually a pretty reliable sign that there's trouble. Cruise the restaurants advertising with Groupon or Restaurant.com and you'll notice a good portion of them won't last another year. There are some that are just "trying it to see if it works", but really, having to give up that big a discount on food just says "desperate".

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I think a more apt title would have been "tired owner has a bit of a whine" thanks for the input though.
post #15 of 15

Flipflopgirl is on target with the home comment.  My restaurant is called The Kitchen and we actually tell people when they are effusively thanking us for granting a special request (different cheese, vegan/veggie option, what ever) that if they came to our house and ate in our kitchen at home, would we do any less.  My wife put up this stencil on a wall that I did not like, but it has hit a cord with our customers "May all who enter as guests leave as friends".  Realize that since we are so small we can do this, but our customer loyalty is off the charts.

 

We avoid the half price/buy one get one/discount wine nights because that is just not who we are.  Also, being small I think you need to turn volume to make those worth your time.

 

RH

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