Wash your hands like you just chopped chillies

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COVID and Positive Customer Experience Wash your hands like you just sliced chillies

The magic of a COVID and Positive Customer Experience

The other day I tried a new Thai restaurant in my local area. Not only are they new and subsequently struggling to build a loyal following, but they’re trying to do that in the middle of a pandemic. Challenging to say the least. The food was fabulous, the fit out innovative and contemporary (and dare I say "non-standard" for a suburban Thai) – yet the experience was positively underwhelming, if not totally off putting.

Why? You may ask.

The main reason was the COVID safe practises put in place had not kept customer experience top of mind.

Whilst they should be congratulated for ticking all the right boxes in terms of minimizing risk to both staff and the general public it was unfortunately at the cost of the dining experience. Management were so intent on keeping their venue COVID free that they lost sight of why people dine out. People primarily dine out for the "experience". With easy access to home delivery, if it was "just about the food" restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets would be totally empty. It’s the whole experience of dining, being served and needless to say, being out of the house! No one had stopped to think that having your food served by someone who looked like they were attending a crime scene might be a tad off putting for the average punter! (I kid you not, rubber gloves above the elbow, full face visors and disposable surgical wear aprons!) You get the picture.

Whilst I believe all operators need to be absolutely fastidious about COVID safe workplace practises, it did get me thinking about how this must be done primarily with the customer in mind - so as to not detract from the dining experience.

So here are my top tips for a COVID safe, positive customer experience in venues.

1. KISS: no that’s no longer allowed! Keep It Simple Stupid! I’m a big fan for simple streamlined experiences. Given we are registering nearly everywhere we go, ensure your registration process is as simple and streamlined as possible. Just the basics required here people, not your customer’s CV. Make sure you have a designated staff member to facilitate this, especially in venues where older customers may not be as proficient with technology.

2. Use infographics: research has proven time and again that people have a far higher response rate to visual cues than written words. Naturally a bonus for diners where English is not their first language. Simple icons can be accessed online at no cost. Better still use a free resource such as Canva.com to customise your own posters and table top tent cards using professional looking graphic design templates.

3. Use humour: we all need to smile so why not integrate some humour into your COVID safe practises and messaging. Loved this hand washing sign "Wash your hands like you just sliced chillies and now have to take your contacts out!" Some of the best signs have gone viral, what a great brand awareness tool!

4. Communicate: a simple numbered list of steps will tell customers exactly what will happen from the time of arrival until they are seated. The general public is not up to date with the ever changing COVID safe requirements limiting numbers and group sizes and there is bound to be confusion which can lead to awkward moments everyone wants to avoid. Lay out a step by step guide communicating the process from arrival to dining in or taking out. Clear concise messaging will minimise the number of questions customers ask staff, slowing down the sales process.

5. Reward with frogs and snakes! Manage queues and prolonged wait times with inexpensive lollies, chocolates or other individually wrapped confection. Who doesn’t love a freebie? A great goodwill gesture! It’s hard to be grumpy waiting for the person ahead of you to register when you’re chomping through a snake or red frog.

Little or no cost Initiatives

All of these initiatives are low cost or no cost (our area of expertise), yet can have a big impact on business. If turnover is not quite where it was pre-covid, talk to us about supporting sales during this rebuild phase Email Rowena to find out more

This article kindly contributed by Rowena Cannane
from Food-marketing.com.au
info@food-marketing.com.au

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