Think GEM

Think GEM


End on a high

End on a high

One of the greatest bugbears for restaurant managers can be seeing members of staff missing the opportunity for positive interaction when bringing the bill to guests. Sometimes, it can feel as if staff switch off towards the end of the meal, an error which could prevent a guest's experience from ending on a high.

In a recent HGEM survey, 49% of guests reported that a good experience had turned bad due to poor management of the bill and a frustratingly slow payment process. So, what can hospitality operators do to avoid this?

Firstly, staff must be encouraged to consistently keep an eye on guests towards the end of a meal in order to pick up on any signals that the bill is required. Whether the guests are a couple on a pre-theatre dinner date, a party enjoying a business lunch or parents keen to head home before the little ones get bored, there is little more irritating than finding the staff are nowhere to be found when you need the bill or having to ask more than once for it.

When it comes to the payment process, the focus should be on ensuring the process is speedy and stress free. In order to dissipate any awkward silence, this is the obvious time for staff to spark up conversation; perhaps mentioning an upcoming special offer or menu change to encourage a repeat visit or enquiring about any recommended dishes or wines enjoyed during the meal as well as the experience as a whole. Time and again, our research shows us that guests find conversations with staff the most memorable when they are organic and genuine - this is the ideal time to create an impression of attention and care.

In HGEM research, guests tell us that service at the point of payment impacts on their overall enjoyment and one in three guests say that the handling of the bill and speed of payment are the biggest factors in defining their overall impression of the guest experience. Restaurants that don't pay attention to this crucial part of the process could well find that any dissatisfaction is reflected in the tip. Remember, there's no point in offering a warm welcome if the goodbye is perfunctory and impersonal.

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