What's in a smile

In this edition of food for thought, I would like to focus on the one thing that costs an operator nothing to give but has immense value to those that receive it – A SMILE.

A sincere smile and a kind word means more than you can possibly imagine.  Businesses in any sector and restaurants in particular, that are customer facing should teach this to all their staff.  The best time to use a kind word and a smile is when a restaurant, cafe or bar is seriously under pressure.  When one of the team have called in sick and you know it is going to be a busy day and you undoubtedly will have customers waiting to be served queued outside the door or sat at the bar waiting for a table and you just simply cannot move and serve any faster, that is when a smile and a kind word works wonders.

An example.  There is a cafe.  Every day the same customer visits for a cafe latte.  The cafe always has a buzz, but it is never that busy so as they cannot cope.  However, one Sunday the same customer visits the cafe and there is a queue.  The regular walks in and for the only time in the week knows that he will have to wait for his latte.  The barista sees the long queue of customers still to order and frowns and scowls, muttering something under his breath.

There are two customers in front of the regular who walk out.  The regular himself waits for  1 minute more and yet no one  behind the counter pays him the slightest bit of attention.  Today this customer walks out before being served and walks into the cafe two doors down the street.  There is a queue here too.

The difference is simple.  The barista in this operation makes eye contact with each member of the queue and with a big smile on his face says “I will be with you in a moment”.  From that moment on, the customer is perhaps willing to wait 3 or 4 minutes to be served, because the barista recognised him, smiled and said a kind word or two.

Obviously the wait cannot be excessive, but the barista gave himself valuable minutes to serve the queue whereas the first cafe only lost a sale and most likely a customer.  With the financial situation as it is at the present time, customers tend to be much more careful where they spend their money.  Customers generally will not return to an operation where they received average or poor service.



For more information on our Harris Restaurant Consultant Training programs, please contact Mark Harris on 07930 474 472.

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