Influence Tips for Running a Restaurant – Part 2
I started this series last week mentioning all the traveling I’ve done during the first half of the year and how it’s given me lots of opportunities to see how restaurants operate. Employing the psychology of persuasion can help customers enjoy the whole dining experience more and that will help the restaurant because of repeat customers. Since my interaction is primarily with the wait staff most of the ideas I share will revolve around them. Have you ever had your server come up and ask, “Does everything taste fine?” Sure, you have and so have I. I’d have to say that’s what I hear more often than not. When I think about it that phrase it reminds me of the person who, when asked how they’re doing typically says, “Not bad.” So bad is the standard and they’re not bad. Many of you might be thinking you know what they mean when they say that and I do, too, but isn’t it more uplifting to hear something like, “Doing great. Thanks for asking”? Sure it is. From The Customer Rules : The 14 Indispensible, Irrefutable, and Indisputable Qualities of the Greatest Service Companies in the World by C. Britt Beemer; “Bill Pulte, founder and chairman of Pulte Homes, explains. ‘At Pulte, we work on the premise that we don’t want to satisfy the customer, we want to delight the customer. Here’s what I mean. When a husband and his wife go to a restaurant for dinner and have a nice meal, they are satisfied with it. So they go home and that’s the end of it. They forget about it. On the other hand if they had a fabulous meal and extraordinary service, what do they do? They tell their friends about it. With this in mind, we don’t think that just being satisfied is good enough.’” Let’s get back to our server. When you go to a restaurant aren’t you expecting the food to be good, great, tasty, delicious, or something else other than just “fine”? I know I am. If I were managing a wait staff my instructions would be that they ask customers, “Does your food taste good?” or “Isn’t the chicken delicious?” or some other phrase that gets customers to think about how good the food is…not that it’s just fine. If customers affirm that the food was good, tasty or something other than fine they’re likely to feel better about the dining experience. That will make them more likely to return and probably tip better. Why do I think they’ll enjoy the dining experience more and tip better? Because the principle of consistency dictates they will. This principle of influence tells us people feel internal psychological pressure to be consistent in what they say and do. If you want to remember that just think “word and deed” because people like their words and deeds to match up. If I affirm that the food is good when asked then it would be inconsistent for me to not come back for more at some point. The server can strengthen those odds by asking, “That’s nice to hear. Do you think you’ll be back to see us?” Again, most people would probably say yes to that question and more will return because of it. I said I think tips will be bigger too as a result. People usually tip based on good service and good food. Poor service or poor food is disastrous for the server who depends on tips for a living. Having them affirm that the food was very good helps move the tipping process along nicely because it’s only consistent to tip well assuming the service was also good.Next week we’ll take a look at more ways to run a restaurant using the psychology of influence. Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
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