How’s your service – efficient or effective?

My experience at a local restaurant recently prompted me to reflect on the difference between an ‘efficient’ business and an ‘effective’ one.

After showing us to our table, our waitress efficiently cleared off surplus crockery and ensured we had water in our glasses. But she missed an opportunity to offer us a pre-dinner drink – lost revenue, maybe $15.

The menus had efficiently been left at our tables, so we began our perusal and discussion about the options. A few minutes passed and a waitress asked if we were ready to order but we were still undecided. Off she went, missing an opportunity to explain the menu including the possibility to recommend a ‘signature’ dish, entrees or more profitable courses. Lost revenue around $15.

A waiter, possibly a part owner, later came and took our order. He made suggestions of side dishes to go with the mains – a good move as the layout of the menu may have led to us missing those. Revenue recovered around $15.

Our meal was delivered without delays and the service and the staff were all efficient. As we were coming to the end of our mains, the restaurant was starting to empty and we felt the temperature start to cool. The heating had been turned off, again very efficient.

What about dessert? I had earlier noticed a pistachio ice-cream on the menu which I was tempted by, but it was clear the staff wanted to pack up so we got the bill and left. Missed revenue $25. The staff could also have served dessert, tea or coffee with some friendly conversation to ensure we left with a smile. In our case, the ending was efficient but not as happy as it could have been.

As an accountant, I couldn’t help thinking of revenue missed at our table multiplied by 50 patrons, which would amount to several hundred dollars every night!

So how’s your service – efficient and about you, or effective and about delivering a superior customer experience?

About the Author
Accru National
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