5 business lessons from my favourite restaurant
There's this nice local restaurant I like to eat at from time to time. It's a bit far from where I live and work so I only go there when I have the opportunity even though I don’t really mind the distance. For every visit, I get the same quality of service and food. I have come to expect this consistency from them every time, something that isn't particularly common with small scale businesses in Nigeria. As much as I love their food, I love their service even more. The process put in place has definitely enhanced their service as the key thing is customers are served seamlessly without any delay in the process. In fact, the system is so effective that the personnel do not have to smile at you to make you happy. The total time spent from the moment you step in to the moment you pay for your food doesn’t take more than 2 or 3 minutes.
How their process works
Once you get into the restaurant, you walk up to the customer assistant who will serve your food in the portions you want. This doesn't take much time. For example, I usually buy local dishes like amala* or pounded yam. I buy my usual three wraps and my order is passed on to the next assistant who will serve me soup. My meat or fish is served also served at this point. The next step in the process is going to the payment point to pay, the food is collected here after payment.
Here are some business lessons I learned from this restaurant:
- An Effective System Ensures Customer Satisfaction
The manager successfully devised a system that works well even without her supervision. I have never seen her around, neither do I know what she looks like. I don't need to. Her services are so good, I never have to look for her to make a complaint (or even a suggestion).
- Your Business Speaks for Your Person
Her restaurant tells a lot about the kind of person she is. And that is the same thing that goes for all who run small businesses. Your works and results tell a lot about who you are. People do not need to meet you, the manager or owner, in person before they draw conclusions about you. Your services provide enough information to form an opinion already. Hence, we must learn to put the best possible systems, services and products in place. Good systems will produce good results and this in turn, will inspire positive opinions and feedback.
- Good Services Count as Free Advertising
Good services and systems that make customers happy will be a good motivation for them to tell others about your store or restaurant. I, for one, haven't stopped talking about how much I like that restaurant. I talk about it to all my friends that care to listen. However, if one's services aren't good enough, the feedback from customers will say just that.
- Where Your Business is Located Determines Much of Its Success
Another great thing I learned from this restaurant is the importance of location. The restaurant is located along a popular motorway, and situated around banks and office complexes. Everyone who doesn't come to the office with food in a flask can just walk down to the restaurant, eat and go back to work.
- I Learned How Customer Service Inspires Loyalty
Finally, I learned that good customer service inspires customer loyalty. It didn't just show me that customer service inspires customer loyalty (I knew that already), it gave me the first hand experience of how it does so. That experience can only be gained when you integrate these lessons into your business.
In conclusion, as Ben Franklin said: "Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning." The essence of this article is to provoke you to assess your business and the systems you have in place. Look for ways to grow so those words can make meaning to you. Also, Kim Collins said, "Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection." Perfection may not be possible, but improvement always is.