Diner Survey Says: Don’t Rush Us
By George Anderson
Diners are looking for speedy service at restaurants. Just don’t make them feel as if they are being rushed out the door if you want them patronizing your eatery again.
A study conducted by two professors at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Breffni Noone and Sheryl Kimes, concludes that the emphasis by restaurants to increase revenue by moving diners in and out may, in the end, be counterproductive.
“Pace is a key element in customer satisfaction,” said Prof. Kimes. “Customers can be happy with the food quality, pricing, the quality of service and the ambiance, but if the pace is off, they might still not be happy.”
Richard Martin, managing editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, told USA Today that findings of the survey of 270 consumers were “a wake-up call” for restaurant operators.
“It puts the onus on restaurateurs to realize it’s also about hospitality and not just a numbers game,” he said.
Still, finding the right pace for serving diners is anything but an exact science. The one time where extreme speed is valued, said Prof. Kimes, is when customers ask for the check. “Once a customer asks for a check, do it as quickly as possible,” she said.
Moderator’s Comment: How can food service operators determine the optimum pace of service that generates both revenues for the restaurant and loyalty
among patrons? Do the findings about pace of service in restaurant have parallels in other categories of the consumer food and retailing businesses? –
George Anderson – Moderator