Faster Please: What Every Customer Wants Right Now.
No, not cheaper prices – that’s easy to find and often disappointing. What people want is for things to be fast.
Not rushed, or shortcuts that reduce quality; but efficient, quick, no time wasting – so we can spend more time doing important things instead of unnecessary waiting. It opens up extra options for busy people and really pushes along the word-of-mouth marketing. When it’s missing, everyone complains
What can you change to create more speed and efficiency?
Faster order taking – the server is available when the customer is ready. Enough staff with the equipment they need to process orders quickly, like hand-held terminals connected to the POS, and mobile payment terminals. Update the key layout on your POS for faster entry.
Alert staff who move quickly – you know who’s fast, and the ones that don’t have it. It’s not about running but being snappy and aware. Is it time to have a ‘big talk’ with some of the slow-movers – if they’re unlikely to change, move them on to another task.
Simplify the menu and beverage list – customers love that huge tapas list and cocktail range, but do they slow everything down? Is there enough glassware? You have your own version of bottlenecks, so check your POS reports and delete items that no-one will notice. Kitchen and bar staff will have plenty of advice on this.
Kitchen equipment that cooks quickly – more powerful heating equipment means faster recovery times. Add automation where possible – it’s definitely time to trial digital screens for kitchen orders. Rearrange benches, get more fry pans, a second stick blender and more large pots. You may just need a handyman to add some more hooks and shelves.
Beverage equipment that dispenses quickly – is the two-group coffee machine coping with busy times, or is it time to upgrade? Explore milk dispensers like Ubermilk and automatic tamping machines like the Puqpress. Make sure your spirits and garnishes are arranged for speedy drink mixing, and beer fridges organised for rapid service.
Explore Kiosk options – will you be the first in your street to let people order on an iPad at the table? Or at a kiosk instead of waiting in a long line. This is especially popular with a younger demographic who have no issues about it being ‘impersonal’. The cost of this technology is falling so why not give it a try.
Let customers book and order online – these days, it’s what most people want to do, so make it fast and easy for them. Can they order Gift Vouchers and souvenir products online without calling?
Let people find all the information they need online – if you want a quote for a large party, you don’t want to wait for tomorrow or when someone calls back; people want the information immediately. Make it easy and feature the menus and party options online, with a list of all the Frequently Asked Questions they might have.
Be easy to Google on a phone. Up to 70% of your web traffic is coming from mobile searching – how does your site look? Google gives priority to websites that are mobile-optimised – do you come up on page 1 of the tiny screen? If not, this can be improved.
Fast phone answering and responses – customers will ring any time they want – even in the middle of lunch! Having a standby system – someone in the office, or a phone service like OfficeHQ – ensures they don’t go unanswered. If messages go to your voicemail, make sure you respond to them within the hour.
Fast email replies – set up an auto-response saying ‘we received your email and will be in touch shortly’ then do get back to them within 2 hours. You may need to review what has to change to make this possible. Remember, email can be managed from anywhere.
The Speed that Staff Appreciate:
Decisive management – don’t keep saying ‘we’ll do it soon’ if you know they’ll still be waiting for change in 6 months’ time. Be a speedy and efficient boss – repairing equipment, buying essential supplies, trying new products, filling vacancies. Staff notice how you handle these, and are impressed, or depressed, so over to you!
Fast roster and pay processing – not having to come into get pay slips, phone up or check the schedule is an added benefit for your staff. Time to upgrade to an online system like Deputy, Tanda or Ento for rostering and payroll – staff love the ease and you’ll love the control.
Faster internal communication – bad news travels very quickly, but what about essential information like shift changes, menu updates, booking policies and good news about reviews and staff achievements? Set up a number of different channels so everyone has the news at the same time. SMS is an essential part of this mix, but you can also introduce internal WhatsApp or Facebook Group.
Don’t forget Suppliers – they love their bills paid quickly! If you want better negotiation muscle, take this issue off the table – quick, reliable payments open up a new line of communication.
Ready to improve your business speed and efficiency? Here’s how to improve your Staff Training and Improve Internal Communication in the business. Better Checklists make it easier for people to work quickly, and well-planned Cafe Workflows ensure customers are served quickly.