The Power of a Good Experience
Restaurant reviews 20 years ago: everyone has an opinion, but the professional critic has the voice. Restaurant reviews today: everyone’s a critic and can publish a review in the time it takes to Uber home after dinner. The internet is a powerful communication tool, but also the world’s easiest way to complain to hundreds or thousands of your closest friends (and some strangers, too). You can’t check your phone without tripping over complaints about delayed flights or bad service.
In this age of lightning-fast feedback, online connectivity allows for all kinds of opinions — and makes it easy to see everyone else’s opinion. These pages of reviews and complaints are a symptom of our evolving expectations. We expect better when we know everyone else expects better.
It’s fair to want good, professional service when you’re paying for it. And it’s natural to want to share when an experience doesn’t live up to your expectations. But because the internet is a free and open place, these critiques can easily be taken out of context. Or, they could be written by someone who you wouldn’t trust beyond an anonymous online page. A one-star review online can cause real damage to a business’s bottom line, and anyone can leave a one-star review for any reason. (A few favorites: “The wait was too long on a Friday night. One star” or, “They charged for sparkling water. One star” or, ‘They were closed on my birthday. Who is closed on a Monday? One star.”*)
That said, this isn’t a post about online reviews (though we could certainly talk about those for a while). Instead, it’s a reminder of the importance of a hospitality-first mentality. In the same way that social networks like Instagram are changing consumer expectations around technology, the ability of anyone to rate and review a business is changing customer expectations about the dining experience. With an anonymous internet to hide behind, it’s easy to post on and on about how one small mishap or off-point detail completely changed the story.
Restaurant professionals know that hospitality drives business. It’s the core. But so many other moving parts can cause distractions, taking away from this core business tenet. Thus, the importance of relying on one system to manage data, orders, relationships, staff, and more. Fast and easy access to all of this data gives restaurant professionals the time to focus on the human touch that takes a dining experience to the next level.
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