I used to be a chef,sometime ago now. I started as a pot washer and general dogsbody, and ended up as a head chef. I’ve worked as a waiter, barman, maitre d, and now I’ve dined around the world at all levels. I must admit that I prefer to be a customer, but it still amazes me how many restaurants, cafes, hotels etc. just get things wrong.

You can have the greatest food ever, but unless you give good service, you’ll never be anything.
Of course as a chef, it taught me a lot. I worked long hours, got used to high pressure, made sure all the different elements made it to the table together, and dealt with lots of food that had different use by dates. With all this going on, I managed to be always creative.

But it’s the service that brings people back.

I once knew of a company that had one of the best ranges of the time, but they got greedy with their demands, lost friends, and when that great range died, as they all do, they had nobody left that wanted to support them or deal with them. They went bust.

I can’t stand it when somebody takes the time and trouble to come on our exhibition stand to look, and they’re not acknowledged in some way. From chatting to a hello and I’ll be right with you is ok, but not acknowledging their presence isn’t. It’s the same in a restaurant. My pet hate is entering a place with a ‘wait here to be seated’ sign, and nobody is there. I can’t stand being ignored, and taken for granted, and I don’t think it’s right to treat our customers that way either.

You never know who anyone is, so you should talk to everyone. Suits and ties, who really cares anymore,and they’re banned with us in favour of a more casual, friendly and respectful way of helping customers. We are not corporate, we are creative, and actions speak louder than suits.

Take a close look at the company and image you want to be. Suits are fine if that’s appropriate, but
remember to treat customers well or they may not stick around. I’ve known solicitors (more than one firm) that just cannot find it within themselves to return phone calls or emails. It drives me crazy as it’s so simple, but ultimately I’m forced to vote with my feet and find another company to deal with me.

I just won’t tolerate bad service. Nobody should.