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Service with a smile

In these tough economical times, it’s more important than ever to focus on offering good customer service

With more fast food outlets opening up every day, consumers have never before had a wider choice of options when it comes to eating out and, therefore, shops that don’t provide good customer service will soon find their customers going elsewhere. Get it right, however, and good customer

service will not only ensure customers return, but also help set you apart from the competition and make your business more sustainable. If you’re running a restaurant as well as

a takeaway it’s probably likely that you’ve got customer service in hand, but for many takeaways it’s easy to overlook on the grounds that customers are in and out so quickly. This is a foolish mistake to make says Steven Pike, director at The Mystery Dining Company, a specialist provider of customer experience evaluation for the hospitality industry. “Unlike a restaurant or café environment,

in the takeaway industry there are fewer interactions between a staff member and the customer so a customer may be prepared to tolerate lower levels of customer service, but only if the food quality is superior and there are limited other options nearby. “However, it’s a risky strategy for business

owners to be complacent towards customer service. We know through our own research that customers are generally prepared to pay a

42 FRY MONTHLY - JUNE 2011 - APRIL 2011

little bit more if they know they are going to get the product they want as well as good service. We also know that if they are made to feel welcome they are more likely to recommend it to others and return again themselves.”

High regard Good customer service is something held in extremely high regard by Tracy Poskitt of award-winning takeaway Fish and Chips at 149. Her and her team have got customer service down to such a fine art that when the mystery judges visited last year as part of the competition’s final audit they were unable to fault them at all. So what’s the key to Tracy’s success? Well, it’s all about setting the ground rules early and leading from the top. “I feel the way to train new people coming into your business is to lead by example and have a set protocol in place for all staff to follow. They get used to the routine and hearing every member of staff saying the same to each customer becomes the norm.” Tracy encourages all her staff to greet every

customer as they step into the shop with a ‘good morning’ or ‘afternoon’ and a smile before they even take their order as this, she says, makes them feel welcome. “We fry to order, so once a customer has placed their order I always like staff to have at least one question ready such


If you think your customer service is head and shoulders above the rest, then why not enter this year’s National Fish & Chip Awards. Customer service is an important aspect of the judging process in a number of award categories, including both the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year, and the Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant Award as well as the Staff Training and Development Award When undertaking shop inspections

for the National Fish & Chip Awards, judges are looking for clear evidence of excellent customer service, how well staff serve customers, how staff interact with customers, whether they listen carefully as orders are placed, if staff offer polite and friendly greetings, how a shop involves the customer in their business and whether they seek and act on customer feedback. If you tick all these boxes, then enter now.

The National Fish & Chip Awards 01889 271604

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