Is your Restaurant customer–ready?

Sanctity of the food
Sanctity of the food: delivering the promise of good, tasty, edible food

by Ana Marie “Alu” Aran, |

With the restaurant scene booming in Manila and in key provincial cities, it is always a pleasure for me to visit the new ones, sample their food and check their service delivery. In each place, I put on both my diner hat (I am after all, a customer first) and my food writer hat. I look for things in the restaurant that will delight me as a diner and a unique offering to make it an interesting place.

As a diner, there are 3 things I expect any restaurant to deliver:  Sanctity of the food, Cleanliness and the Service delivery.

Sanctity of the food: There is no gray area on this matter. It is delivering the promise of good, tasty, edible food. Hot food must be served hot. Cold food must be served cold. Microwaving a kesong puti will make the cheese tough and plastic-like (Hello, dispatcher?!). Serving a burnt bibingka and saying “ganoon po talaga yan” is insulting to the customer who for years have dined and enjoyed numerous bibingkas in the same restaurant. An upscale restaurant once served me a spoiled cheesecake and the service team seemed clueless. These are the basic things that will make the restaurant eventually lose business and clientele. Keep the quality of your food sacred. Simple.

How clean and safe is your food?
How clean and safe is your food?

Cleanliness:  Flying insects have no place anywhere in the restaurant.  A fly inside the place is a quick indicator that the place is dirty and as my mind tends to move laterally, so must be the food.  Sticky floors, spilled morsel of rice or liquid on the chair and smelly tables (from soiled table rags the wait staff insist on using) are just a few of what the diner shouldn’t experience.  A thorough cleaning must be done each day before the store opens. And lastly, please do not sweep the floor while there are customers.  It is not food safe but is impolite and totally unacceptable.

Service delivery:  The dining staff, as front liners of the restaurant, must be trained – and trained well.  If they cannot answer the questions “What are your bestsellers?” and “What are the main ingredients in the dish?” then, they have to go back and relearn. The staff must also advice the customer for any delays in serving time. Any diner has the right to walk out of the restaurant after waiting for 30minutes, with neither advice nor food in sight. It is also disappointing whenever the server fails to stand beside the customer they are serving to set down the food. Cross-over serving is plain rude and an accident waiting to happen. As indicated in a restaurant survey, 90% of customers will not return to the restaurant due to bad service.

Admittedly, there are other factors that can make or break a restaurant but these basic “rules” are enough to keep the customers happy and willing to come back to the establishment.

* * *

Ana Marie “Alu” Aran

Alu is a partner at Courage Asia (business consultancy firm & foodservice event organizers), an adjunct faculty at Enderun Colleges and a food and lifestyle writer. She also a Contributing Editor, Managing Editor for and a resource person & speaker on marketing, event management and parenting.