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Need for speed

This is not about providing guests with fast internet speeds. For sure, nothing is going to irritate a guest faster than realising they cannot connect to the internet instantly, or that the flow of hot water is like ‘waiting for Godot’. But those are basic offerings that any first-rate hotel will ensure doesn’t happen. It’s just that people today don’t want to wait. They want to arrive at a hotel, receive service within a few minutes, and then proceed to their room. They want instant results.


What creates these expectations? Guests tend to build their expectations based on previous experiences, be it from other hotels they stayed at previously or cafés and restaurants they went to. And of course, they expect to receive the same level of speed without compromising on the quality of the service.


Expectations are also shaped by the internet culture. Today's internet and social media culture has been heavily spoiled by instant fulfillment. Consumers are sharply mobile-focused in virtually everything they do. A mobile-first mantra is spreading worldwide and this has put a lot of pressure on service industries such as hospitality, because people are used to getting things faster.


The concept of waiting is almost nonexistent. Waiting is no longer negotiable but is a trigger for complaining. The moment a customer is kept waiting, it becomes a negative part of his or her visit. They say that when people are in a rush, and today’s average Joe is perpetually in a hurry, they can be aggressive. They may do or say something that can turn the situation for worse.


Hospitality is a high speed business. Delivering first-rate fast and efficient service in the hospitality industry requires working at a fast-pace.  A new level of responsiveness is needed if you are to play the game and stay in the game. Like getting the racing car that came into the pit lane for a tyre change, back-on-track as quickly as possible; where a second longer can mean losing the race. Time is of the essence for today’s customer and this need for speed now seems to be translating for instance, to the dining experience.


No one takes the stairs when they are in a hurry. Naturally, they choose the elevator, so if your guests are checking their watches while waiting for the food or beverage they ordered, there may be an underlying problem.


Those of you who work in the restaurant field may have heard of FHI-FHO; which stands for “full hands in, full hands out.” Servers who excessively “ping pong” back and forth from the counter or dining room to the kitchen are working inefficiently. Not only are they wasting time but also cost money. Managers who know this principle make sure that servers have their hands full as they shuttle to and fro.


There’s this old-age question in restaurant service. Which do customers prefer — a high-quality experience or speedy restaurant service? Don’t be surprised – they want both. Guests expect at least a little bit of waiting period when they arrive. That’s of course unless you are running a quick service restaurant. Most guests understand that it takes a few minutes to prepare their food but that’s it.


Ilzaf Keefahs is a freelance writer who enjoys focusing on hospitality related matters that he is passionate about, and likes to share his views with hoteliers and customers alike. He delves into the heart of hospitality to figure out both customer service and consumer trends that impact the industry



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