Ken Burgin

How ‘Quality Signals’ Silently Promote Your Restaurant and Bar

They’re the small, carefully chosen elements that, one by one, tell people that this is a quality business. Different people will notice different things, so one won’t be enough. Here are some of the ‘quality signals’ I’ve noticed in the last few months at different restaurants, cafes and bars…

  • Fresh flowers – a big bunch, not a small one
  • Good quality uniforms and aprons in staff – looking new, not washed 1000 times. Matching your staff, who are fresh and well-groomed!
  • Staff behaviour – open, friendly and attentive. Focused on the customer, not on each other or their phones.
  • Paintwork clean and unscratched, and floors not scuffed. Wooden floors can be a big problem.
  • Table surfaces polished and not scratched or worn – they need regular replacement or treatment
  • Lighting is warm and the sources usually invisible – no sight of the fluoros in the kitchen
  • Quality tableware – cups, plates, cutlery, napkins and glassware. Water glasses get pitted after hundreds of washes – replace them
  • Good quality coffee machine – it tells us there’ll be good coffee
  • Polished bottles and shelves behind the bar – thorough cleaning
  • Nice view of the kitchen – tidy, clean and organised
  • A visit to the bathroom is pleasant – clean, dry, freshly painted, no smells and a hook for your bag. These little rooms get a lot of use and need industrial-strength fittings eg toilet paper dispensers and deodorising systems
  • The cake display – trays full of delicious treats, hopefully made on the premise
  • Menus freshly printed or laminated – no torn corners
  • Phone answering and email replies – prompt, articulate and helpful

Missing or wrong signals can undermine or sabotage an otherwise-professional operation – sometimes they could be called Yuk Factors. What needs changing?

4 thoughts on “How ‘Quality Signals’ Silently Promote Your Restaurant and Bar”

    1. Yes – totally agree. I need to work on the negative version of this – a list of ‘yuk factors’. It will be a long list…

  1. Great thoughts. Anne Nylander always advocates taking a trip to the bathroom to really judge a space. Is it tiny and cramped? Is it unkept? Is it cold and stark? The bathroom reflects the “behind the scenes” of the business in many ways. If employees don’t want to take care of the bathroom, what else aren’t they taking care of? If management doesn’t take concern of the restroom, are there other areas of the business they aren’t concerned about?

    1. Totally agree – planning a blog post just on bathroom spaces. So much can go wrong, or right. Good observation that it reflects the mind of the management…

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