Sunday, 15th December 2019
IN MY OPINION Article
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This Month's Magazine
Treating the customer as a nuisance is not conducive to good business - by Count de la Perelle

Treating the customer as a nuisance is not conducive to good business - by Count de la Perelle

Firstly let me thank all the people who have contacted our office with regard to last month’s main article, ‘Let’s move to Spain and open a bar…. It’s easy’ . .

It is interesting to note that a great deal of people who have contacted us and some that I have spoken to all seem to have noticed the same problems with some Bars, Café’s and Restaurants.

During the recent Christmas break and New Year holiday, I had occasion to visit more than one Restaurant and Bar/Café establishment in our area. I have to say that I was amazed to see that some, not all, but some establishments were still trading at all.

What is it about some owners and Managers that they think all they have to do is open their doors and the public will rush in? Guess what! It does not happen. Also when you do have Customers that choose to patronize your Restaurant or Bar you have to look after them. Remember that good recommendations may travel but bad news travels further and much faster.

On a visit to one such establishment for a coffee and snack I found that service was not the most important thing on the agenda. Firstly on entering the Café, I was ignored and nobody came to show me to a table, so I selected one that I fancied on the terrace with a good view of the marina. It was almost 10 minutes before the waitress in this almost empty Restaurant
eventually bothered to inquire whether I would like to see the menu or make an order. Even when she did make the effort I felt from her attitude that she was bored and fed up and was just waiting for the end of her day. I ordered my coffee and snack and apart from the moment she brought me my order I had no further contact with her again. I was never asked if I wanted anything else. Even when I asked for the bill I had to go to the counter and find someone who faffed about for a few minutes finding my order and then had no change and had to find someone to go and get some. The coffee also cost me nearly 2 euroÂ’s. I will leave the moan on that one for another day. I was in Duquesa port after all!!!

What is the matter with the Management and Staff at these establishments. Do they not realize that being polite and friendly is all part of the service industry they are in! When a customer enters the premises for a meal or a drink, they are hoping and perhaps expecting an enjoyable experience with friends or family and need the manager, or person on duty, to notice them
quickly, to respond to their wishes and make them feel comfortable.


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Surely someone should always be ready to greet them, show them to a table, arrange for them to have drinks or whatever they request and give them a menu whilst offering advice on any specials that may be on offer at that time. Most of the establishments I have visited recently seem to expect the Customer to be there and wait. Staff should always have a friendly smile and the Restaurant or Bar manager should always appear to be interested in the job in hand.

After a while the server should return to take the order showing an interest in the customersÂ’ choice and advise where necessary. Then when the food or beverage is ready, collect it promptly paying attention to any advice the Chef may have regarding the dish or its accompaniments. If the Chef is a qualified professional then he or she will know what they are
talking about.

The Chef and the team in the Kitchen are the most important part of any restaurant business, without a good Chef and delicious well prepared food then a restaurant does not have a chance. Also important are the front of house staff. The Restaurant manager and the team on duty are there to entertain and care for the customers and to make their visit one
to be kindly remembered.

Interestingly enough, most of the feedback we have received, concerns the front of house staff. The nonchalant attitude to customers for example. The chit chat amongst themselves and the disinterested attitude towards Customers seems to be a major gripe. Treating the customer as a nuisance is not conducive to good business.

I feel I should declare an interest here. I was born into the Hotel and catering business as my Parents ran an Hotel. I have spent over 40 years in the business and was trained by top Managers in top businesses. I have worked for many companies including Grand Metropolitan, Cunard, The British MOD and the Royal family. I have also owned my own Hotels and Restaurants both in UK and in Spain. I know the business! It hurts me to see so many people failing in an industry that can be so rewarding if operated correctly. Count De-La-Perrelle



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