Words Smart Restaurateurs Don’t Use to Describe Their Guests

“Butts in seats”.

There are a lot of things we don’t say any more. We don’t say “waitress,” we don’t say “smoking or non-smoking,” and we certainly don’t say “cash register.”  Nevertheless there are people out there who still say, “butts in seats,” as in, “All we need is more butts in seats” or, “When I update my menu — or execute my marketing and PR plan — I will have more butts in seats.”

The hotel industry has “heads in beds” — equally offensive. Is that how you see yourself when you turn the light out at the end of the day on your vacation or business trip? A head in a bed?

How would your guests feel if they knew they were being talked about that way?

Airlines — which, as a traveler, I am in no position to defend — also can talk “butts in seats.” They appear to take it literally.  I don’t think you would ever want your dining guest to feel like the traveler in row 34 seat F feels.

Refocus Your Energy on the Guest Experience

When you eliminate the idea that your guests, who can choose to eat anywhere — including in their home, office, or grocery store, let alone any of the myriad competitors you face — look like a butt in a seat to you, you take advantage of an opportunity to understand, love, and appreciate the people who make your business go every day.

Stop for a moment and think about this. It is true that Guest Count x PPA = revenue.  That’s math. But language is powerful.

Every word you say creates an energy that people around you pick up on. That permeates your restaurant. So, if you want to maximize the sales, profit, and net worth of your successful multi-unit independent restaurant company, you had better say the right words or you are going to be turning off the people you want to motivate — your guests, crew, vendors, and community.

What are you doing today that is good for the guest? What have you been doing for a long time that your guest does not appreciate?

Here is what you can do:

Four Steps That Lead to Exceptional Customer Experiences

  1. Pull your team together and identify the three best things you do for your guests.
  2. Next, agree on the three things you do that are the least guest friendly.
  3. For each of the latter, review your options to do a better job in responding to guest preferences.
  4. Resolve to take action and make improvements by assigning chosen solutions to individuals, allocate resources, and create timelines and deadlines.