Jan Gunnarsson – “Hostmanship: the art of making people feel welcome”

Jan Gunnarsson explains everything about hostmanship at TEDxMaastricht. Not only in hospitality but also in hospitals for example. By the way, some waiters (no names this time, you know who you are) could learn a lot of the loving care and empathy of nurses and other heroes in the hospitals! His book is also very nice to read (review)

“Jan Gunnarsson is a hospitality industry veteran from Sweden who exhibits a refreshing take upon customer service and leadership. Jan believes customer experience is not in the first place about strategies and tactics but about the attitude we bring. Jan talks about how the heart of a business is an attitude of yourself. Hostmanship is the book he wrote with Olle Blohm. Hostmanship really is about giving. It’s about sharing a part of yourself and your knowledge. Jan inspires us by the simple belief that we should never be forgetting that people who have contacted you are an extension of yourself. It is about understanding that, in that moment, you are an important part of her life. Not only because you have the answer to her question, but you are also the person she has chosen to turn to. Jan Gunnarsson will give us a completely new view upon care and upon service in healthcare.”

Service Quality for CrazyWaiters

The regulars on this blog know that I have a passion for Service Quality. Today I had an inspiring talk of Mrs. Quality of the hotel where I work at. Normally I’m not keen on listening to these stories (often they think we’re living in a fairytale where everything is already perfect) but this was a pretty good talk with a lot of passion without closing the eyes for the daily reality. Full of inspiration I collected “everything” I already know in a new presentation ūüôā

You can continue with the Service Pyramid, the Alter Ego eg. Mission, vision and values of the CrazyWaiter and the numerous posts in this category.

You can also click here to go the the Crazy Waiter’s Service Quality knowledge base with a lot of articles about this subject!

DINESERVE : How to evaluate a restaurant

A restaurant

I already wrote earlier about the SERVQUAL model. This model has been adapted¬†into a questionaire called DINESERVE to see what guest think of a restaurant¬†¬†(#/*).¬†There are 29 items, each judged on a scale from 1 to 7.¬†DINESERV items fall into five¬†service quality dimensions. Reliability was found to¬†be the most important dimension, followed by¬†tangibles, assurance, responsiveness, and empathy. After the jump you’ll find the questionaire!

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Smart CrazyWaiters

Of course you all know already my ServQual knowledgebase and read the posts with the results of scientific research, but you can even get smarter with this very interesting free e-learning course of one of *the* hotelschools in the world: Cornell School of Hotel Administration.

Encompassing hotels & resorts, restaurants, airlines, and numerous related sectors, hospitality is everywhere. This makes hospitality management a red-hot opportunity for those with the desire, ambition, and keen interest in the business of service to make a career of it.

See this page to find all the information and a link to the e-course starting at February 4, 2015!

36 questions to fall in love

Still from  36 questions the movie by Sean A. Rafter
Still from ’36 questions: the movie’ by Sean A. Rafter

A happy CrazyWaiter is a good CrazyWaiter. And what makes you happy? Love! All you need is love. And how to get love? According to a study you just have to answer 36 questions with a potential partner and after that look each other in the eyes for three minutes. Et voilàààà.

So do it with your favorite collegue (or guest but don’t tell your maitre ūüėČ) The questions (and sources) are¬†after the break!
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The elements of Service Quality (1)

We’re delivering quality. But what is it? In very short it is the difference between expectation and that what you get. If you get more than expected, the quality is high, and vice versa.

If you ask people about quality you’ll get a lot of words. If you put all the terms which come up ¬†in a box and sort them in groups, you’ll find five groups. Clever people (scientists) speak about dimensions. They are easy to remember with the word RATER

Reliability (26%) Reliability is the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately. Do we deliver what we promise?
Tangibles (10.8%) Tangibles are the physical facilities, equipment, and appearance of personnel.
Assurance (32.3%) Assurance is guaranteeing the process of performing services
Empathy (10.1%)  The care and personalized service given
Responsiveness (20.8%); With regard to the dimension of responsiveness, the quick problem-solving ability of the service personnel is a good opportunity to impress the consumer

To be noted is that the percentages are valid for hot spring hotels. But my feeling says its the same for restaurants and other businesses. A lot of managers think that the Tanglibles are very important, but they really should take care of the capability of the employees on assurance, reliability and responsiveness.
The term RATER comes from (Parasuraman et al., 1988). The weights of every dimension are from Hsie, 2007

How to get more tips… use makeup!

We knew it already but now it’s researched another time: waitresses with makeup have more tip than those without makeup.

In this study the effect of cosmetics on tipping behavior and the link between behavior and judgment on the physical attractiveness of waitresses wearing or not wearing cosmetics were tested. A female waitress with or without makeup was instructed to act in her usual way with her patrons. Results showed that the makeup condition was associated with a significant increase in the tipping behavior of male customers. It was also found that the effect of makeup on tipping behavior was mediated by the perception of the physical attractiveness of the waitress, but only when considering male customers.

Read it here
(NB In the earlier research there’s a difference in the number of women who tip (or don’t) for a waitress with makeup vs no makeup. The CrazyWaiter doesn’t have a explanation for that, he emailed the author already for that. Until then: wear make up and give the bill to the men on the table :))

Blondes do it better !

I don’t know if the title is really true, but apparently they get better tips. Today I talked with collegue E. about the fact that blond girls earn more tips than brunettes and boys, and that it was researched. This year it was researched by a student, Melissa Galm, a 27-year-old finance student at Holy Family University:

Throughout March, they reported their tips from each shift. The two blondes consistently earned more than their darker-haired coworkers. Then on April 1, they all were asked to switch their hair color – blondes going dark, brunettes and redheads going blond – and continue to report their daily take.

One of the blondes was removed from the study because she did not report all her tips and was always dying her hair a different color, Galm said.

Eight of the other compliant nine, however, began experiencing hair bias within a week. All the newly blond waitresses received higher tips, averaging a 5 percent increase. The one blonde who turned brunette, however, saw no noticeable drop in earnings.

Read more at Golden locks: Waitresses’ tips rose when hair changed from brunet to blond.

Also a more scientific research by tipguru Michael Lynn showed this relation:

Moreover, the waitresses’ tips varied with age in a negative, quadratic relationship, increased with breast size, increased with having blond hair, and decreased with body size.

So now you wait what to do… dye your hair or be happy with your blond locks!

B = C x O x M

Most readers know that I like reading about scientific research, but a lot of knowledge can be explained very easy. Today we have the formula

Behaviour = capacity x opportunity x motivation

  • Behaviour is what people do, or what you want them to do
  • Capacity is what people can do. You can give trainings for that. But never forget that you also have to work on the other two factors in the model!
  • Opportunity is what people are able to do. The management has to create enough (human!) resources, good conditions, tools and materials to make the work possible
  • Motivation is what people want to do. I start to believe that most people are motivated, but are demotivated by the management. Motivation can be stimulated, however by (1) making clear what‚Äôs in it for them, (2) being involved, (3) providing rewards, (4) giving feedback and (5) stepping into the other person‚Äôs shoes.(*)

The formula is¬†originally¬†from Lilian Ripple (Chicago) in her 1955 paper ‚ÄúMotivation, Capacity, and Opportunity as Related to the Use of Casework Service: Theoretical Base and Plan of Study.‚Ä̬†. The image is taken here.

Handling complaints for CrazyWaiters

This blogpost on the very interesting¬†blog of Steve Curtin made me realize what I already knew secretly: Most people don’t complain because they like to complain, want reduction or to try make your life difficult. Instead of that¬†95% of the complaints are because the guest experiences something¬†different¬†than what (s)he expected on the basis of the price they pay, the image of the restaurant or what (s)he has heard or read on the internet. In fact this is the very basis of all ServQual models. A well know formula is Quality = Perceived Service – Expectations.

If you keep this in mind, it’s much easier to handle complaints and to solve them. Let me remind you of some basic (well-known) rules

  • Don’t take it personal and don’t be too defensive
  • Paraphrase (repeat in other words) to see whether you have a full understanding of the problem
  • Show comprehension:’I understand that you..‘. Use the I-form as much as possible to show that you feel responsibility to solve the problem.¬†Apologize if applicable
  • Ask what the guests expected/expects or wants. Often this little question (what do you expect me to do) is the beginning of the guest’s satisfaction
  • Solve it yourself! If you receive the plaint, it’s yours and your responsibilty to solve it. Of course you can give the problem to another person (a collegue if you don’t have time or your manager if it’s beyond your limits) but it stays your¬†responsibility and checkback if everything is allright at the end
  • Use the complaint as input for improvements in your service, food or procedures

Flavour styles

Roman√©e-Conti 2003 & 2005 for only ‚ā¨10.000 !

Normally you’d describe a wine by his taste or terms on a¬†flavour wheel. Peter Klose, a luxury restaurant owner and founder of the Academy for Gastronomy has desscribed a new flavour theory to describe wines and match them with food. In this blogpost I describe this system very briefly. Maybe too briefly, so when you’re interested, I advice you to read the extensive English summary which can be found here or even better the original thesis (which can’t be found online, but maybe in the university library nearby).

The central part is mouthfeel. There are three parameters to describe food and beverages in this system

  • Contracting mouthfeel
    Acidity and saltiness trigger a contracting response in the mouth. Also drying (roughing, puckering) effect in the mouth caused by tannins (red wine) and other bitter tasting elements (as in coffee, tea or unsweetened chocolate) is also characteristic of contracting mouthfeel.
  • Coating mouthfeel
    Creamy, fatty substances and those containing a significant amount of dissolved sugars coat the mouth. In other words, they leave a layer of fat or sugar behind. In beverages, alcohol and sugars are viscous, coating elements. They coat the mouth, and this coating may influence the way in which the mouth perceives the next mouthful of food it encounters. Proteins also produce a coating mouthfeel, especially amino acids and some chemical substitutions like gelatin.
  • Flavour richness
    How more taste, how higher the flavour richness

Flavour profile

Foods and drinks can be classified with the three above-mentioned parameters. Contracting mouthfeel, coating mouthfeel and flavour richness can all be scaled from low to high.  Combining these parameters give 8 combinations, which is visualized in the three-dimensional model below: the flavour styles cube

flavour style primary flavour factors
contracting mouthfeel coating mouthfeel flavour richness
1. neutral Low Low Low
2. round Low High Low
3. balance fresh High High Low
4. fresh High Low Low
5. powerful/dry Low Low High
6. rich Low High High
7. balance ripe High High High
8. pungent High Low High

Practical use
Flavour is what wines and food have in common. Thus, the same descriptors can be used. This leads to new guidelines for the paring of food and wine. Basically, good combinations are found if the flavour profile of wines and foods resemble one another. In other words:

  • Contracting wines go well with contracting foods
  • Coating wines go well with coating foods
  • The flavour richness of wines and foods should be about the same
  • The rule of thumb when composing a menu is to progress from contracting to coating foods and wines, and from lower levels of flavour richness to higher levels.

Culinary success factors

The research of mr. Klosse also showed that there are six characteristics for a successful combination of¬†product¬†characteristics of a restaurant dish. (‘palatability’). When applied to the recipes in a hospital in Danmark, the patient satisfaction with regard to food has risen very much.

  • the name and presentation must fit the expectation
  • the aroma should be appetising and appropriate to the food
  • there should be a good balance of flavour components in relation to the food
  • the savoury, ‚Äėdeliciousness‚Äô factor, umami (also called the fifth basic taste), must be present
  • the mouthfeel of the dish should offer a mix of hard and soft textures
  • it must be characterised by high flavour richness

Source and copyright: Peter Klosse: Food and wine matching Рa new approach, 15 Oct 2008, retrieved at http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a200810141.html at 11 March 2011. Outline by the CrazyWaiter

CrazyWaiter’s ServiceQuality Knowledgebase

It might not be a surprise that the CrazyWaiter is interested in Service Quality. So much that he collects scientific articles about this subject, which he has put in a database over the years. There are also articles about tipping and other hospitality related subjects.

Yesterday he read a discussion where somebody told that there is no research about hospitality. “One couldn’t be more wrong”, he thought and skipped a night sleep to build a webbased shell around the database and altough it’s still under construction it’s ¬†ready enough ¬†to proudly present…

CrazyWaiter’s Service Quality Knowledge base

Use the search function to find what you’re looking for or browse a bit. Features will be added in the future!

The dancing waiter

A part of being Crazy Waiter is to know how to move. Being in a restaurant with a lot of princesses, I waltz sometimes with the kids. Or I do stupid discodance moves. It’s only a problem that I don’t have a talent for dancing (it took me ages to learn the Mickeydance – and still it looked aweful), but hey… as long as the kids laugh it’s good enough…

Also in private life, after work it can be very helpful. Scientists have found out which movements are most attractive for women. So watch carefully and imitate and the most beautiful girls will be yours ūüôā

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Creating memories

Commodities are fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences are memorable

The main principle is that experiences are personal and individualized

This quote from The Experience Economy gives exact what it’s all about! We as crazy waiters want to give the client something they remember by doing that what the table wants (or doesn’t want). Of course it’s not about us but we definitely make part of it.

I serve a lot of young families. One I realized that life, time and statistics will do there work. In ten years 30% of the parents may be divorced. 10% of the families have to deal with serious illnesses. Every family will have his problems and cicatrices. But hopefully that unforgettable holiday will always be remembered with those amazing evenings in the hotelrestaurant. We are part of it. And we can make it or break it!

The article is a must-read! (via marcomboekrecensies.com in Dutch).

Photo: A Smile With Every Meal by Andrew Stawarz / CC BY-ND 2.0

Make up yourself… for more tips

We waiters knew it already, but know it has been proved scientifically: waitress with makeup receive more tips and the amount is higher, but only from male clients. They have done the research with 247 guests (186 males and 98 females). They have been served by two waitresses. One day they used make up and another day they didn’t . Follow the link to read the exact method and results. The percentage of customers who gave tips increases when the waitress had makeup. (by the male as female guests, but only the increase by male clients seems to be significant. I have to check it out with some people more clever than this crazy waiter…) Also the amount increases (given by male guests). Read the whole research here.

So we conclude in the words of the researchers:

These results have some practical implication for females employees in bar or restaurant. They confirm the effect of servers’ physical attractiveness on the amount of tips earned especially for waitresses. It would be interesting for women’s restaurant employees to use facial makeup to enhance their physical attractiveness and then, in return, to enhance their incomes especially in bars or restaurant where men used to go.

So ladies: now you know what you have to do girls tomorrow!