Service spy

    Ethos Consultancy reveals results of mystery shopping UAE F&B outlets
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    Click here to see a larger version of the results graph.
    Click here to see a larger version of the results graph.

    This month, the feedback from Ethos Consultancy’s team of mystery shoppers focuses on casual-dining outlets at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates — so how did their customer service stand up under scrutiny?

    This month:
    Chosen restaurants within Mall of the Emirates were:
    • Japengo Café
    • Biella
    • Chili’s
    • TGI Friday’s

    Each mystery shopper is instructed to look out for the following:

    Restaurant appearance
    • Was the F&B outlet clean and tidy?
    • Were the menus clear and easy to follow?

    Sales and service
    • The greeting and farewell received from staff — was it warm and genuine or cold and robotic?
    • The appearance of staff — well groomed or messy and careless?
    • Time taken to be served
    • Did the waiter ask questions to establish the customer’s preferences and needs?
    • Was the waiter knowledgeable about the F&B items on offer?
    • Did the waiter offer the customer their undivided attention while serving?
    • If an item was not available, did the waiter provide other helpful suggestions?
    • Did the waiter attempt to up- or cross-sell by suggesting side dishes or beverages?

    Overall Experience
    • Would you visit this outlet again?
    • Did you leave the restaurant with a positive impression of the outlet?
    • Would you recommend this F&B outlet to friends, family or colleagues?
    • How satisfied were you with the overall quality of service delivered?

    The Expert Analysis:
    Our first month of Service Spy focuses on four popular restaurant chains: Japengo, Biella, Chili’s and TGI Friday’s.

    With many of these outlets dotted across the UAE, we zoned in on the Mall of the Emirates to see how these casual-dining mall concepts fared when compared side-by-side.

    All four restaurants achieved credible scores, but this month’s top performer was Texas-born franchise Chili’s, with an impressive overall score of 90%. New York brand TGI Friday’s came in a close second, scoring 85%, followed by Italian restaurant-café Biella 82% and finally Japengo Café, with 79%.

    Overall, our mystery shoppers were either satisfied or very satisfied with their dining experience across all four outlets. Other great news — all reported they would be happy to visit the restaurant again and recommend these outlets to family, friends and colleagues. All restaurants were clean and tidy and no one had to wait much longer than five minutes to be served. Brilliant!

    So what could have been done better?

    • From a sales perspective, not one outlet received a perfect score for up- or cross-selling. This is a sign that staff may not hold the confidence or product knowledge to make suggestions to customers. Staff must be trained to ensure they are up-to-date with all items on the menu; if they are knowledgable about dishes or have a personal favourite, they are guaranteed to up-sell these items confidently. Why not have your staff choose a favourite each day to focus on selling?

    • Knowing and understanding the correct questions to ask in order to identify customer’s needs is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally — but it is something that can be taught and kept consistent across a brand’s customer service standards. Once it is taught, staff should take a personalised approach so that it does not come across as if it is rehearsed. It is much easier to sell this way.

    • We asked our shoppers to ask their waiters what options were vegetarian. Ideally, customers should not have to ask, as all vegetarian options should be clearly labelled on the menu. Most shoppers received helpful advice about vegetarian options, however some suggested there were too few vegetarian options on the menu. It’s worthwhile conducting surveys on a six-monthly basis, which cover customer satisfaction relating to the variety of options on the menu, as well as service quality satisfaction of course.

    Catch this month's issue of Caterer Middle East for more information

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