Dining Experience Pitfalls to Avoid

Dining Experience Pitfalls to Avoid

What are guests really saying about some of their poor dining experiences when staying at a number of luxury and boutique hotels? The food could be exceptional however…

Chris Larsen, Managing Director, BluSky Marketing shares some direct quotes from real guest comments captured within the dining experience section of their online hotel guest experience survey programme. The comments below are a fusion of what real guests are actually saying from a cross section of anonymous hotels, which will only reinforce a number of points already known by leading hoteliers!

1. It’s all in the timing!
“We would regularly sit for 20 minutes before a member of staff asked us if we wanted a drink…[we] sat waiting for two glasses of wine for 25 minutes pre dinner…[it] took over 30 minutes to get someone to bring menus…we had a 8.00pm booking, main courses did not arrive to 9.35pm … the food took so long to come out I lost my appetite…we did not expect our side orders to arrive 7 minutes into our main meal…”

2. What staff?
“Staff nowhere to be seen…the service was disjointed, slow and somewhat strange as the staff seem to follow each other around in a beehive effect…not enough staff were planned to be at the right place at the right time…the staff were overstretched and undertrained…they never came to our table until we asked them…nobody appeared at all interested…we struggled to understand what they were saying…”

3. Table manners please!
“The staff cleared glasses and platters from a single point not serving from the right and clearing from the left – so stretching over guests…we witnessed a waitress kicking the door in a temper… our waiter spoke so loudly that all the other guests stopped eating and starred at our table, most embarrassing…they plonked the food down…”

4. Would you mind?
“Plates & glasses were not cleared…we had to keep asking for drinks…ran out of water, had to keep asking for more and it never being brought to the table… mineral water should be offered as standard…wine was not poured or offered to be poured during our meal… we had to ask for the desert menu…”

5. Where’s the romance?
“The dining room lacked atmosphere and character…seemed to be a functional space, nothing cosy or attractive…no atmosphere at all in the restaurant…we were made to feel very unwelcome as we were placed in a corner with spotlights…it (the restaurant) felt a bit shabby and in need of redecoration…”

In summary “….would not dine here again until there is consistency with both food and service. It seems the hotel is only able to focus on one or the other…like Fawlty Towers…”

The above reminders do not include any reference to pricing, room service, the quality of the food nor matching of a wine for each unique course. These real guest comments provide a flavour of what savvy guests expect as a minimum from luxury and boutique hotels offering a dining experience. Those reminders can easily be rectified by employing the right staff, with the right style consistent with the hotels personality and refined with the appropriate training.

For more information regarding online hotel guest experience surveys, or to view the Luxury Hotel Benchmarking Report (a unique exposé and analysis of some of the UK leading Luxury and Boutique Hotels).

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