We all know the feeling, it’s the end of the weekend, it’s been a busy one and you get home and realise there is no food in the fridge. There is the option of takeout, going to the supermarket, eating some questionable cheese in the back of the fridge or heading down to the local pub for an old time favourite pub tradition, the traditional schnitzel, chips and gravy. It may not be the Sunday night thing for you, but in many Australian households going to the pub one night in the week or the month when the fridge is running low is a practice that many partake in.
As much as it is an Australian institution to head down to the pub for some local fare, the question needs to be asked. Is the standard pub meal a dying Aussie tradition?
Are modern diners and millennials bucking the trend of the traditional pub meals for more health conscious options or are they just bored of the norm?
The industry has seen a decline in the popularity of fast food outlets, causing venues to adapt to a changing market, and in turn offer options such as salads and healthy burgers to get customers through the doors. We’ve also seen an increase of healthier burgers and takeaway joints pop up around the place, so it stands to reason that pubs should be following suit and adapting to the change in the food trends that modern, discerning diners are demanding.
It seems that many venues are still going with the same style of pub meals, with only some gastro-style pubs branching out. We often work with clients who are hesitant to try something different on their menus. Trying to steer them away from the traditional norm is hard, and trying to get them to see the change in what the customer wants is even harder. With marketing shifts to social media, and Instagram feeds that are filled with healthy food options and green juices, doesn’t the industry need to adapt to stay current with their target market?
Personally I don’t think that pubs need to move too far away from the traditions of old (If they do it well), but I do think they need to adapt, be more brazen about menu choices, more conscious about the variety they offer, and try doing something different. It only needs to start with a special, or one dish on the menu, but moving away from the traditional Schnitzel, Steak and Burger menus can be a great thing in providing a point of difference. Something to think about.
Let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you.
Having worked in restaurants and cafes for a number of years, I find some of the little outdated details of customer service really interesting… one classic example is when restaurants won’t split bills for small or large groups.
Now I’m not talking about itemising every last dollar a customer spends when they’re in a big group, generally leaving the last person to pay contributing more because one of the friends forgot the bowl of fries and extra soft drink they ordered, I’m talking about making it easy for customers to pay different amounts as they like. It is common practice nowadays for people to walk around with no cash on them. I for one very rarely have cash, and with the ease of tap and go credit card transactions, it really doesn’t take that much more time.
It has always been a bug bear of mine….. Enjoying a delicious meal with friends and having a great night with great service only to find that the venue won’t split the bill, dampening my overall experience for the night. Usually one of three things happens… One person puts the whole amount on their card and deals with trying to get money back off everyone (awkward), some of us leave the restaurant to go get money out from an ATM (even more awkward) or there is an (especially awkward) conversation with wait staff about trying to put it on several cards. The wait staff have heard it all before and find it uncomfortable, and it leaves a very sour taste in the mouth of the diners in what would have otherwise been a great dining experience.
I know venues are charged transaction fees and this is often an explanation for why they don’t split bills, however I think in this day and age it should be a perfectly acceptable practice.
If I am organising a group dinner, which is a common occurrence for me, I won’t book some of the restaurants I would really like to go to as they don’t split bills. I’d rather not go there than cause a hassle for people that I’m dinning with to either go to a nearby ATM, or to do the whole counting of cash thing at the table. It should be easier than ever to allow people to split bills. I’m not condoning having wait staff work out who had what etc. because frankly it’s a waste of their time and a pain (I’ve been there), however with modern wiz bang POS systems and tap and go card it should just be acceptable to allow spilt bills.
It’s the small gestures of goodwill that go a long way and ensure that your customers keep coming back. Providing good customer service goes so much further than just friendly wait staff. It’s about offering options and conveniences to your customers in a day and age where people don’t carry cash and are time poor. It seems only reasonable to me that allowing your customers to split bills should be common place.
So is it time for the industry to re-adjust to allow diners to split bills again? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And don’t even get me started on credit card surcharges…
When you’re sick, you seek out a doctor. When you need legal advice you go to a lawyer. Dealing with one of your most valuable and precious assets; your business, is no different.
Often in the hospitality and tourism industries we try to do it all. We try to run the venue, hire and motivate staff, build a great culture, and create a place where customers want to keep coming back to. We are customer focused but often spend too much time in the business, rather than on the business. We find ourselves crafting menus, paying invoices, and picking up kegs of beer when they’re running low. Often, hospitality proprietors are Jack and Jill’s of all trades, and unfortunately it can lead to burn out, or doing a lot of different things to get by, but not doing them well. Sometimes looking at your business objectively is hard and frankly you just don’t have the time or the ability to truly be objective. After all, when it’s a labour of love it’s very hard to be objective about where opportunities for improvement are, and sometimes they even lay with the owners.
We hire experts in all areas of our lives, we entrust our hair to hairdressers, etc, etc. The list goes on, and sometimes we need an expert to come in and look at our venue with fresh eyes, do a bit of mystery shopping, and give an honest, objective opinion of how your customers see the venue. A big advantage is the expert will only show the review to you, giving you the chance to improve anything before a customer complains on social media. Why we try and do it all is beyond me, as it rarely ends with a quality product. Working hard without direction can be frustrating, and not great for your business or your health.
Being a Jack or Jill of all trades helps to get the work done, being a master of none doesn’t push your business forward. From time to time your health needs a general check-up to fix any niggling issues and ensure you’re running at your best, well your business is the same. Neglecting to work on your business (as opposed to in it) won’t push it to be the best it can be…
Something to consider.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: