HOW TO BECOME THE RESTAURANT OF CHOICE
A Fresh Look at Service, Hospitality and the Bottom Line
Trade paperback, 280 pages, 6"x9"
Published by Hospitality Masters Press
What is the Restaurant of Choice?
Steve and Nancy Butcher own the modest Nutcracker Family Restaurant in Pataskala, Ohio ... a typical small town
diner and gathering spot, seemingly nothing special. One weekend in 2005 they had an electrical fire and the
original restaurant burned to the ground.
On Monday morning, their neighbors showed up to help them rebuild. The community simply felt the town wouldn't be
the same until they had the Nutcracker back in their lives and took it upon themselves to make that happen. The new
restaurant was built ... and Steve was elected town mayor!
Do you think there would be that level of community support if an Applebee's or a McDonald's burned down? More to
the point, would YOUR patrons instinctively show up to help rebuild YOUR place if such a tragedy struck? They would
if you were truly their Restaurant of Choice.
If you were their Restaurant of Choice, it would mean they think of you as THEIR place. They feel a personal
connection to you and your staff. They trust you to always be working in their best interests. They know the names
of most of the crew and the staff knows theirs.
They feel comfortable, like old friends when they come in. And even though they are more like family than
customers, they know you never take them for granted and consistently work hard to earn their continued
Becoming the Restaurant of Choice is a high honor to shoot for ... and you can't get there by following a formula
or a checklist. It takes a combination of seamless service and personal caring ... hospitality ... delivered in a
way that keeps you financially viable.
This book is about what it takes to do just that. Written in Bill's conversational style, it is the coming together
of many of the ideas he has espoused over his lengthy career as an operator and a perpetual student of the
How to Become the Restaurant of Choice
A Fresh Look at Service, Hospitality and the Bottom
Part 1: A NOTE FROM THE
Life is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
Puzzling it Out
This Book is Another Puzzle
Part 2: THE RESTAURANT OF CHOICE
What Do We Mean?
The Magic in the Mix
A Business of Details
What Makes Trivialities Monumental?
Where Minutia Becomes Momentous
Picky, Picky, Picky
Why Guests Don't Come Back
What You Can Do About It
The Soul of Service
Part 3: PLAY A BIGGER GAME
Know Where You're Headed ... and Why
Define Your Purpose
Putting Purpose in Context
Purpose and Goals
Clarifying Your Purpose
What Does Purpose Look Like?
Profit is Part of Purpose
Seek Alignment, Not Agreement
The Key to Alignment
Creating a Cohesive Culture
Be in Alignment With Your Guests, Too!
Part 4: COOK UP SEAMLESS SERVICE
Service Is Efficiently Doing What is Expected
1. Have a Great Recipe
Stages of Table Service
Other Operating Formats
Fill In the Blanks
Get Your Staff Involved
Implementing Service Sequences
2. Use High Quality Ingredients
Find the Right People
Build a Better Mousetrap
Do the Right Thing
Do the Work
Making It Easier
Start With Screening
Administering the Screening Interview
Scoring the Screening Interview
Validating the Screening Interview
3. Prepare the Dish Right
Get a Good Start
Develop Certified Trainers
How About You?
4. Observe Proper Sanitation
Keep Things Clean
Dealing With Non-Compliance
Keep It Fresh
5. Give It Some WOW
Serve Hot Food Hot
Service is Not Just For Guests
Part 5: SERVICE STUMBLES
Devil in the Details
Part 6: BECOME A PLACE OF HOSPITALITY
Hospitality is Doing What is Unexpected
What is Hospitality?
So What is Hospitality?
The Impact of Climate
The Climate Always Starts at the Top
What Changes the Climate?
Create a More Positive Climate
The Power of Presence
Presence and Productivity
Presence and Service
Presence and Enjoyment
A Natural State
Start to Notice
Hospitality is a State of Mind
The Ripple Effect
Part 7: RECOVER GRACEFULLY
What Is a Guest Worth?
Do the Math
The Cost of an Unhappy Guest
The Numbers Add Up
The Service Staff Loses, Too
When It's Not Your Fault
Cashing In On Complaints
The Importance of Complaints
Undiscovered Complaints are Expensive
General Rules for Handling Complaints
Goals When Handling Complaints
The Energy Equation
Dealing With Difficult People
Powerful Language Habits
Answering Complaints in Person
Complaints With Potential Liability
The Positive Side of Complaints
Part 8: THE BOTTOM LINE
Building a Business
The Low Road: Marketing
Discount Coupons Are the Cocaine of the Clueless!
Not All Coupons are Discounts
Give Current Guests a Reason to Return
The High Road: Connection
Before We Move On
Hospitality and the Bottom Line
A Universal Truth
The Cost of Turnover
The Cost of Recovery
Dollars and Sense
Part 9: MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS
1. Keep Tabs on Your Service
Scoring Shopper Reports
Rewards and Punishments
Comment Card Design
Suggested Comment Card Questions
The Need to Respond
2. Watch the Big Picture
3. Monitor Your Stats
Part 10: DEVELOP YOUR STAFF
The Best Employer in Town
The Coaching Report
Part 11: YEAH, BUT ...
In Case You Were
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
The Soul of Service
So far we have talked about service in fairly typical terms based on the actions performed (or not) and the
results they produce. But there is another critical dimension to the guest experience that has been largely taken
for granted: Hospitality.
It always seems ironic that the competitive element most responsible for success in the hospitality business ...
and the piece most visibly absent ... is hospitality itself!
You can be adequately fed and reasonably served in most restaurants, but how often do you experience heartfelt
caring and personal connection -- that warm feeling that tells you the restaurant's staff is delighted you are
there and it matters to them that you have a great time?
Most operators will say the word hospitality but talk about service. They seem to think the words mean the same
when in reality, the two elements are quite different. Understanding that difference will elevate your game in ways
that will astound you, your guests, (and your accountant!) Here's a start on how to understand the difference:
We will explore both dimensions of the service experience in more detail in later chapters. For now just be
aware that the overall guest experience that draws your guests back is made up of two separate aspects that often
just get lumped under the broad title of service. The competitive edge belongs to those who understand and
appreciate the distinction.
Once you grasp (and internalize) the principles that govern human behavior, you will instinctively know the
appropriate actions to take, regardless of the situation.