"Restaurant hours 11am-11pm. But, we're closing early because the boss is gone and we are ready to call it quits! And, we usually prep to go home 15 minutes early every day. If you get here by 10:30, we may have some food left but we don't cook anything else after 9:30 unless we are hungry and then we may make some extra. Thank you for your patronage."
No one in their right mind would actually slap this message on their door? Or would they? While it may not be written in black and white, are your employees silently delivering this message to your customer? How much are these
messages costing your restaurant?
It's just in my nature, because I am the co-founder of ACE Mystery Shopping, to take note of these things. I can't count the number of times that I have observed several of these things happening at a local restaurant, who was not one of our clients, and closed their doors forever after a mere 6 months in business. They might as well have had a sign up because their inconsistency was what made them famous.
Just last week, my husband and I went to eat at a restaurant; adjacent to another restaurant inside a food court. One of the restaurants was closing in 20 minutes. It was evident that there was no food left, with the exception of a few side items in the warmers. The other restaurant was open a little later. The employee at the restaurant that was closing gave the left over food to the employees of the restaurant we were ordering from - 20 minutes before closing.
Another time, I went to a fast food restaurant 15 minutes before closing; not realizing they were getting ready to close. I sat down, unwrapped my sandwich and took the first bite, just as an employee came over to me. My first thought was that they were going to ask how my food tasted. I was mistaken! The employee said, "Umm. Ma'am, we're closing now." Well, okay then! I grabbed my food, wrapped it back up and finished my meal in the car.
Neither of those restaurants had the above sign on the doors. But, do you think perhaps that the customers still received the message from the passive aggressive employees? Of course they did!
Before deciding how to fix it, first you need to determine what it's actually costing the company and what it's costing you personally. Is it worth it to fix the problem and have you tried anything else in the past? I guess, if you had all the free time in the world, you could do a drive by every night to check on the employees.
Or maybe a more practical approach. Hire a mystery shopping company, like ACE Mystery Shopping. If you think mystery shopping is not in your budget, I guarantee that you are going to recover more lost sales than you thought possible and your program will pay for itself. If you still think mystery shopping is not in your budget, I would at least recommend implementing a informal mystery shopping program by hiring friends and family to go to your restaurant at times right before closing to see what's really happening at closing time.
For more information about ACE Mystery Shopping or how we can help, please call 866-240-7324, visit us online at www.ACEMysteryShopping.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to try your own program with family and friends? Just ask and we will share with you some of the things we ask our shoppers to look for!