On Your Cell Again

Our addiction to cell phones has actually been proven to have a detrimental affect on business. All those tweets and texts should add up to conversation! However, they are time-consuming for the person doing them which is interfering with daily life activities and elevating the level of rudeness to an entirely new level. A case in point is a recent study conducted by a restaurant in New York City. The restaurant kept getting bad reviews so they hired a firm to figure out what the problem was. The most common complaint was that the service was slow. Ten years ago, the restaurant had surveillance tapes which recorded the servers and customers in the restaurant. Interestingly enough, it was observed that the number of customers served was the same from 10 years ago but the service seemed very slow even though more staff were added and menu items were cut back. After the firm completed their survey, the guilty culprit was the cellphone! As customers would walk in, they would fidget with their phones, request to be changed to another seating area, or take photos. Some customers would take up 15 minutes of the server’s time discussing why they couldn’t connect to wifi. Once the menu was given, phones would be placed over it and customers continue to use their phones. The server goes to take the order and most customers need more time to order as they haven’t read the menus yet. What happens next is interesting. Some customers take photos of the food, which often involve retakes and some send their food back to reheat because so much time has been spent on their phones. However, around two thirds of customers request the server to take the photo. The photo procedure adds another 5 minutes to the meal. The survey revealed that it took an average 20 minutes more before customers were finished eating to request the cheque and 15 minutes longer for them to pay. Last of all, a few customers would bump into servers while exiting the restaurant because they were texting while walking! To sum all this up, ten years ago it took a customer from the start of an order to finishing a meal only 1 hour and 5 minutes. In this survey taken in 2014, it took one hour and fifty-five minutes for the same actions! Customers are not enjoying their dining out experience as they should due to constant phone activity but their actions are affecting the restaurant finances as well as staff time. Who would have thought that cell phones would have such a negative impact for this restaurant?

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ENVIRO-FOOD CONSULTING is a foodservice consulting business run by Sally de la Rue Browne, Certified Public Health Inspector and Food Safety Specialist.

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