Value of service

I’ve been wondering about restaurant service quality. And I mean the whole package; food, drinks and personal service. On top of that I most often think about the quality aspects as inner and outer service quality meaning how well things that do not show out are done and how well things that customer sees are done. Quite often I get the feeling that someone is taking shortcuts…

Let’s say that you go to a restaurant and make an order. How many times out of ten does the food you get meet your expectations? Nine times out of ten…? Six? Three? One…? Honestly how many times you think “Wow! This is really good!”? Or how many times do you think that the food you get is really worth the money you pay for it? I would say two times out of ten. Max.

Most of the times I eat out I order a steak. At least five times out of ten I have to return the steak back to kitchen as it’s not done the way I asked. While doing this the restaurant has showed that they do not take care of their inner service quality. If they did take care of that then I probably wouldn’t have to return my steak. Well, you can always argue that what do I expect to get with 30 euros… Well if they promise to sell me a steak which is done the way I ask it to be made then, yes, that is what I expect. Is that too much to expect when it’s a 30 euro steak? Should I realize that a 30 euro steak is NOT supposed to be what I ask it to be and what they promise it to be?

I bet that if you take a friend with you and go to any medium or medium-high quality restaurant in Helsinki and order a three course menu, you or your friend will at least once say that this could have been done better. If two persons go out and get the whole thing (starter, main, dessert + drinks) it’s going to cost around 150 euros in total. What do you expect to get with 150 euros? Do you expect that the food, drinks and service are as high as you can image possible or do you allow some of the service components be medium or low quality. How much do you expect to pay for top quality overall service?

If I were in restaurant business I would definitely want to sell more than less. I guess selling more is what everyone wants but how do you wish to get there. It’s always easier to raise the profit margin by lowering overall service quality. That way you don’t have to sell more in order to make more money. Everyone does that eventually as it’s said to be cost efficient and what not. Every industry is thinking how low they can make the inner service quality (i.e. costs) and still be able to sell their products… and why not? Why do more than what is expected when you can get more profit with less input?

Somehow after realizing all this I’m still, almost everytime I go out to eat, disappointed of the quality. To be honest, the most realistic value for your money and expectations, you get from McDonalds. You always know what you get and eventhough you might not be happy with it, it’s still what you knew you would get.