When customer experience goes bad. Sounds like a show that Gordon Ramsey should be presenting on ITV3. In all honesty I would rather face a barrage of expletives and spittle in my face from Mr Angry than have to revisit this experience. The bar I had the displeasure of visiting was located in Gerrard Street, London. I went there last weekend with Mr Katy.

Ontrade Outlook, our pub/bar futures research report tells us that 50% of customers have eaten/drank at a particular venue simply because they wanted to experience the venue. That was the reason I visited this bar.

Increasing rage and waiting times

We were greeted by a stern-looking gentleman on the door who, when I went to walk in, put his arm aggressively across the doorway. He demanded my name and then made a song and dance about finding me on the (short) guest list. The fact this guest list was on a tatty clipboard only added to my increasing rage. I wasn’t impressed.

We were ‘greeted’ at the top of the stairs by a waiter whose first sentence to us was “I’ll need your table back at 8pm”.

We waited 10 minutes for someone to take our order and a further 15 minutes for it to arrive. Waiting to be served sits in the number 2 slot in the top eating/drinking out turn-offs. This is according to our research into the consumer ‘journey’ when eating out – entitled “Plan to Plate“. It seems once a customer has made up their mind they want to be able to execute that decision immediately. Servers are not mind-readers of course so it makes for a difficult situation. One that is not immediately obvious how to solve. Technology (ordering apps for example) could certainly help play a role here. Even buttons (like on an airplane or at Bob Bob Ricard) may be a solution.

It will come as no surprise that after this ‘experience’, we called the friends we were meeting and diverted them straight to the restaurant. We lost £33 on the deal (for 2 cocktails!!!), but the bar lost the same.

Embrace the responsibility of true hospitality

Our research, from Ontrade Outlook, tells us that 3 in 4 customers believe it’s the pub/bar’s responsibility to ensure they have a memorable experience when they visit. Whilst it can be said that atmosphere is what you make of it. They don’t want to do all the work themselves to ensure they have a good time. Furthermore, we know that customers are quick to equate the price of a drink in a pub/bar with the equivalent price in a supermarket. Consumers’ disposable income is being squeezed and they are pushing the onus to make their night special onto venues. Pubs and bars need to embrace this responsibility as it brings into focus the need to provide hospitality, in its truest sense.

Some insight here which this particular bar should embrace. With so much competition out there, it won’t take much for customers to vote with their feet. Or worse, stay at home altogether.

Click HERE to read a section of the Ontrade Outlook 2019 report for FREE. This excerpt focusses on the growing trend of premiumisation within both food and drinks in the UK pub sector. To gain more information on the full report, please contact me – CONTACT KATY