Is improving staff performance the new marketing tool for pubs?

staff performance irish pubA high standard of customer service was once an important part of running a pub business.

Happy customers would regale friends and family about their new favourite pub and word-of-mouth would work its magic.

But it’s even more vital now!

It’s not simply word-of-mouth; it’s ‘world-of-mouth’. People share their pub-going experiences across social media and on popular review sites like TripAdvisor. And it’s all there: the good, the bad and the ugly.

In this guest post, the pub growth specialist, Lester Pyatt, explains why staff performance can be the difference between good and bad publicity and offers tips on how to boost staff performance.

There are many things you have to get right to ensure a customer enjoys their experience and makes a return visit.

You need to get the food and drink selection right and create a suitable ambience. BUT, the way your products are served is just as important.

You might have a perfectly conditioned cask ale, but if the bar tender pours it into the wrong glass and leaves it short of a pint; it will leave a sour taste for the customer.

To avoid any awkwardness, they might not complain. Until they get home!

In this case, no grandiose mission statement or elegant interior will improve customer perception. The only way of turning this around is to improve staff performance!

First, the hard truth about bad service

Staff performance bar

Let’s get some painful truths out of the way…

A new customer enters your pub, they see a lovely, inviting bar, but when they rest their elbows their sleeves get drenched in a puddle of beer.

You’ve got a lovely-looking menu, but the staff member plonks down a dishevelled chicken and bacon sandwich.

Unfortunately erratic work behaviour costs companies millions in lost revenues and in some instances it’s not the employee’s fault. If the manager loses focus and doesn’t give feedback or monitor staff performance, don’t be surprised if sloppy work practices start seeping in.

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Pub landlord’s need to rectify this kind of situation sooner rather than later, otherwise a broken pub business can result.

Here’s something else to think about…

A recent study by Oxford Economics on behalf of TripAdvisor revealed that their reviews generated £2bn in visitor spending in the UK in 2014. TripAdvisor was said to have influenced 10% of all travel spending around the world and generated 22 million tourist trips during the year. Some 400,000 of these visits were in the UK which, the report indicated, would not have happened without TripAdvisor.

For that reason, it’s important that publican’s consider staff performance not simply as a humdrum ‘serve the product, take the money’ operation. Staff performance needs to be considered as a pub marketing tool.

1 simple tip to boost staff performancestaff performance chef

Every business owner pays their employees for their efforts in delivering an optimal service.

But are you creating a working environment which enables every staff member to work to the best of their ability?

Imagine what you could get done if your staff focused for eight hours straight. Unfortunately this isn’t possible because we’re all human and even with the best intentions concentration can waver.

But staff can be inspired to perform to a higher level. There are a whole raft of techniques for doing this. However, I want to share with you a simple acronym which you can use as a constant reminder to staff.

This acronym initiates a constant reminder to the employee’s subconscious to keep employee performance at an optimal level. It’s called COSAP.

  • Connect – with the customer (“hello”, “welcome” “how can I help?” – don’t wait for them to connect with you!)
  • Over deliver – be alive for opportunities to give the customer something extra. Special requests require a special response – and it’s rarely a no!
  • Smile – so simple it’s often overlooked, don’t let your staff forget!
  • Attention to detail – clean bar services, memorise product ranges, ensure plates have clean rims etcetera.
  • Passion & Commitment – do your staff demonstrate passion, if not, why not?

COSAP is easy for you and staff to remember. Make sure they know the meaning of COSAP! It might just be the trigger for improved staff performance.

When service standards improve, customer satisfaction levels rise, and public reviews get better.

At that point, maybe a pub owner’s cynicism concerning customer comments on internet travel sites might just change.

Lester Pyatt is an experienced business growth expert who helps publican’s boost takings and improve profit margins.


St. Patrick’s Day bar staff by puamelia – CC

Bar photo by Jason Lengstorf – CC

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