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  • The Storyteller

Case Review: Applying Service Bank Concept in a Restaurant

Here's a sample of how I apply the Service Bank concept for my recent lunch experience at a prestigious riverside hotel in Thailand.

1. Ordered from wine list but was informed that the bottle may not be available "as the supply was less frequent during Covid times"

  • Comment 1: Not available items should have been informed earlier (- 1)

  • Comment 2: Precisely if supply had been less frequent, shouldn't the team be even more aware of what was still in stock or what was not? (-1)

2. After checking, we were informed that the requested bottle was indeed not available. An alternative recommendation was made to us, but the new bottle cost 30% more than the first and no further information was given about it.

  • Comment 1: Lack of choices with only 1 alternative put forward, and not of the same price range (-2)

  • Comment 2: When recommending, employee should highlight what was in common with the earlier-requested bottle and describe the key characteristics. (-1)

3. Eventually, we chose another different bottle of wine and employee brought out a totally different bottle to present. We informed him of the error as he read out the label.

  • Comment: Lack attentiveness by the same employee (-2)

4. During main course, the plate was cleared from one diner while the other was still eating.

  • Comment: As a dining etiquette, the plates should be cleared at the same time for two diners. At the very least, employee should ask first before clearing. (-1)

5. Wrong spelling on menu for two key ingredients (Now we start looking at the small nitty, gritty details)

  • Comment: Spelling mistakes in menu simply show the lack of attentiveness to small details, especially for a 5-star hotel or brand. (- 2)

6. At end of our meal, we were asked if we had enjoyed the food.

  • Comment: While this was polite, it was also expected. In fact, for a luxury hotel service, this question should be asked earlier in the dining experience. (0)

7. At billing time, we saw that the two glasses of wine were charged higher than the listed price).

  • Comment 1: Too many mistakes regarding wine ordering by the same employee. 😟😣😡 (-5)

  • Comment 2: I presented the credit card for payment, but the bill folder was returned to my husband for signing. 😒 (-2)

So while the food was fine and ambience was nice, these are all expected factors. However, the overall sentiment of this dining experience was one of total let-down. Disappointment and frustration were among the key words that came to mind.

Service Bank: Minus 17

Reflective thoughts: If we only focus on the functional aspects of service without emotional engagement, then we are not doing anything to create the intangible value of positive emotions. Which parts of your service journey are "expected (0)" and which, potential for a "plus" in the Service Bank? (hint: opportunities are everywhere!)

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