Anyone that went to TGI Friday’s surely remembers the experience for something very peculiar: customer service.
Friday’s is an international restaurant chain serving simple, tasty, American-style meals. Many of us go to TGI Friday’s because we know we will eat well; but almost all of us come back especially thanks to their ability to create a unique atmosphere.
The environment is fresh, colourful, lively and authentic and everything is in line with the spirit TGI wants to communicate: from the uniforms of the waiters, full of pins, suspenders and colourful strips, to the pictures and objects that are tastefully scattered inside the restaurant.
This environment is further enriched by the main strength of the place: service. Waiters are amazing and go way beyond their job description. Joyful in their role, they welcome you with open arms, they try to make your evening as nice as possible and they are ready for a joke and solve problems. If you come in with kids, that’s it: they will be treated as little princes and princesses, and filled with gifts and surprises… and some tricks, once in a while, just to get them to smile. Result? Your kids will ask you, for the rest of the holiday, to come back to TGI Friday’s. Every single night.
What TGI did was manage to translate in accurate, and flexible, habits, its vision of the perfect restaurant atmosphere. From the choice of the waiters, which goes far beyond the ability of balancing 4 drinks on the tray, to how they welcome customers when they come in and how your say bye, their problem-solving ability and how they interact with any type of customers, every single detail is prepared down to the last detail and then replicated in all the restaurants in the world.
The ability to create such a kind of service and then use it with different people and teams, in different countries, can be learned and is the result of the balance of two essential factors:
• Well-defined key habits – the behaviours and attitudes that need to become natural inside that environment. We need to find specific behaviours to be applied in specific moments in time and decide which habits you need to create when, for instance, you welcome a customer, you interact with a child, an elderly person, a manager, a couple of teenagers celebrating their first anniversary.
• Autonomy and flexibility to make service absolutely natural and tailored – when an habit is trained to top levels of performance, the ability to adjust such habits tailoring it to each specific situation is what allows you to offer a service everybody is talking about. Empathy and listening are the needed skills here, in addition to good execution, to be able to interact with each individual person.
Next time you go to London, go to a TGI Friday’s and look how the environment, and people, interact with you: it will be a good learning experience, you will have fun and you will talk about it to your friends.