Poor restaurant service makes me grumpy, especially in pricey venues. Martin O’Connor, of MOCO Restaurant Consultants is doing something about that.
One of my biggest pet peeves is the pretty ordinary standards of service we tolerate in this country in both restaurants and in stores. I’ve droned on about this in the past and have been a champion of the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence program, which encourages young Australian chefs, waiters and restaurateurs to aspire to a much higher standard of service.
According to my dictionary, the word ‘hospitality’ is defined as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. This is not an interpretation that is taken on board by some surly, unprofessional, poorly trained, arrogant or just plain bored front of house staff whose attitude can ruin your special (and often expensive) night out.
The Appetite for Excellence program is doing a great job at raising both expectations and service delivery, but it’s going to take more than one voice in the wilderness to change the existing culture – enter Adelaide’s Martin O’Connor.
After a front of house career which peaked at management level in some of the best restaurants in Australia, including Melbourne’s Vue de Monde and Adelaide’s Magill Estate, and passionate about the hospitality industry, Martin was looking for his next step.
If you’ve ever been served in a restaurant by Martin O’Connor, you’ll certainly know it. He is renowned for his own exceptional professionalism and commitment to creating a positive customer experience. However, he was becoming increasingly frustrated with the general poor service standards he was observing in the industry. While restaurant owners are spending up big on fancy fit-outs, first class chefs and premium produce many neglect the point where customers develop their first, and often most lasting impressions – the floor staff.
In order to help restaurants improve their customer experience Martin O’Connor launched MOCO Restaurant Consultants in October 2016. Martin works with venues to build and train professional floor staff teams. He helps them to formulate policies which assist them to deal with customers in a manner that is warm and authentic, without being too familiar.
Besides training staff in all general service basics, Martin aims to help them make the customer their focus, leaving diners feeling that their experience has genuinely been a special one. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that this must be great for everyone.
The positive business results are obvious in the numbers of returning customers and a healthier bottom line. As for you and me, we leave with a warm, satisfied glow, fond memories of a distinctive dining experience and definite plans to visit again – soon.
And I’ll be happy to have one less thing to grumble about.