Video: Johnson in plea for better service at pubs

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Customer service, Luke johnson

Pubs have been urged to offer better customer service, deal with complaints efficiently, and offer food. That's the plea from ex-Pizza Express...

Pubs have been urged to offer better customer service, deal with complaints efficiently, and offer food.

That's the plea from ex-Pizza Express chairman Luke Johnson, who was speaking at the BII's (British Institute of Innkeeping's) annual luncheon last week.

He said that two-thirds of all complaints relate to service, and at his time at Pizza Express he found the issue was "not the original complaint but how the managers dealt with the difficulties".

"The best managers know you can turn around the most dissatisfied customers by exceeding their expectations," Johnson added.

"So if the meal has been slow, give them a drink, or possibly the entire meal on the house. You may well switch them from being your harshest critic to an advocate. My big winners have been companies that are able to capture customers with some outstanding service. Great service represents repeat customer loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendation."

He stressed that training staff is important to ensuring this quality of service, but claimed choosing the right staff is vital.

Johnson also argued that customers like to eat when they drink and, as food increases, so does spend per head and dwell time.

"I think pubs have huge advantages. They're already licensed to sell it, they generally have kitchens and people like to eat when they drink.

"Even if you don't do full-blown cooking, whatever solid refreshment you provide should be decent."

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