Always Keep An Eye On This Customer

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JBloggs

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Always Keep An Eye On This Customer[/h3]
Being the hospitality professionals that you all are, I know I’m probably preaching to the converted, however, it’s always helpful to be reminded sometimes of those things that seem less important in the grand scheme of things, yet can have a big impact on your business.
I’m talking about the customer dining alone, the solitary figure in your bar or dining room. This is the customer you need to pay that little bit more attention to. He’s the customer that has nobody to talk to, nobody to distract from the goings on in the bar or restaurant, nobody with him to distract him from the stains on the menu, the food debris on the floor and the length of time it has taken the wait staff to pay attention to him.
I was that lone diner tonight. I was the lone diner that counted the minutes between entering and ordering. I spotted the dirty floor, the inattentive staff and the questionable hygiene practices through the serving window of the kitchen. I also tweeted about some of the things I saw (without mentioning the name of the restaurant), but would other diners be so forgiving? I wasn’t offered a newspaper or a distraction and every inefficiency probably seemed bigger and more impactful without me having anythiong else to do as I sat and waited and waited and waited for my meal.
When I trained in hotel management, we were taught that a guest staying on his own could easily be a hotel reviewer, a restaurant critic or a tourism board representative measuring us for a star rating. That taught me to always pay a little bit more attention to the guest without a companion.
The next time you have a single customer, offer them a newspaper, chat a little bit longer and push the kitchen to get the meal out that little bit faster. Time goes a lot slower for the customer waiting for a meal to break the monotony!
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Just had a single New Year reservation leave Sat but signed up as two. I never asked where is so&so, just ignored the issue and we chatted a bit. Was asked about my daughters,where are they, etc. weather, gave the guest a Gift Certificate to a local winery. Said they had a restful time...Mary in Bridgewater
 

Morticia

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And I have started removing the second place setting as well when they sit down. Given that most of our singles sit right by where they can talk to us, it really hasn't been a problem, but we have gotten some very nice review comments about how welcome they felt traveling on their own and not knowing how that would be. (I would say that most of our singles have been back and have come back with a spouse or friend next time.)
 

Copperhead

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This is very true. In our business it typically is a business guest. They choose a B&B simply because they are so tired of the same 4 walls of a hotel, no conversation, etc. But there still is this balancing act to learn. They usually have things on their mind and while enjoying a little distraction, they may have things to mentally work out prior to heading to the meeting. I play it by ear -
I would think 'we' (innkeepers) do a good job in this area.. much more so than restaurants or hotels. We stay more in tuned to our guests and their needs. Never gave the other issues much thought but yes, those that are alone may just notice those little things we neglected a little more.
 

Morticia

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This is very true. In our business it typically is a business guest. They choose a B&B simply because they are so tired of the same 4 walls of a hotel, no conversation, etc. But there still is this balancing act to learn. They usually have things on their mind and while enjoying a little distraction, they may have things to mentally work out prior to heading to the meeting. I play it by ear -
I would think 'we' (innkeepers) do a good job in this area.. much more so than restaurants or hotels. We stay more in tuned to our guests and their needs. Never gave the other issues much thought but yes, those that are alone may just notice those little things we neglected a little more..
We've never had a guest comment on the bed linens before until a few weeks ago and it was a single traveler who said she felt so pampered. So maybe guests take more note when they don't have the distractions of another person. I know I look around more when I'm alone.
A lot of our singles bring a book to the table. I'm never sure if they WANT to read or they are just being proactive in case they're ignored. I always bring a book if I go out to eat alone.
 

gillumhouse

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This is very true. In our business it typically is a business guest. They choose a B&B simply because they are so tired of the same 4 walls of a hotel, no conversation, etc. But there still is this balancing act to learn. They usually have things on their mind and while enjoying a little distraction, they may have things to mentally work out prior to heading to the meeting. I play it by ear -
I would think 'we' (innkeepers) do a good job in this area.. much more so than restaurants or hotels. We stay more in tuned to our guests and their needs. Never gave the other issues much thought but yes, those that are alone may just notice those little things we neglected a little more..
We've never had a guest comment on the bed linens before until a few weeks ago and it was a single traveler who said she felt so pampered. So maybe guests take more note when they don't have the distractions of another person. I know I look around more when I'm alone.
A lot of our singles bring a book to the table. I'm never sure if they WANT to read or they are just being proactive in case they're ignored. I always bring a book if I go out to eat alone.
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I always bring a book if I go out to eat alone.
Me too. or the crossword puzzle.
I was on an R & R many years ago and went to the restaurant at the HI because it was rainy and I did not feel like getting back into motorcyc;e gear for dinner. I had finished my paperback and finished the puzzle and was waiting for my food. At the next table was a lone gentleman. I asked if he enjoyed eating alone and he responded sometimes. I said I do not so if you care to join me, please do. He did and it was a very enjoyable meal. He had come to dinner prior to going to the show at the comedy club and invited me to be his guest. Nice evening - better than TV - and he clued me in to a better route to go home than the one I had planned. A most pleasant part was the thank you for a nice evening as he left the hotel and I got the elevator to go back to my room (no expectations of anything more to have to deal with).
 
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