Developed by the National Skills Academy Hospitality, the survey is part of a benchmarking programme that anonymously measures different aspects of hospitality businesses against competitors of similar size and style.
The tool, which businesses can sign up to for a starting price of around £200, measures nine indicators of service behaviour, assesses customer loyalty and produces a ‘net promoter’ score. These are all then benchmarked against market sectors, geographic regions and the hospitality industry in general.
Because the accuracy and usefulness of the tool increases as the number of users – and therefore the database – fills out, the academy kick-started it by entering available data for 1,200 companies, ranging from independents to chains.
Top multiple-outlet brands
The current survey reveals results from all brands present in the UK that have ten or more outlets.
Key indicators used to benchmark customer service in the venues included the warmth, welcome and general personalities of staff. Other checks included staff product knowledge, training and the customer’s likeliness to recommend the venue.
The highest customer service results were received by Living Ventures, which earned a score of almost 91 per cent. John Lewis cafes and restaurants scored 87 per cent, Wagamama scored 83 per cent, Premier Inn scored 80 per cent and Maison Blanc scored 79 per cent.
David McHattie, CEO of the National Skills Academy Hospitality said: “Although Living Ventures restaurants are based in the North of England and Scotland, the service they provide customers with has ensured that even in these challenging times, like for like sales are positive and growing.
“The 90.78 per cent score Living Ventures has averaged (taken from scores across all of their outlets) is an impressive testimony to the personality, skill and value that the customer recognises and returns to experience time and time again.”
He added, “We developed the hospitality benchmark to provide customer insight and advice from experienced operators at an affordable price. The target individual outlets, brands and the industry must strive to reach is 90 per cent. Only then can we be confident that the customer service offered is developing loyal customers who will act as advocates and evangelists. At that level we can also be sure that the service is world class.”
Operators interested in checking if their outlet was amongst those assessed can contact the National Skills Academy for the results.
The Kout Food Group is amongst the users of the service. COO Simon Wilkinson said: “We are using the hospitality benchmark programme in our Maison Blanc operation and it has certainly been a key component in helping to grow the sales and profitability of the business. It also provides invaluable guest insight.”