Bill’s, the Richard Caring-backed restaurant chain, is currently temporarily closing its sites for two hours in order to retrain every single waiter and waitress on everything to do with the level of service that is expected by the business, MCA has learnt.
The initiative led by chief executive Mark Fox has been taking place over the last week across the group’s 76-strong estate and is set to continue for the next fortnight.
Fox told MCA: “We want to go back to square one and focus on the functional and emotional needs or our guests, and make sure we are very clear on what Bill’s service is as distinct from everyone else’s. Of the total emails we get, 40% are enquires about booking a table; 30% are pure complaints; and the rest are complements and I have never seen so many just off-the-cuff complements about people’s experience than with this business. That is ultimately the thing that is special about Bill’s - the service but its doesn’t get talked about because it is hard to measure, too fluffy. However, when we get it right it is truly distinctive. We have to keep raising the bar on that.
Fox is also looking to develop the group’s teams and again provide a level pf consistency for both its c3,000 employees and customers. He said: “Things were moving so quickly that the plan was just to look at the next opening, the next month; we are now looking at the next year to 18 months and even pushing that out to the next three years, so we can start to be consistent. You can’t expect consistency at a restaurant level if you are not giving a consistent message from the centre.
“The training here was very personal and informal. I have met more talented people in this business than in most of the places I have worked in. We have some incredibly long serving staff members. We just had our first big conference for everyone at Hawker House. We brought in long service awards and I was quite amazed that we do a five-year and a 10-year long service award, bearing in mind how old the company is. We have one 15 year and one 20 year service award, people who worked with Bill at the start. That underlines my point that there is a core of incredibly committed individuals that know what Bill’s is all about, have that DNA deep down and have stopped us going off the rails completely, whilst there has been a massive influx of new people.. There is a lot of people who have joined the business in a short space of time and clearly haven’t yet been full inducted in to the brand that is what we need to capitalise on.”