Systems Need to Make Sense

I have been a loyal Marriott customer for years. Here is a new un-selling strategy they are using:

A look at an attempt to go to their only restaurant a few minutes ago: 25 people in line, 20+ tables open and 15+ minutes to be seated! I left and went to Mel’s drive-in. “Why?” I asked the concierge. She replied, “Those poor girls have to use a computer system called Open Table to seat you, and are not allowed to just seat you! It is hard to do and they are working as fast as they can.” The general manager will hear from me later today about how they pushed over 30 people away just this morning. 94% of problems are due to poor systems. Dear Marriott, please do not have a system for the sake of having a system! Make sure your systems make sense. Restaurant seating is not science, it’s about humans!

 

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4 comments
Norbert Marrale
Norbert Marrale

I think Luther is contradicting himself here: an experienced host or hostess doesn't need the computerized seating arrangement to have a good overview of the restaurant. And, an "untrained monkey" (I think that's a pretty derogatory term, btw) is apparently unable to master the added complexity that systems like OpenTable add to the mix. In both cases the restaurant loses... Have to side with Paul and Ivan here.

Ivan Collins
Ivan Collins

Hey Hey, Glad to hear somebody thinks the seating system on Open Table isn't really necessary and is in fact causing problems. I work with Reservation Genie and we do most of the things Open Table does, except we don't seat people in a computerized seating chart. That's why they need the $1200 piece of equipment at the hostess stand. Our system just manages reservations and customers who book online. And you can access it from any internet connection or run it through your SMS. Anyway, thanks for expressing yourself:)

Vid luther
Vid luther

actually it is a science, but it's not hard science. If the restaurant has inexperienced hostesses who don't know how to think, you could end up being seated in an area served by newbie waiters or by waiters who are already overloaded. Systems like these also take away the animosity between wait staff about, the hostess seating the good tippers to their friends etc. In this case you had a good system being used by untrained monkeys. So in this game, don't hate the game, hate the playa :)

Paul Singh
Paul Singh

"...please do not have a system for the sake of having a system!" I couldn't have said it better myself! :) I'd be interested to see how the GM responds when you tell him about your experience.