How Your Tables Could be Eating Your Brand
In the modern restaurant and hospitality marketplace, there are so many things working against your ability to grow a successful business as an owner or operator. With increased competition, higher customer expectations, labor entropy, and diminishing profit margins, it’s more critical than ever to work to differentiate your brand from the sea of options available. Many companies are investing millions of dollars into creating unique dining experiences, trendy menus, and exceptional service for their customers in order to win their market share. But what if there was something living in your dining area, lurking in the shadows, and eating away at all that work you’ve been doing to delight your guests? You’d probably want to find it and get rid of it as soon as possible, right?
Well, you may be dealing with an infestation of wobbly or misaligned tables that could be wrecking your investment in customer experience. Like any other pest infestation, wobbly tables can be a health hazard and a brand reputation nightmare—especially in the age of instant feedback through social media and travel/review sites. We’ve put together three areas wherein your tables could be exposing your restaurant, or hospitality facilities, to unnecessary risk.
Like other pests that can infiltrate your business, wobbly tables can show up unexpectedly and do a lot of damage to your work in building a successful brand. Even a minor instability in the tables can cause a constant distraction for your guests as you work to create an exceptional dining experience.
The problem is that a wobbly table is constantly happening right at the point of a customer’s experience.
It’s not like a poor service experience, or other issue, that only happens once or twice during a meal—it’s always there. A table that is moving every time it is touched is a constant reminder that there is a quality issue within your location.
Think of your tables as the stage from which you will entertain and serve your unique brand experience directly to a customer. Having it wobble around during your performance is similar to having a flickering spotlight, or malfunctioning sound system at a play. It can be maddening!
If you have a customer who actually gets so frustrated as to complain about their table, then you have the added humiliation of having to ask your service staff to get under the table and try and stabilize it with napkins, coasters, sugar packets, or some other “band-aid” fix.
It’s like having a guest exclaim that there is a mouse under their table and having a staff member place a cup over it and leaving it there.
It doesn’t do much to encourage a customer that you are solving the real problem. You have to also evaluate the real costs involved in having staff fix tables during each day part, and the need to have them come in early to check tables and make repairs. These are labor costs directly created by dealing with damaged tables.
This was the very problem that spawned FLAT® in the first place. The founder and inventor of the FLAT technology was enjoying an evening at the Sydney Opera House when a wobbly table overturned his full glass of red wine onto this shirt and slacks. From that point on, FLAT has been waging a war with wobbly tables around the world.
FLAT table bases are a patented solution that uses an interconnected hydraulic stabilization system automatically stabilize themselves on uneven floors like; brick, stone, wood, etc. The table bases will find their equilibrium on the floor and then lock themselves into place! No need for staff to have to check each table before a guest is seated because the tables are always secure!
FLAT have also engineered a solution to fix existing wobbly tables too. We understand that restaurant and hospitality entrepreneurs, in many cases, are buying an existing property that includes furniture from a business. Much of the time, these tables are in poor repair and have existing damage that can cause them to wobble. FLAT Equalizers® can quickly and effectively bring the tables under control. Equalizers replace the existing (and mainly ineffective) table’s screw-in feet/glides and offer many of the same hydraulic features that FLAT table bases offer. Since Equalizers are not interconnected, they require a gentle press on the tabletop to stabilize. Then they can lock into place and the problem is solved. Being a direct replacement for existing feet, an owner/operator can have all their defective tables fixed in a matter of minutes. To learn more about this award-winning innovation, check out our testimonial from Catch 22 on how Equalizers solved their issues quickly and effectively.
When dealing with groups larger than 4 guests, most times it is necessary to place multiple tables together to accommodate them. This can cause a real problem for guests as the tables rarely align properly, creating a “lip” or “ledge” along the table’s surface. This uneven surface can cause plates to wobble and drinks to spill. This is the last thing you want happening to your guests when you are working so hard to create a memorable experience—these are not the kinds of things you want them to remember!
The problems with misaligned tables can become exponentially worse with larger groups with more tables to align. If you take the time to solve misalignment with these tables—by having servers getting down on the ground to adjust the traditional feet—you aren’t being efficient.
Table turns are so critical to restaurant profitability, and time wasted fixing tables is time you’ll never get back.
These large groups also provide a platform for shared complaining and feeding off unmet expectations, which can lead to bad reviews and loss of revenue by all those in the party.
Luckily, both FLAT table bases and Equalizers can solve this problem as well; by simply lifting up—or tilting down the tabletops to align them. No more need for frustrated customers or annoyed staff to fix the problem.
When dealing with a pestilence of table issues, it can be easy to ignore the problem. That seems to be the path of least resistance for restaurant and hospitality owner/operators who are struggling with seemingly bigger issues on a daily basis. However, like other pests that can come into the business, when there is a problem that directly impacts customers, it may be too late.
There are the obvious issues that come along with wobbly and/or misaligned tables like food spillage and damage to personal property of your guests. These can cause thousands of dollars in food replacements, dry cleaning bills, and restitutions. In bigger cases, it may require submitting a claim on your business insurance. That can run up insurance costs and create an unnecessary strain on your already struggling profitability.
Then there are the hygiene and health issues. Having your food servers getting down on the floor to fix tables brings them into direct contact with all sorts of germs, dirt, and contaminants right in front of your guests.
Even if your staff is well trained and diligent in washing their hands, the perception of the customer is that there could be a chance that their server is handling their food with hands that have just been on the ground.
That kills your quality brand work and can undo your work very quickly.
The problem of table issues has been around for years, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. The good news is that FLAT has developed solutions that are both effective and economical. To learn more about our line of table bases and Equalizers, just browse our product line of table bases and Equalizers.
If you have questions about how FLAT can help you, our team of representatives is ready to discuss your needs and find the right solution that fits your brand look and budget.
For a limited time, FLAT is also offering a NO-RISK TRIAL offer to chains. If you have multiple locations that you want to outfit with our products you may qualify to have our products installed at no cost and see for yourself the difference that FLAT can make. To learn more about the program, click here.