Dealing with hanger

Keep your delivery staff safe from hangry people with this handy guide.

You may already be aware of what hanger is. No, it’s not the stuff you use to hang your clothes, or park your plane. It’s what you get when you mix hunger with anger (yikes!). It’s not a pretty sight, and hangry customers are something every restaurant will eventually have to deal with, whether you like it or not!

Are hangry people real? Yep, according to a recent study by the University of North Carolina, and it can happen to just about anybody. Hanger directly relates to irritability, which makes you think irrationally. And who knows what you do when you start thinking irrationally. You may:

-Have sudden outbursts of anger
-Have so much rumbling in your stomach that you feel like your stomach was rented out to a railway station
-Be short tempered with anyone you see
-Start eating the arm of your sofa, with the illusion that it is some fine bread

So how do you identify hangry customers, and what should you do to make them less hangrier? Above all, who in your restaurant needs to worry about them the most?

Sure, you may get the occasional hangry customer or two, bursting in your restaurant demanding that they be fed. In situations like this, it’s best to have trained your staff to act professionally, not engage them in too much chit-chat, and to provide them with food as fast as possible. But, with the efforts of all your staff combined, you should be able to succeed in making your customer less hangrier.

But what happens when your delivery people come face to face with a hangry customer?

This is the real issue you need to be worried about. If your delivery staff isn’t trained to handle hangry customers, don’t be surprised if they turn up with a bruised eye one day because they took their time making small talk with the customer while the customer hangrily eyed the precious food.

But, small talk is important, so having your delivery people chuck the food over the fence to all customers isn’t something you should do every time. Instead, focus on training your staff to identify the hangry customers, and to handle them appropriately, which brings us to our next question: how do we identify the hangry ones?

Instead of putting your delivery staff in danger, there are ways you can immediately get notified that a person is hangry just from the way they order. If they happen to have “Bring me my food NOW!” in the special notes box, then there’s a good chance they are hangry. If the order is massive, and requested 50 hot sauces on the side, then there’s a good chance they are hangry (or have a very large group). If they keep calling every five minutes to check if their order is placed, then they are most certainly hangry. So if you see any of these signs, make sure you let your delivery staff know that things might get hairy. Not only that, work with your staff to make sure they are all aware and have communicated the customer that big order might take more time, that they have a delay on delivery because of weather. Giving visibility and letting the customer know that you might have issues is one way of preventing hanger issues! Its important also for your staff to communicate with your driver and let him know if something has gone wrong so its not a surprise for the customer – of course the first step is to let the customer know and inform him.

But you can’t always let your delivery staff know ahead of time, so it’s up to them to decide if the person answering the door is hangry. To do this, your delivery people need to be quick on their feet, and able to read people expressions in a matter of seconds. If they see that the customer is obviously angry, and possibly violent, then it’s best to deliver and run, regardless of whether or not the customer is hangry. Don’t spend time with chit-chat, don’t take your time leisurely getting off your bike, just run to the front door, hand over the food! And don’t be too concerned if they yell at you. It’s a natural part of their hanger, how would you feel if your order was late or had issues – most probably not with hanger- but people are different and they react in different ways, its important not to engage with them, turn the page, and go to your next delivery. The positive note is that you just gained a new horror story to tell your friends next time you meet them!

So, follow these steps, and you just might live to tell the story of the day you came face to face with a hangry person, and lived to tell about it.

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