Don’t ignore the special requests that come with your orders! Here’s why.

Avoid all issues with food allergies and late delivery times by following this simple guide.

Your restaurant is running on all engines, full capacity, on a beautiful Friday night. Every time a customer leaves, two more come in. Every time you send out one delivery, two more orders come in. All hands are on deck as your waiters, chefs, and everybody else works with clockwork efficiency to deliver your customers the meals they love. Among all the rush, you get another order across, and as you browse through the order, you notice a small comment tagging along.

How important can it be? You think to yourself, rapidly moving to get the order to your chef, while already focused on the next order.

Three hours later, once all your customers have left and you’re closing up your restaurant for the night, thinking that you just had the most successful day ever, you find out that maybe it wasn’t so successful after all. Why? Because once you take a glance at your microsite, you see a very, very angry 1-star review by a customer, saying how they had specifically mentioned allergic requirements. Allergic requirements you had ignored. Maybe it had cost them a trip to the hospital, at best. Maybe you could have yourself a court case, at worst. Whichever it is, you’ll definitely have one thing: reduced customers, a reduced overall rating, and of course, one customer who’s never coming back.

No, it’s not just one customer. If you check out our previous articles, you’ll see that we explained how word of mouth is a very compelling tool of marketing. But, as with all things, it's a double ended tool. In the same way a customer you impressed will recommend you to all his friends, a customer you put in the hospital will ensure that no one he knows eats at your restaurant. All this because you ignored a simple comment.

So, it’s pretty clear you should never ignore the comments that come in with the orders. Even if they have nonsense in them, read the nonsense twice before you decide it is nonsense. There could be a case where the user was trying to say something but wasn't really proficient in getting his idea across. If you have any doubts about what the customer has written, just call him. It’ll save you a world of trouble, plus, your customer would be grateful that you cared enough to call!

But it isn’t just down to allergy information. Your customers may use the comment box to leave information about how the delivery should be made. Perhaps their road is under construction, and they are just letting you know of another route your delivery staff should take, or maybe there is a particular key code to gain access into their apartment building. Ignoring this bit of information and forgetting to ensure that your delivery staff knows all the details may end up being a huge waste of their valuable time. They might take all the wrong routes, just to find that the roads were closed. They might get stuck outside the building for hours trying to get in touch with the customer so that they can make it into the building. If you’re having a busy evening, this could mean that your delivery people won’t be able to work at full efficiency, not to mention the fact that your customer will be getting his delivery late. Or, who knows, the customer may have mentioned that they have a very large, very angry bulldog which might end up giving your delivery staff a fright of their lives! My point is, making sure that you thoroughly read exactly what the customer has written as special requirements is very important.

So next time you see a comment, don’t ignore it. Read it thoroughly. Call the customer to clarify if you have to. Your night may be busy, but a quick 5-minute call is all it takes to save hours of trouble.

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