When it comes to the F&B industry, food and beverages are extremely important. No duh! But even more important are those who eat and drink them. Any establishment offering these services needs to pay special attention to the way they treat their clientele. Now, not every customer is the same: you know what they say about opinions, so we’ve got to get really good at placing square pegs in square holes. This is exactly why we’ve got to get reading tables down to a science (like multiplication tables, the more your practice the better and quicker you get); become experts at it so we can keep customers happy.Mesas1

In very broad strokes, knowing how to read tables means understanding the needs of every foodie that comes through the door. The idea that we all like to be treated equally is nothing but an outdated myth. There is truth in that we all want to be treated “well”, but what that means for each individual is relative. Mero Mole has discovered that, for foodies, it means being made to feel unique and special. Fact: we are social animals and can be egocentric at times; it can’t be helped. That’s why it is essential to be able to understand our consumers’ behavior and needs: deep down all they want is to feel special.

This “science” brings to the industry a more direct way to get to their consumers: consumers that want to get the very best without having to ask for it. It’s not just neighborhood dives and local holes-in-the-wall that need to be intimate with their clientele. The attitude of “More knows the devil for being old than from being the devil” has been hurting the industry more than helping. It’s high time everyone starts firing on all cylinders and learns to start reading customers’ minds (easier said than done, of course). It’s lucky that there do exist several proven ways to accomplish this: read the context (whether foodies are out to party or handling serious business, for example), then identify body language (are they seeking to be waited on or do they want to be left to themselves, do they want their drinks automatically and perpetually replenished, etc.), and lastly, make an educated guess as to the personality of the consumer (some are more serious, other talkative, etc.). That is what their memory of their experience in your establishment depends on.

Knowing how to read tables successfully ensures that the consumer has a positive experience; one that makes them feel welcome, special, important, and what’s more, your guests of honor. It is not remotely the same to arrive to a restaurant with your mother in law than with your old high school buds or the date you’re looking to impress. It’s also not in good taste to have to ask the waiter to hold off on offering desert as you’re closing a huge business deal. A good handle on reading tables can make or break any F&B business. Want some tips? If it’s a group of friends you’re serving, constantly refill water glasses to keep conversation flowing. If it’s a family, give them plenty of bread and entertainment, fast. If it’s a business meeting, interrupt as seldom as you can without leaving them unattended. If the air around the table is so thick you need a chainsaw to cut through it, serve the food quickly and keep your distance. It’s all about paying attention to detail.

The message Mero Mole wants to get through is that reading tables is not a God-given “gift” that you’re either born with or you’re screwed. You learn it: begin by getting acquainted with your target market. Secondly, segment your consumers into consumption opportunities. And finally comes the psychology piece, where you must read body language and identify personality types. We’re not saying it’s easy. You could be asking yourselves, “How is it possible to read human behaviors if it’s sometimes difficult to understand our own?!” At Mero Mole, we’ve worked hard to scientifically quantify every aspect of the F&B industry. We’ve dotted our i’s and crossed all our t’s. We know that consumers fit into a vast matrix of variables, and we also know that the recipe for failure is serving up cookie-cutter experiences. Reading tables is a science and the industry should start using it.

By: The Top Dogs.