Monthly Archives: April 2012

You asked for it, so here it is.

Earlier in the year I launched my 29 day leadership challenge.  And the feedback I’ve had is “Caroline, can you run it again, as I want my whole management team to go through it.”

So that’s just what I’m doing and it’s starting next Wednesday (2nd May).

Here’s the run down on the programme:

(the video isn’t one of my finest, but it will help you get an idea of what you’ll get from the programme – please don’t laugh at my startled look!)



I’m setting you a challenge to bring about a real change in your team in just 29 days.

This is what you’ll discover

  • Practical ways to keep your team motivated even when balancing labour costs
  • How to get your team on board and share your passion for your future plans
  • Ways to inspire your team to take ownership
  • Actions to retain your valued team members so they don’t leave as soon as they’re up to speed
  • Steps to develop your team so they are able and willing to cover each other when necessary
  • Strategies to get your managers and supervisors to manage effectively, so you don’t have to do their job for them
  • A proven formula to deal with poor performance in a positive way that leaves team members motivated to change
  • How to delegate more to achieve some free time to focus on the bigger picture


Here’s where to learn more and sign up

Grand finale or damp squib?

When my husband and I are on holiday we normally like to do something special and memorable on our last night. Our recent Norwegian Cruise was no exception. As you’d expect, dinner was included and each evening there been a set time for dinner, sharing a table with other passengers. It was good to catch up over dinner and hear of everybody’s adventures of the day.

So we were all set for our last evening to have some fun, reflect on our trip and end our holiday with a grand finale.

What we got instead was a boring, lonely and flat evening.

Rather than make the most of this opportunity the restaurant had decided to change the format for the evening and laid on a buffet. And rather than having a set time as on previous evenings the buffet was served over a 2½ hour window. We hadn’t seen our dining companions all day so opted to go in at our normal dinner time in the hope that they would have done the same. Instead when we arrived at the restaurant it was deserted; it seemed that virtually every other passenger had already come and gone. There were a few other stragglers like us but in the large restaurant, sat at our assigned tables we were scattered around all four corners of the restaurant. The result was no atmosphere and a feeling of isolation. Not conducive to a relaxed evening.

And because of the lack of other diners we felt that the restaurant staff had lost interest; it was over 15 minutes just to get a drink. The buffet table itself although there was an extensive range had been picked over and we felt we were just getting the remains; it seemed as if nothing fresh had been bought out in the last hour.

The end result was a less than favourable last impression. And a missed opportunity as the last thing we felt like doing was sitting over a few extra glasses of wine (hmm, come to think of it I don’t think we were even offered the wine list…). We just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible!

What do you do to create a grand finale for your customers?

  • Save some of the highlights until the end of the day or event. As well as making it memorable for your customers it gives a more natural close to the occasion, but keeps people interested (and potentially spending) right until the end.
  • Recognising there will be a time in the day or evening when you need to start preparing for the next day e.g. laying up for breakfast, entice people into another area e.g. into the lounge for their coffee (opposed to making people feel uncomfortable and forced to leave).
  • Ensuring everything is still available right to then end of their visit.
  • Present a gift, memento or a (pleasant) surprise at the end of their stay or visit “I heard what you said earlier and thought you might like this…..” Anything that is unexpected and adds a personal touch.
  • Ask for feedback in a way that shows you are genuinely interested and value their opinion and comments.
  • Don’t leave people hanging on when they are ready to leave – queues at the cloakroom, delays in getting their bill or settling up, bottlenecks in the car park, long queues at the toilets.
  • Ensure the last thing your customers see is a friendly smiling face….

Are your profits going down the drain?

Every day of our cruise I was horrified at just how much food and drink, and therefore profit, was literally being poured the drain.

The main culprit was a drink all you like coffee deal. At the start of the cruise you could purchase your own ‘souvenir’ mug, and refill it as often as you liked. At 250 NOK (approximately £27) this at first glance seemed a lot of money, but when you saw that it was 20 NOK for a single cup, 6 days at a probably 4 – 5 cups of team of coffee per day this didn’t seem such a bad deal.  Presumably some people would drink less and therefore this deal was a potential win-win.

However, here’s the rub: the mug provided were approximately 40% bigger than the standard cups, and the coffee machines were set to fill a standard cup. This meant that each time you went to fill your mug with coffee, instead of pressing for one measure, you pressed again for a second measure to fill the mug. Of course you don’t need to be a mathematician to realise that as the mugs were only 40% bigger 2 measures would be too much. What happens to the excess coffee? You guessed it, it goes down the drain.

So what on the surface seemed like a good deal for both parties, must have meant in reality that almost 1/3 of the coffee dispensed was ending up down the drain.

And this wasn’t the only area of waste. Where ever passengers helped themselves you saw waste that was avoidable:

Lack of labels or descriptions: On the buffets at breakfast and some evening meals there were several items not labelled. This meant that people would help themselves, then when they realised it was not what they thought it was, inevitably it got left on the plate. This included everyday items that I’m sure you may serve such as fruit juices – is it pineapple or it is grapefruit? They both look the same, but if you were expecting grapefruit you’re unlikely to be happy when you taste pineapple. Indistinguishable sandwich fillings, speciality breads and sauces, all can confuse our guests when they are not labelled.

Poor portion control: Little pots were provided for your jam, but the size of the pot encouraged you to take twice as much as needed, and most was wasted. And over-sized serving utensils meant that people took too much of meat dishes.

Lack of batch cooking meant that dishes got dried up and unappetizing towards the end of service, so people avoided them until they got replenished.

So if you have any self-service items such as at breakfast or drinks, take a look at what is being wasted and where you can make savings. Not only can this save money, but it’s better for the guest too. A win-win for both of you.