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The Wow Factor

Developing the WOW factor is what will set us apart from the competition.


Let’s jump into the shoes of the guest at our bar… Picture the scene…


You are walking into a bar you have never been into for the first time…


You have preconceptions about what is going to be inside.


If you walked in and rather than staff there were self-serving machines you would be surprised, wouldn’t you?


But would you be surprised if you walked in and there was just a wooden bar with a bartender behind it? Probably not…


Let’s break it down…


Note: The example below is centred around a Bar, you can easily swap a restaurant, a cinema, a hotel, anything into the same example framework.



What aspects of the bar are an absolute necessity?


*Staff of some sort to run it


*Stock to sell



*You expect a certain array of things dependant on your preconception of the venue


*You expect there to be a toilet


*A till or a way of paying


*Somewhere to sit


Let’s look at this in a graphic to explain a little more… I really should make a video on this subject!


You walk in and the venue has what it needs and what you expect to be in there …


There is nothing to tell the outside world about, it’s exactly what you thought it would be.


But what if you walk in the venue and it doesn’t have what you expect, i.e. no tables at all.


You would tell everyone, “there’s no tables in there I won’t go again, I had to stand with my drink.”


So let’s say that you have walked into the venue and it has what it needs and what you expect as well as an extra WOW factor that you weren’t expecting.


Now all three rungs of the Wow circle are filled with something.


Now you would tell everyone! “The bartender knew so much about the beers, I tried one I’ve never had”


Now here’s the tricky bit that not a lot of people realise.


One WOW isn’t enough


What happens when you come back to the venue for your second visit?


On your second visit, the things that WOW’d you on your first visit you now expect to happen again.


And so begins the cycle of the wow factor


The WOW Factor is what sets apart the bad from the good Click To Tweet



So based on the experience of your first visit you say to your friends “Let’s go here, the bartenders are great, they know everything there is to know about beer”


So what was previously a WOW factor is now expected.


If it doesn’t happen (as you expect it to now) you automatically don’t see the venue in the same light as you did on your first visit… Sad times for us as bartenders.


So as a venue we are left with a problem (or as we prefer to call it, an opportunity)



*We need to keep up our WOW factors every single time because they have moved into the customer’s expected circle


*We need to consistently think of new WOW factors so that we are always giving the best customer experiences that we can.


So here’s what I want you to do


1Back of house write up a list of wow factors that your customers DO NOT Expect


2On a separate notice board, or piece of paper or whatever new fangled notice device you use. Write the words “What the customer expects”


3Every time you or the team do one of the WOW Factors, cross it off your WOW Factor list and migrate it on to your EXPECT list.

Contrary to popular belief it is detrimental for one of your staff to be the “best”, constantly wowing means that the customer will always expect that. What happens when they aren’t served by that same “best” staff member?


They don’t get what they expect…


They are disappointed.


It’s that simple. You are only as good as your worst member of staff.  Everyone must deliver wow factors and everyone must deliver those same wow factors once they become expectations.


Comment below if you learnt something from The WOW factor. Extra points if you are going to try it out!

For more on customer service and how we can all get better at it, I recommend these posts

The Atmosphere Triangle

Upselling: The Complete Guide

Complaint Handling: The Definitive Guide

Having worked within the hospitality trade for over 15 years I've done a lot. From scraping plates to the managing of 150+ staff and regularly creating thousands in revenue per week. My passion is creating a winning team that blows the competition away. There is no greater feeling than seeing the staff's achievements. So share away and let's all be better bartenders. | | The upkeep of this website can be thirsty work! Would you like to buy us a drink?

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