In a F&B business, you often hear talk of service failure. Customers complain that the staff doesn't know the menu, the hostess forgot their reservation, the meal takes a long time to prepare, the food is cold, etc. Or to put it simply, customers complaining about your service. Meanwhile, service is something important in this business. 

How can service design improve your F&B business?

A customer won’t only judge your restaurant based on the taste of the food but also the service. Does it take a short time to process the order? Are all the waiters friendly? What about the delivery service? All of these aspects would pile up to affect the customers’ perceptions towards your restaurant.

To avoid all this chaos and having everyone in the team blaming each other, having a service design blueprint for a daily operation is needed. 

service design

What is service design?

Design is not just for products. Service design is about designing an experience for a service to fulfill the needs of the service's users and customers.

The term itself was coined by Lynn Shostack, a bank executive in 1982. She noticed that when services failure happen, sometimes it is not necessarily because of human incompetence. Instead, it can be as a result of the lack of systematic design and control procedures.

service design

Hence, a blueprint is needed. Service design is the art of combining human, digital, and physical interactions to create a unique experience for your customers. It can be challenging to provide excellent customer service, since it’s something intangible. However, design thinking can be used to understand the customers’ needs and improve a service over time. 

How to design your F&B service design blueprint

You should not only concentrate on the menu and the spaces while designing your F&B business. In addition to those, it is important to develop a service design blueprint by doing these steps.

Mapping out the processes

The very first step in creating a service design blueprint is by mapping out the process that constitutes the service. In service design, there is a frontstage and a backstage, depending on whether the customers see the process or not.

For example, in a restaurant the front stage would be what appears on your table, the facilities, and how the service is provided by the waiters, like how they greet the customer, etc. Meanwhile, what happens in the kitchen is backstage. Though customers cannot see the process in the kitchen, this part of the process will influence the whole service experience.

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Identifying weak points and possible solutions

After visualizing the procedure, you can now begin to anticipate where things might go wrong. By having a clear flowchart that breaks service processes into sections, it would be easier to identify what the points of failure are in the service operation and how they can be improved (problem-solution fit).

For instance, if cooking takes a long time in your restaurant, the cycle time for receiving orders probably needs to be improved. It is essential to identify failure points and develop backup procedures.

By identifying  the possibility of failure during the design phase, the impacts of service failures can be significantly reduced. The quality of the service delivered is inevitably higher when designers and managers jointly consider potential issues in advance.

Execute and iterate

Designers must think about execution after outlining the processes and creating a backup plan for unforeseen problems. A standard execution time should be established, for example, what is the maximum time for meal delivery? Under working conditions, the design should nevertheless permit a deviation from the standard execution time.

Additionally, all parties involved should try out what is written down first. Iteration may be necessary before the service design blueprint is finalized in order to find the optimal one.

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The benefits of having a service design blueprint 

Making a service design in advance can undoubtedly help your F&B business in the long run in a number of ways:

1. Knowing the order of the service will be helpful to you and everyone else on the team. It creates a better collaboration.
2. You're making the consumer the focal point of your business.
3. It can reduce the rate of failure
4. When something bad occurs, having a plan on what to do is important so that the negative effects can be kept to a minimum.
5. For the entire process, you have a predetermined parameter or measurement.

All in all, one of the most important service design principles is that it is user-centered. Changes, additions, and omissions are only made to make the user satisfied with your service. 

When customers are pleased, it will increase their loyalty and be advantageous for your business. However, this kind of service that leaves users or customers delighted wasn't just created overnight; it was planned out beforehand.

Service designers create the invisible, and sometimes the intangibles play a crucial role in creating a lasting impression. Here at Natuno, this is what we do. We develop an understanding of customer expectations and needs together with you to create a more user-friendly customer experience. 

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