How can organisations meet the standards of higher expectations from internal customers?

Needless to say the number of cooking shows on television has been increasing over the last recent years.  Unintentionally, this trend has an effect on the expectations of the moderate television viewer and her eating habits. When having a night out at a restaurant, the expectations are set much higher, and interestingly enough, this trend can be extended to the company environment.  How does an organisation respond to these raising aspirations of the customer?

At first, it is important to zoom in on the aspects that are important to the customer. The customer experience starts when entering the company restaurant, a place where it is important to enter a pleasant and clean environment, where a good balance between practical accommodation and necessary comfort should exist. Additionally, a correct and quick service along with a big smile, is expected to promote the social side of catering.

Because every audience has different demands on quantity and assortment, it is of great importance for the catering responsible to map these needs and create clarity towards the company and its internal customers. Lately, there has been a growing demand for healthy food options, whereby the customer herself can choose the components of her healthy meal. Nevertheless, price or costs remain one of the most important factors for both customers and the organisation itself, as they both strive to keep it/them as low as possible.

Last but not least, the quality of the meals is also an important requirement. The presentation, smell and especially the flavor of meals have to convince the customer to repeat her visit to the company restaurant. This is one aspect that is the most difficult to measure.

The environment, service, quantity, etc. are one at a time quantifiable elements that can be measured in an objective manner. This makes it possible to define the corresponding KPIs and SLAs to use as a base for the catering contract. But how can you incorporate the (higher demands in) taste of your customers into your catering contracts?

MCS Solutions is convinced that the taste experience can be derived from the monthly volume of consumed meals. We usually suggest setting up monthly discussions with the catering company in order to analyse the revenue of the past month per meal. This way it is possible to identify the meals or combination of ingredients that make the smallest or no profit at all. Based on these findings, certain combinations of ingredients or meals can be taken off from the menu. In addition to these monthly meetings, it is of great importance to question the internal customer about general experience such as the environment, service, price, etc. as well as about food variety and quality. Based on these results, adjustments (e.g. new meals) can be included into the assortment. One remark though, please be careful to not set expectations too high in the survey, whereby the customer understands (erroneously) that all personal wishes may be granted. Including this feedback and some flexibility into the catering contract is a first step towards (maintaining) satisfied internal customers.

So, can you define how does your organisation meet the growing catering expectations of your internal customer base?