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Anything worth doing can be measured. Far too often businesses measure too many things and forget to measure the things that determine success or failure. Sean Finter outlines key ‘unseen’ factors management should be paying attention to at the back of house to ensure success for their venue.


If you own a commercial kitchen and a bar your customers expect great food and drinks when they go out. Much the same as you are not overly impressed when your car stops at the red light after your mechanic puts new brakes on.

Serving great food and drinks makes you a commodity—and commodities go out of business in our industry. Customers decided where to spend their time and money based on a “feeling”. In fact, they decide subconsciously based on how they feel about themselves while at your venue.

Think about that. The 22-year-old bartender has to create an environment where 45-year-old customers feel good about themselves for 2-3 hours at a time. Is it any wonder why so many bars fail?

The best-run bars know they need to regularly measure two things: staff engagement and customer experience.

Most hospitality businesses either don’t survey regularly (or at all) or they measure the wrong things. They merely ask, “Were the food/service/drinks good?” Instead of being specific and mapping out the survey against the company's brand promise.

One of the best measurement tools for guest experience is the NPS (Net Promoter Score). For staff, engagement use spot-checks and mystery shoppers to ensure consistent delivery of your brand of hospitality.


These are a few bars that “measure what matters” because they know that staff respect what you inspect.

Measuring is just the first step, and if you stop there you could do more harm than good. Next you need to make sense of the data and share it with your them team in an interesting way. Then, most importantly, use that data to both coach and celebrate.



● Production Capability vs. Potential - Hold speed trials for bar/floor team to benchmark and rank. This ensures constant improvement in speed and efficiency, and it’s fun!

● Engagement - Use the Gallup Q12 to measure organizational commitment by individual.

● Net Promoter Score - Use the NPS for feedback on individuals, shifts, sections, etc.

● Applications vs Vacancies - Grading applications (A, B and C) allows you to track how many applications per vacancy you have.


● True competition: Where would the customer would be eating/drinking if not with you? (rarely who you think it might be)

● Positive comments: Most operators are quick to offer negative feedback, but those who measure and celebrate with positive feedback get more from their teams.

● NPS (Net Promoter Score) per waiter /bartender

● Mystery shopper program measured against brand promises

● Measuring Napkinomics: 3x3x3 service strategy promises

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