Ankush Kumar, our fellow writer and also the owner of Patna’s biggest theme restaurant In-Flight Kitchen, created on a theme of an airplane, in this first ever Q&A on Mission Sharing Knowledge talks of how he sees the Lemp incident, how much impact can the social media make and how would he have tackled the incident.
1. Are online reviews equally powerful as others? Should they be given so much importance? How much attention would you give to viral promotion vis-a-vis traditional ones which these days have a perception of being “bought”?
AK: In an age where the ‘taar’ is going out of fashion because of the internet, today when we have rural India selling cows and buffaloes on OLX, it would be foolish to ignore the power of the web. The guests who visits restaurants in urban India today and are ready to pay for their service are the ones who are constantly updating their lives through their smartphones. These online user reviews are definitely a huge plus for any business. It is an added indicator to improve on our shortcomings. Having said that it is not the only parameter to judge one’s performance. In todays age we cannot keep a single parameter in isolation. Its the total package that counts.
2. Do you bother about online reviews on portals and do you answer back negative ones and try resolve consumers who go bonkers?
AK: I don’t know about the established set ups, sometimes they do ignore complaints. But since I am just seven months old in the business of hospitality, and food has been a passion that drives me, I pay heed to each response and try to improve on that. There are regional hazards one faces for example since my restaurant is in Patna my stewards are not comfortable with english language, but I have trained them to understand that being polite and courteous needs no language. It is universal. Reviews online are updated only when the guest is appalled, we ensure it doesnt reach to that level. Hence all our online reviews so far have been positive.
3. If something similar to Lemp happens to your restaurant, how would you deal with the situation?
AK: I have never been to Lemp. Though I know a few people who have suffered similar heartburns with their service and attitude. See very few people today run a restaurant to generate profits, most of them do it to manage their capital. People like me always dreamt of having restaurants. If you have a team that shares the same passion such issues will never arise. If such an incident happens at InFlight Kitchen in my absence first I will go through the cctv footage to ensure that the guests complaints are genuine. And after that will compensate my guests the way they want it. And finally heads will roll.
4. What learning lesson you think can be learnt from this incident?
AK: If you as a boss are brash by nature go open a petrol pump, not a restaurant. Every hotel management institute teaches you to treat your guests well. If you cannot inculcate that aspect in your team you might as well not run the restaurant. Handling irate customers is your job so is to respect their sensibilities.
5. Have you as a consumer faced something like this when you went to eat out?
AK: I have faced similar situations many a times, but unlike the people who took the pains to write a documented proof of their harrasment I chose to ignore it. Also the dissatisfaction i faced did not go this far.
- Lemp Incident Highlights Social Media as the Answer (vishal1mehra.com)
- How A Negative Blog Post Killed The Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen On Social Media (lighthouseinsights.in)
- 10 Non-Social Media Observations On The Lemp Brewpub Mess – Karthik Srinivasan (medianama.com)