Creating a Service-Recovery Strategy

Michael Tipps at the 2017 NCB Show
​​Michael Tipps consulting live at a Nightclub & Bar Show session. Image: Getty

Editor's Note: The following is one in a series of blogs provided by the experts who have worked incredibly hard to make Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" reality program, starring Nightclub & Bar Media Group President Jon Taffer, such a success. The Bar Rescue Insider blog series will deliver tried-and-true tips and tricks to help bar owners, operators and managers solve common problems and increase their bottom line. Tune in to every Wednesday for the next edition of Bar Rescue Insider!


I’m always blown away when I walk into a bar, restaurant or hotel and see people waiting and getting frustrated because they a spilled drink or are dissatisfied with their cocktails.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are in the business of creating experiences and reactions, and we use food and beverages as ways to create a bridge to those experiences. My mentality has always been the same: The guest experience must be the most important subject in the service industry.

One way to help turn negative incidents into trust-building appreciation is to implement service recovery. It will empower your team members and increase productivity on the floor and behind the bar.

Start by creating a simple questionnaire that should be filled out to track and explain any incidents with guests who have an issue or complaint. The employee involved should include his or her name, as well as that of the manager, if one was needed. Finally, leave space at the end of the form for the employee to describe the resolution to the challenge. Place the forms at server stations and behind the bar.

Next, explain to all of your employees that this new program will allow everyone to be empowered as managers at certain times.


Because the amount of time it takes to help a guest is all that matters.

Therefore, if a guest spills a Vodka and Tonic, and a busser notices the problem, he can approach the bar and say, “I need Vodka and Tonic Service Recovery on the fly please!”

The bartender then can create a tab for service recoveries, adding a Vodka and Tonic.

At the end of each night, a manager should go through the service-recovery tab and have the associated employee fill out a questionnaire.

In the end, these procedures will help free your floor manager during busy times and shift employee mentality to better understand guest needs.

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