I learned about moments of truth in my Operations Management class in college. They have stuck with me throughout my marketing career.
What is a moment of truth?
A moment of truth is usually defined as an instance wherein the customer and the organization come into contact with one another in a manner that gives the customer an opportunity to either form or change an impression about the firm. (source)
How do they apply to your restaurant?
Anywhere and everywhere. If there’s a table not cleared off, it may show your restaurants lack of cleanliness. If there’s no host at the front, it’s not the best first impression. On the flip side, food being delivered quickly and attentive servers are positive moments of truth.
How do you discover your moments of truth?
The best way is to put your customer hat on. Bring your spouse and kids to dinner and take in the whole experience. Or, better yet, serve a free meal for people who have never dined at your restaurant before - they’ll give you their first impression of your restaurant and hopefully be honest about it. Do this several times a year and see if the moments of truth change.
How do you fix your moments of truth?
Every restaurant has moments of truth that don’t portray the place in the best of light. Before you fix them, identify them - make a list. Then meet with your staff to go over them - how can you best eliminate the bad moments of truth and enhance the favorable ones?
Either way, take a shot at the moments of truth exercise. You’ll learn tons about your business!