Is it true that the service level in Denmark is way lower than in other countries? I have heard that statement several times and it has been discussed amongst executives and opinion makers in the Danish service and hospitality industry. And the other day, I experienced it myself – and sad to say: It isn’t the first time.
Last week I went for dinner with my colleagues. There were almost 25 of us and I know that it is quite the party for a small restaurant but it is not an impossible task…and should it be, they ought to just decline the request.
Anyway, each person was asked to order in advance from a limited menu, and still a lot of the colleagues (myself included) didn’t get what they ordered. Everything with the food was just chaos. And put that on top of not having seats for everybody, accidentally cancelling our booking then doubting if they had room for us and almost sending us to another restaurant, as well as collecting the used glasses to fill them again…and forgetting which glass belong to which person just to ask if we would like our own glass back?!?! – well, then you can imagine that not being a very good experience.
It isn’t all bad
There are certainly very good restaurants in Denmark where the service level is sky high, but unfortunately, the fact that tipping is not that common here and that we have a lot of under-educated serving staff (not trained waiters) shines through in the service picture in Denmark.
Of course, we do have high level restaurants in Denmark – places where service is a priority and they want you to leave with the experience of a lifetime, and as our friend from Wolthers World states in this video: It is not that much more expensive to go to an upscale restaurant and get better service:
Is there a lack of education?
So, how come it is like that? Well, in my honest opinion, I believe that there is a lack of education in the hospitality industry in Denmark. A lot of restaurants don’t hire trained waiters but only young people who work during their year off of studying or in order to top up the student pay they get from the state while studying. People who can take an order and bring out the food.
But hospitality is so much than bringing food. It is also about connecting to people, and creating an experience, an atmosphere, and an ambiance for the guest. And this ‘task’ will only get bigger in the future. Certainly, there will always be the place you go to get food in a hurry – and by all means, do keep hiring the young students here…they still need a part time job. But if you want to make an impression and create an experience, do consider hiring trained staff.
How ‘bout the hotels?
All of the above goes for the Danish hotel industry as well. In the future, creating an experience will not be limited to 5 star/diamond hotels who provide you with a butler and carry your bag to your room – even a 2 star/diamond hotel has to work on giving their guests the ultimate experience. They just have to find their own place on the ‘experience map’ other than butler service.
We do actually have quite a lot of small, independent hotels in Denmark who have an interesting story to tell, and they should use these stories in their experience management.
Education is a priority
Well, first of all we need educated people in the Danish service industry, and this is somewhat of a problem as we don’t have that many educational opportunities in Denmark.
On Mødeindustriens Dag on October 9, 2017 I will moderate a debate about this issue. How can we expect outstanding service when we don’t educate our young people for the industry? Do certifications matter to the hotels…and should they? How do venues handle the increased demands for events that create a bigger ROI or ROO?
You can meet me there to know more about what I think about the future of meetings – or follow this blog. I promise you more is to come about the educational level in the Danish hospitality and meeetings industry.