Customer service is equal parts communication and genuine attention to your diners. When you treat them with care and respect while providing an excellent meal, they’ll come back to your restaurant again and again.
According to a Harvard Business School study, customer satisfaction has a massive impact on revenue. Researchers have found the No. 1 reason customers abandon a brand is due to poor quality and rude customer service. These items were cited 18 percent more often than slow or untimely service. Simply stated, customer service or the lack thereof can make or break a business.
Henry’s BBQ isn’t likely to become a “broken business” any time soon. Jon Henry and his wife, Tawnya, have apparently solved the customer service equation as this is the fourth time in six years Henry’s has been voted No. 1 in customer service in the Daily Press’ Best of Artesia polling.
One need only turn to social media to get an overdose of the public’s appreciation for Henry’s customer service (and, of course, its barbecue).
Henry’s BBQ customers from California to Iowa, Albuquerque to Oregon, Colorado to Houston, and Maine to D.C. have expressed the consensus via the online rating and review website Yelp that “friendly, friendly, friendly staff” that are “always happy to see you!” are a big draw at Henry’s.
“The BBQ was excellent and the service was even better,” said one reviewer from Fort Collins, Colo. “We had great food and nice conversation with the ultra friendly wait staff.”
“Great people working there, cool environment and amazing food,” said another from Austin, Texas.
“Our crew loved it and staff could not be more wonderful,” reviewed a D.C. resident.
“The guy at the counter greeted us as friendly as if we were local and I appreciate that because so many places on the road they know you are passing through and don’t bother,” read one review from Lafayette, Calif. “But the staff here is so friendly and the owner came by all the tables, said hello and thanked the customers for coming.”
That “guy at the counter” is Henry’s manager Tino Munoz, who says a big part of the secret to Henry’s customer service success is its owners, who “definitely lead by example.”
And the fact that the staff at Henry’s predominantly consists of high school students or recent graduates makes such compliments resonate even more for the Henrys.
“The secret isn’t really a secret,” said Jon. “We’ve empowered them. They’re a part of the family, and we make them a part of the family. Rather than this just be a job for them that they show up to, our goal is to be a part of their lives.”
The Henrys believe strongly in the ability of young workers to thrive, given proper guidance.
“This isn’t their career, and I think we all understand that,” Jon said. “Ninety percent of them, it’s their first job. Our job is to help them understand the expectations the next job is going to have. We feel like it’s our duty to, for when they go to college or when they pick their career, help them be ready for it.
“You see at so many places where kids are just there to be there, and nobody holds them accountable or takes an interest in their lives. I think that’s tragic. My goal is to find out about the people who work with us, when something’s going on, help them with it, and then at that point, they become part of the family and are more likely to be like, ‘This is our place.’”
Jon says few things give him more pride than the compliments he receives about his staff’s service, not only online but around town and via phone calls and texts.
On the rare occasion a complaint is logged, Henry’s staff is determined to correct the situation.
“We don’t view complaints as problems but as opportunities to get better,” Jon said. “We’re going to mess up, but if you don’t give us the opportunity to fix it, then we can’t get better. Our goal is to be better. We want to be the best every year.”
Judging from the community response each year in the Best of Artesia contest, Henry’s is accomplishing that goal.
“We appreciate it,” Jon said. “I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it everywhere I go, it’s a fantastic town that really embraces people and the kids, and hopefully, this is our way of giving back to the community by taking the few kids we get here and trying to help make them stronger.
“Artesia is all about the kids, and I feel like it’s my duty as a business owner to help those kids become successful. They love Artesia as much as I do, so they represent it well.”