SBJ/20090629/Opinion

Building a new ‘culture’

Your article in the June 8 issue, “Serving Notice,” nicely captured the renewed focus on service and “experience” as twin requirements of any food service partnership in the sports industry. The article also did a great job highlighting the Delaware North Cos.’ foresight in this area through its commitment to the GuestPath program. As one of the original architects of GuestPath, I can tell you that it is far more than a service training program; it was truly a recalibration of the company from the top down based around the idea that guest service and guest experience can provide a competitive advantage. Building this “service culture” required a good deal of hard work involving redefining the company mission, vision and values around “service” and the crafting of comprehensive service and operational standards designed to ensure a consistent delivery of the desired “GuestPath experience.”

Training and measurement programs  play a huge role in implementing and reinforcing the  experience. Quite often, however, “training” is identified as a cure-all for service issues, neglecting the time, effort and thought required to create the building blocks for a true organizational shift toward a service focus. Without this advance work, training alone becomes a once-a-year Band-Aid; with it, guest service becomes a transformational new way of doing business, as it has for Delaware North.

Zach Conen
Horsham, Pa.

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