Raising the BaristaRaising the Barista

By Justin McGurgan

The #2 mistake underperforming hospitality businesses make

I have watched businesses spend millions of dollars refurbishing and updating their facilities, and noticed how often they were disappointed that it did not produce the results they had expected.

The mistake they have made has been to create a wonderful new facility, yet retain the same poor levels of service. They believe that new buildings impress guests more than the experience.

Even the very best renovations could have been far more successful if the business had invested a small percentage in creating a guest service.

Reputation is built on our food, our people and the experiences they provide, yet where we spend our money is often on bricks and mortar.

Buildings, whilst important, don’t provide the same value in experience as a relationship. Buildings don’t have relationships with your customer – the team does.

Buildings are just a back drop, a blank canvas ready for the performers.

By Justin McGurgan

The Seven Mistakes that underperforming hospitality businesses make

At Zealifi, we have met and worked with hundreds of underperforming hospitality venue owners and managers and despite being highly skilled and great at what they do, we can all see when hospitality owners, managers and team members have lost their guest service mojo.

We have noticed that they seem to make the same seven mistakes. Over the coming weeks we will provide these to you so you make sure you are not making the same mistakes and missing a great opportunity to have an awesome and profitable service culture.

Mistake #1: Doing the same things every day and expecting a different result

The hospitality industry is getting bigger, but not better.  For some businesses it’s getting tougher to stand out from the crowd. Today, it’s less about what you do and more about how you do it and even WHY you do it. The  emotional connection is now front and centre. If you want guests coming back you need to make them feel something different, something really special… memorable.

So what are you doing differently?

By Justin McGurgan

Successful influencing skills for your team leaders

Successful influencing skills for your team leaders

To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.
Tony Robbins

No matter what role you have within your business, everyone is constantly influencing other people to get things done. Sometimes we are successful at it. Other times we are not. More often than not though, we don’t really think about the process of influencing, we just do it not realising that there are certain skills that make us better at it.

Successful influencing is designed to give managers and team leaders the opportunity to improve their influencing ability, thereby empowering them to improve their personal performance and the productivity of their teams.

Just what are the influencing skills that leaders need in order to get the best out of their team and provide solutions to conflict?

Here are a couple of examples I’d like to share from my book.

Commitment & Consistency: Your team will have no trouble working you out and responding to your influence if you have a reputation for commitment and consistency. When a person’s behaviour is relatively consistent, we know what to expect from them and therefore can modify our own behaviour and situation to achieve the required outcome

Flexibility: Developing an ability to be flexible is a key concept for effective influencing. To be influential you need to learn to alter your strategies to the situation and the other person.

In other words if what you are doing is not working, don’t do it harder or louder or stronger, do something else! The amount of influence you have is in direct proportion to how closely you pay attention and how flexible you are.

We are all aware of the importance of communication but with the introduction of social media and digital technology the need to get it right and do it often has become paramount. It is vital to spend time getting to know your team and discovering how they tick in order to resolve conflict effectively and be an inspirational influence.

Finally some relevant words from Marli Kovacevic, Learning and Development Advisor, Human Resources and Organisational Development Unit at Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

“The digital world has impacted customer service tremendously, not only with regards to readily accessible customer feedback, but also, because we have become so accustomed to texting and emails, which has affected our communications skills, both writing skills and verbal skills. Sometimes you wonder if we have forgotten how to conduct a conversation.”

These words really wrap up why it is so important to review, renew & re-establish our own influencing skills and also to also look at our staff. What good communication skills do your staff use to influence customers?

By Justin McGurgan

Turn your new customer into a regular

Turn your new customer into a regular

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” Og Mandino

Skills for your front line team are critical culture essentials & now is a good time to plant the seed within your service team.

Having a strong regular customer base is often the essence of a successful hospitality business.

Regularly communicating that you care about your customers’ needs and wants strengthens your connection to them and differentiates you from competitors who only reach out when they want to sell something.

It is important that managers introduce team members to customer service behaviours that reflect the ‘essence’
of what it is to be a hospitality employee.

The most sought after customer service employees often display the following qualities or ‘essence’ of a hospitality professional… engaging, friendly, confident, dynamic and well trained or guided by their leaders.

We need to do something about indifference because it’s a big problem and it suppresses growth.

Every customer needs to feel they are welcome. If one of your Customers is talking to you then that customer should be treated as the most important person in your life at that time.

They need to feel that their individual wants and needs are understood by team members. They need to feel that you are interested and attentive to their needs.

Give them what they want – They couldn’t care less about your rules – it’s not important to them.

It is up to the employees to communicate to the customers that they are happy to see them. Every customer deserves to receive a greeting when they arrive.

Offering the full complement of your business’s services for the customer to enjoy shouldn’t be seen as a selling activity, rather you are ensuring that customers leave with a sense that their needs were properly attended.

Value can also be added by offering services that cost the customer nothing. When was the last time you offered or provided a service, without requiring the customer to ask for it?

Clearly, there are many aspects of the workplace environment that front line employees have little to no control over but you can assist team members to focus on issues that they do have some control over.

Click on this link to purchase “Raising The BARista” for your team and show them how it’s done.
There is so much to gain and little to lose.

Raising The BARista is about implementation, not just ideas.
It creates not just a consistently great customer service environment in your business, but a real return on investment.
It delivers more customers, coming more often, with a higher average spend.

By Justin McGurgan

Struggling to take your business to the next level? The problem may be your culture & the solution within your leaders

Struggling to take your business to the next level? The problem may be your culture & the solution within your leaders

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done
because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Research shows that team culture and behaviour is a reflection of their leader’s
behaviour and attitudes.

In any business, a leader’s actions set the pace. Their behaviour wins trust, loyalty, and ensures the business’s continued success.

Korn-Ferry International, an executive search company, performed a survey on what organisations want from their leaders. The respondents said they wanted people who were … ethical and who convey a strong vision of the future.

How do your team perceive you?

To be an effective leader, your people must have trust in you and they have to be sold on your vision.

A business needs leaders with strong and good characteristics, people who will guide them into the future and show that they can be trusted.

Their behaviour wins trust, loyalty, and ensures the business’s continued success. One of the ways to build trust is to display a good sense of character. Character is the make-up of a person, including beliefs, values, skills, and traits.

The more of these you display as a leader, the more your people will believe and trust in you and the result will be a healthy and dynamic culture.

How does leadership make a difference to your venue’s culture and effectiveness?

Choose today to foster good employee engagement skills & watch how quickly your team & culture thrive. It’s that easy and costs nothing.

If we truly engage our team, outstanding customer service & continued
business success will be the new normal.

What is your normal?

By Justin McGurgan

Why your service team should be considered your bricks and mortar

Why your service team should be considered your bricks and mortar

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes.
It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.

Wade Bog

As the hospitality industry continues to meet new challenges it is getting tougher to stand out from the crowd. Now more than ever it’s less about what you do, because we all do the same stuff, and more about how you do it and WHY you do it.

The emotional connection and engagement with the customer is now our WHY. The truth is, if you want customers coming back you need to make them feel something different, something special. There is a huge opportunity for those businesses that have a true ‘heart’ connection and engagement with their customers and a big threat to those that don’t.

Our belief is that it’s about culture. Culture is about engagement – engagement is about people, team, guests and community.

Your culture should be about entertaining, informing, serving, surprising and giving pleasure. Are you doing this?

To attract more guests, increase their average spend & increase their visitation… It’s about creating long term effects on your guests. Regulars become regulars because you interact and engage with them.

When did the term ‘customer service’ become such an empty statement?

Have a look at your team and think about whether they are focused on tasks or focused on people. Especially the people in front of them right now.

Our future (& our team) should be about being bold and not beige, brilliant not ordinary. We need to be shouting loudly, “We have it, right here right now, for you.”

Businesses rated with exceptionally high levels of guest service GAIN market share at the rate of 6% per year.

This statistic alone is only one of many that tell us that it really is worthwhile getting the why when it comes to unlocking an awesome and profitable service culture.

By Justin McGurgan

Do you really know your leaders?

Do you really know your leaders?

Manager’s do things right. Leaders do the right thing.
Warren G. Bennis

Getting to really know your leaders and the leadership styles of your critical decision makers is of paramount importance. Once established it assists in aligning values, balancing skills and importantly, identifying areas for improvement or change.

How to provide valuable insight into your leadership team and how to work with each other’s strengths to deliver awesome customer service is the first big step in the right direction.

Once you have determined your leadership team’s strengths and weaknesses you will know what direction they are going individually and as a group.

Direction and movement are essential skills for all leaders and the capacity to move forward with the whole team is crucial.

Identifying inherent characteristics and traits that managers can use in the workplace to enable a better understanding of the different perspectives of their team members is an essential step in re-defining effective workplace communication.

In order to harness your own, and others’ potential, you first need to understand what makes people ‘tick’. What do they like to do? What drives them crazy? What are they good at, and not so good at? What excites them? What makes them feel defeated before they start?

Understanding your team leaders’ personalities will help you use what you already know about people and how they behave, and then it will add a whole new range of skills and understanding to this knowledge. It will give you deeper insights into yourself and others, and show that knowledge can improve your business environment, your team’s communication skills, and ultimately your profits.

The top three reasons employees quit or under-perform are bad relationships with their managers, a poor fit with their jobs, or the culture of the company.

Success for our future is in recognising the amazing potential in our leaders.
Getting to know your leaders now will pay off in the future.

By Justin McGurgan

Clear out old practices: Make this year a year for culture change and profit

Clear out old practices: make this year a year for
culture change and profit 

                               One industry friend couldn’t have said it better…
“…our business is people – that’s what hotels and hospitality is in my opinion”

Success is now about your ability to create and keep guests.

How do you do this? Simply by creating a tonic your whole team will want to drink…

What is the culture like in your business? Are your team members united by common values and a common purpose, or do they operate in free-for-all mode? A culture change may be overdue.

Feelings are contagious. When someone around you is feeling sad, it brings you down somewhat. Likewise, when someone is passionate about something, it inspires you. Build the change so that others want to be part of it. When you give them part of it, also gives them the authority and control to act upon it. Share the power so that they do not feel powerless.
Businesses with a culture aligned with their business goals routinely outperform their competitors.

As a manager or team leader, you need to understand that change is constant and to be positively embraced to sustain a strong service culture & and an “it’s not work, its life” mentality in your team. You and your business need to change and keep changing to survive – because if you don’t, your competitors will.

Re-assess and re-align your business’s aims, beliefs, and integrity – all of it – with your people’s. Then they might begin to be interested in helping with new skills and change, etc. Only a culture that is aligned with your goals, one that helps you anticipate and adapt to change, will help you achieve superior performance over the long run. If you expect to build a strong culture, it’s critical that you hire individuals with a great attitude who are a good cultural fit.

Are your team members passionate about delivering the proper experience to each guest?

People say we’re in the hospitality industry. I think it’s the belief business. We believe in the power of good hospitality and heartfelt dialogue. We believe in our ability to make a difference, and bring joy and fulfilment into people’s lives. That’s what we’re buying into. That’s the culture of hospitality we’re creating. We sell happiness.

I would love to come along to your venue and deliver a FREE 20 minute presentation at your next Team Meeting. I will excite and motivate your team into a WOW factor mentality. Give me a call 0417 632 311 or email me with the date and time your team will next meet @ justin@zealifi.com.au

By Justin McGurgan

More Guests, More often – it’s all about service culture

More guests, More often, with a Higher Average Spend. “It’s all about Service Culture”


In almost every city and town you will find a small number of hospitality businesses that stand out. They are the most well-known and valued in the community for providing an excellent service culture to their guests. Whether they be pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, resorts, or casinos, they stand-out for providing memorable experiences even though you often can’t remember what you ate or drank, or what the room you stayed in looked like.

You probably already know of these businesses in your area:

Their names come up in casual conversation … for all the right reasons.

They attract lots of guests … and ones that come more regularly.

They may charge more and definitely earn a lot more money than most businesses … and it isn’t a struggle.

These businesses just seem to have a great guest service culture where people feel welcomed, valued, important, understood, special, and that they belong there. These businesses have raised the bar and it is out of reach of their competitors, who just haven’t realised it, or can’t understand how they did it.

The hospitality industry is getting bigger, but not better. For some businesses it’s getting tougher to stand out from the crowd. Today, it’s less about what you do and how you do it, but so much more about WHY you do it. The emotional connection is now front and centre. If you want guests coming back you need to make them feel something different, something really special.

What is the culture like in your business?

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