Don’t forget about the name tag

Wearing a name tag is not optional when there's a customer to be served, says Imprint Plus CEO Marla Kott

The food service industry relies on prompt, courteous and attentive service. If the customers have no idea who their servers are, it is not likely that they will have the most enjoyable experience at the food establishment. If the customer is constantly asking “Do you remember what our waitress looked like?”, “Are you our server?” or “Who do I have to speak to get a cup of coffee?” then they are not being properly looked after.

Wal-Mart was the first business to require that all employees, including executives, hourly and part-time workers, be identified with a name tag. Sam Walton himself wore a name tag. He wanted his customers to be on a first-name basis with his employees for good reason – he knew that it resulted in valuable employee-customer relationships and made the shopping experience more memorable. He wanted his customers to be greeted as if they were entering someone’s home – his home.

However, the value of wearing a name tag and identifying staff to customers goes far beyond getting to know the people who you do business with. In numerous studies to determine the importance of wearing a name tag, an overwhelming number of those surveyed (96%) said it was considered very important. Over 70% of all respondents stated that it is important to identify an employee by name, and 76% stated that they had more trust in a business and considered the company more professional when its employees wore name badges. Surprisingly, the percentages were higher overall among the 18-34 year old demographic.

Furthermore, by branding the employee or server with the logo, colors and identity of the establishment, it creates a more approachable, comfortable and accessible environment for customers. For example, because customers or their families are often from different parts of the world, they love it when a server wears a name tag with his or her country of origin flag clearly displayed. It prompts a dialogue develop around where that person comes from and how they came to be where they are now.

The name tag also clears up any confusion or frustration when the customer is unable to identify who the server is and starts to give an order to the waiter or hostess. Customers don’t appreciate speaking to the wrong person. Also, when trying to get the attention of the server, instead of calling out sir or miss, one can simply call out the name of the waiter as he or she stands in the corner or passes by.

With reusable customised name badges, messages can be changed according to seasons and to fit promotions. The name tags can have changing messages to promote food specials, such as “lobster feast” or “mouth-watering mouton” or “Yorkshire Pudding festival”. They can also help increase food orders when specials are advertised with the person’s name. “I’m Bob ask me about the seafood stew,” or “Susie from Australia recommends the barbequed ribs”. Employees now become brand ambassadors and promoters of what the food establishment has to offer and would like to promote.

Harding’s Bar and Catering promoted a three-day racing festival by having the staff wear name badges that promoted the event. Once the event was over, the name badges were quickly and easily reverted to the originals with foodservice establishment branding.

“We launched our new badges for the three-day racing festival at Brighton. They looked very smart and the staff commented on how much better they were,” said Darren Harding of Harding’s Bar & Catering.

In addition, when employees are branded to fit the corporate image in a customised name tag with the proper logo, typeface and graphics, they become part of an overall marketing scheme, making them uniform and distinguishable. The magnetic backing of the reusable, metallic name badges makes them user-friendly and they will not peel off like the paper products or damage or tear clothing like the pin on counterparts.

In conclusion, a food and beverage establishment is very much like Cheers, the classic TV series in which everybody knows your name. The name badge is like a business card or introduction to the customer and makes an instant connection.

Imprint Plus manufacture fully customisable, re-usable, professional name badge systems.


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