Ok, so that is a purposely goofy title, but I often talk about the similarities between the two. Today we will dissect some of the key differences. With a well run restaurant customers expect service and quality commesurrate to the price charged. At the Waffle House you hope for a coffee right away, a quick order of smothered covered something and a check available so you can quickly pay and get on with your day. A little runny on the eggs? No big deal. It only cost like 7 bucks for the whole meal. As long as they hit the speed requirements consistently you're probably walking out happy. Go to a five star steakhouse? You desire a perfectly cooked steak to 'your' order. You want suggestions on the right wine paring. You want exquisite service and a comfortable environment. Anything less than that and you may not come back. There are plenty of steakhouses and for that kind of money you expect nothing less than perfection. In both of these cases though, they key is consistency. If you walked into the Waffle House and they were pushing all organic vegetables, you'd probably walk right out. If the steakhouse was pushing a salad and fish menu, you'd probably walk out. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just wasn't what you walked in for! You want your expected meal/service/price.
In the tech industry, its somewhat opposite. You want to provide products that people want and need, but you really don't strive so much for hitting the 'expected'. In order to stand out from the crowd with our employee and restaurant scheduling software, we have to serve the basic needs, but do it different from the competition. That is why we have an iPhone app for free. That immediately stood us out from our two biggest competitors. One has no app at all and the other charges $2.99. We also added in a fully functional managers log and have a Daily Reporting function for year over year sales/labor/operations comparison. Our competitors don't. So, we are providing scheduling software, but we are innovating and giving something different than the norm.
I'd argue that is somewhat different than hospitality. When I walk into my favorite restaurant, I really want what I came there for. Now with that said, we do make changes cautiously as we want to insure the highest product performance and don't want to take away anything, but we area always innovating and evaluating the latest technology. What do you think? Anyone successfully marrying change and consistency?