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a blog by Chris Barrow

How not to do Front of House

The Charlotte Street Hotel in London’s West End is beautifully presented and has a reputation for world-class customer service. I arrive there (yesterday) for breakfast at 7.30 am – two of us (I cannot tell you who I my guest was – I would have to kill you). The place is empty – I mean empty – there are 4 blokes around 1 table – that’s it. We walk into the restaurant and the front desk lady intercepts us – she has a face like a slapped arse. Question 1 – “are you resident?” Answer 1 – “no” Response – look down nose at guests. Question 2 – “do you have a reservation?” Answer 2 – “no” (thinks – the place is XXXXing empty!) Response – show guests to least attractive seat in the house – far corner. Manages to maintain slap-face throughout. In 20 seconds my customer service experience is destroyed and I am made to feel like a vagrant asking for food at the back door. No doubt this young lady is doing her best in the absence of a system. If the hotel management had known who I was having breakfast with – they would have choked to death in embarrassment. Here I am – telling you – that’s called viral marketing. “Charming, witty, stylish and very cool” says the media (see their web page). Yeah – and manned by miserable snobs.

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