Entry Level Employee Manual

The entry level employee manual includes an overview of CoCo Ichibanya, an explanation of its principles, and incorporates basic knowledge necessary for the initial stages of working with us.
Please make effective use of it alongside practical experience in the store.

Chapter 1

About CoCo Ichibanya

Greetings

Key Points:

  • When meeting someone for the first time, greet them with enthusiasm.
  • Greetings are crucial for building positive relationships with those we interact with.
  • Take the initiative to open up and express yourself sincerely.
  • Make eye contact and speak clearly.

Ohayo Gozaimasu
"Good Morning"
When addressing an employee upon arrival or when meeting them for the first time that day.

Otsukare Sama Desu
"Thank you for your hard work"
When addressing the owner, franchise staff, head office staff, or staff from other stores.

Onegai Shimasu
"Please" or " I request"
Used when making a request to the server or chef, such as ordering food or asking for something specific.

Hai
"Yes" or "Understood"
When replying to a coworker.

Appearance (All Genders)

Proper personal grooming is the foundation of customer service. Ensuring that your appearance is neat and tidy is the first service anyone can offer to customers. The impression you make on customers can be greatly influenced by whether or not you maintain a sense of cleanliness in your grooming. Strive to present yourself in a manner that exudes cleanliness and leaves a favorable impression on everyone.

The dress code and grooming standards outlined here are the commitments to be upheld while working at Ichibanya stores:

  • Adhere to the standards and rules set within the store.
  • Grooming standards apply to both men and women.

Hair

  • Hair should be kept slicked back and out of the face. For men, hair should not be kept longer than the shoulders. Alternatively, you can use hairpins, hair ties, or bun nets (see illustration) to keep it in place.
  • Regularly wash your hair, keep your hairstyle neat, and ensure there are no dandruff or bedhead issues.

Apparel

  • Uniforms should be washed every time and worn clean without wrinkles, stains, or discoloration.
  • Be mindful that the scent of fabric softener or perfume products does not remain too strong.
  • Ensure that the pants are properly hemmed; wearing pants with sagging hems is unsightly and not allowed.
  • Wearing sagging or low-rise pants is prohibited. If necessary, wear a belt (beltless is acceptable).
  • Women are allowed to wear yoga pants or leggings, but ankles should not be showing. Employees can wear longer socks to cover the opening.

Shoes

  • Shoes must be all black, including the soles. Small logos that are not black are permitted.
  • If there are unavoidable circumstances that require wearing shoes other than those designated by the head office, consult with the responsible SV (Supervisor) beforehand.

Accessories

  • Watches and bracelets are not allowed.
  • Earrings are permitted as long as they are studs. Excessive piercings are not allowed, and septum piercings are not allowed.
  • One ring is allowed as long as it is simple and not bulky.
  • Headbands and scrunchies are allowed, as long as they are a dark color.
  • Tattoos are allowed except for on the face and neck. Inappropriate tattoos must be hidden using a tattoo sleeve or sticker.

Facial Hair

  • Shave facial hair clean and pay attention to nose hair to maintain cleanliness.

Innerwear

  • When wearing a long-sleeved shirt, ensure that it fits snugly against the skin, and only allow sleeve cuffs that reach the wrist.
  • The color should be a dark color.
  • The innerwear should be simple and thin; no hoodies or heavy jackets.

Body Odor

  • Be mindful of body odor and bad breath.
  • Refrain from using excessive perfume or cologne.

Nails

  • Trim your nails short and even, leaving about 1mm of the white part visible.
  • Only clear nail polish is allowed. Absolutely no acrylics or colored gel manicures.

Socks

  • Wear socks that are not flashy or overly conspicuous.

Other

  • When wearing a mask, ensure it is clean and does not cause discomfort to customers (avoid flashy or eccentric designs and be mindful of foreign object contamination).
  • Before entering the store, always use a lint roller to prevent foreign objects such as hair from entering.
  • Wearing glasses with colored lenses is not allowed.

About Curry House CoCo Ichibanya

CoCo Ichibanya Curry House is enjoyed throughout over 1400 locations worldwide. (As of January 2024)

Japan - 1245 locations

Global - 212 locations in 12 countries

History

In January 1978, the first store of "Curry House CoCo Ichibanya" was born in Nishi Biwajima-cho, Nishikasugai-gun, Aichi Prefecture (now Nishi Biwajima-cho, Kiyosu City), with the notion of "The most delicious curry" and "The best curry."
The origin of the restaurant traces back to the curry rice served at a coffee shop managed by the current founder's special advisor, Noriji Munetsugu, and current consultant, Naomi Munetsugu. Due to its immense popularity, they decided to open a curry specialty store.

Becoming the world's number one curry specialty store

Despite the jinx prevalent in the restaurant industry at the time, which stated that curry specialty store chains wouldn't succeed, CoCo Ichibanya defied the odds. With its "Bloom System," centered around an employee ownership system, the chain rapidly expanded its store network. CoCo Ichibanya Corporation was established in July of 1982 as the headquarters of the franchise chain. From its inception, gratitude has been the keyword, and under the principle of "customer-first," the company has pursued a philosophy of "Niko, Kibi, Haki," always striving to meet customer expectations. As a result, it has grown to 1,229 stores nationwide as of January 2021, setting the standard for curry specialty stores in Japan and garnering support from customers regardless of region, generation, gender, or age.

In December 2015, CoCo Ichibanya joined the House Foods Group, embarking on a journey of growth together. Not content with domestic success alone, CoCo Ichibanya actively expanded overseas under the theme of "CoCo Ichibanya Spreading Across the World." It has ventured into markets such as the United States (including Hawaii), China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. In December 2018, it made its first foray into Europe by opening stores in the UK, and in August 2020, it established a presence in India, the birthplace of curry, in what can be considered a reverse importation.

With the dream of making "Niko, Kibi, Haki," CoCo Ichibanya continues its overseas expansion. Additionally, aside from curry, it has also expanded into other formats such as Pasta de CoCo, a specialty spaghetti restaurant serving dishes with thick sauce.

CoCo Ichibanya's Motto and Commitment

Niko Niko, Kibi Kibi, Haki Haki

"Smile, Energy, Clarity"
These are the fundamentals of CoCo Ichibanya.

Niko Niko
"Niko Niko" means "smile." A smile is the most basic aspect of customer service. When everyone can think, "You have a nice smile," "You seem energetic," customers and colleagues alike will surely be uplifted by your smile and energy.

Kibi Kibi
"Kibi Kibi" means "swift and decisive action." Even during busy times or when there are fewer customers, it's important to work diligently with efficient movements.

Haki Haki
"Haki Haki" means to speak clearly and energetically with a refreshing tone of voice. It's important to consider the distance between you and the customer, as well as the surrounding circumstances, and speak each word clearly at an appropriate volume. Additionally, it's essential to be aware that there is someone listening to your speech, and to convey gratitude by looking at the other person's face and trying to express appreciation.

CoCo Ichibanya's commitment to our products

<< Homemade Taste >>
Since its inception, CoCo Ichibanya has continued to uphold a familiar, homely taste that never grows tiresome.

<< The Fun of Choosing >>
CoCo Ichibanya has implemented a system that allows them to provide products tailored to each customer's preferences regarding rice portion, spiciness level, and toppings.

<< Safety >>
The main ingredients handled in the stores are centrally produced and purchased by the headquarters. From the delivery of raw materials to processing, distribution, cooking, and sales, every step is taken with the best accident prevention measures in place, establishing a comprehensive safety management system.

CoCo Ichibanya's Mission

Mission Statement
Continuously inspiring people through our management and becoming an essential presence in the community and society, is our ongoing goal.

Sharing a sense of happiness with everyone involved in the company is our aim.

Through our store operations, we are committed to expressing gratitude to each and every customer who visits us. Our mission is to continue providing the best service and delicious products, contributing to the local community, and becoming an indispensable presence.

"Prosperity"
Everything starts with customer service. We aim to be the best store in the region in terms of customer service.

"Smile - Niko Niko"
Always greet customers with a smile.

"Swift and Decisive - Kibi Kibi"
Always assist customers with swift and decisive actions.

"Clarity - Haki Haki"
Always interact with customers with a refreshing attitude.

The service that CoCo Ichibanya aims for

  1. Standard Service - Able to understand and serve customers effectively
  2. Good Service - Is able to act on the customer's desires before the customer asks
  3. CoCo Ichibanya's Service - Is able to provide service that is above and beyond expectations.

V - Value

P - Price

Q - Quality

S - Service

C - Cleanliness

A - Atmosphere

G - Good Will

C - Convenience

At CoCo Ichibanya, we employ a strategy aimed at enhancing customer satisfaction (V) by elevating the levels of Q (Quality), S (Service), C (Cleanliness), A (Ambiance), G (Guest Experience), and C (Community) to official standards. We do not rely on simple price reductions (lowering of P) to increase customer satisfaction.

Preventing Allergic Reactions

Properly understanding food allergies

<< What is a food allergy? >>
A food allergy is an immune system response triggered by certain proteins found in food. When someone with a food allergy consumes the allergenic food, their immune system mistakenly identifies the proteins as harmful invaders and mounts an attack by releasing chemicals such as histamine.
This immune response can lead to a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, including skin reactions, digestive issues, respiratory problems, and even life-threatening anaphylaxis.

<< Major Food Allergens >>
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes eight major food allergens that are responsible for the majority of food allergies. These are:
1. Milk
2. Eggs
3. Fish
4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g., shrimp, crab, lobster)
5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, cashews)
6. Peanuts
7. Wheat
8. Soybeans

Questions from the customer
*Please note that customers may not always explicitly ask about allergies, so it's important to be attentive and proactive in addressing this topic.

<< Example Questions >>
"Does the children's curry contain milk?"
"Does the mild curry contain peanuts?"

It's crucial not to assume that allergens are absent just because they're not visible as ingredients or not explicitly asked about. Instead, it's important to provide accurate and complete information about potential allergens in the dishes, even if not directly asked.

<< Confirming allergy information and replying >>
Confirm allergy information via the CoCo Ichibanya USA home page under "Allergen Information"

If a customer expresses a desire to confirm allergen information, we should provide them with access to the QR code or the link to our home page. Customers can then use their smartphones or other devices to check the information themselves. It's important to avoid storing printed allergen information at the store, as it may change over time.

Using Social Media

In recent years, the rapid proliferation of social media has led to an increase in troubles occurring within these platforms. Cases are frequently reported in the news, making it a growing societal issue.

Examples of Misuse

An example of "negative influence or frivolous behavior" that caused an online uproar occurred when a part-time employee of this store posted a photo of themselves inside the refrigerated showcase while wearing their casual clothes. Despite intending to share it only among friends, the photo quickly spread and was even covered by television news. Consequently, the store closed down. Additionally, the part-time employee not only faced dismissal but also became involved in a compensation dispute.

An incident at a major pizza chain occurred where an individual posted a video on social media of themselves playing with pizza dough stuck to their face in a mask-like manner. The post went viral, leading to online backlash. The person who posted the video was subsequently identified by their real name, place of employment, and even their school, resulting in their personal information being exposed online.

Issues with Social Media

Once a post is made on platforms like X (formerly Twitter), copies of it can circulate rapidly even if the original poster deletes it. The problem lies in the fact that many people are unaware that social media is accessible to anyone worldwide.
Even if a controversy dies down, there are individuals who will bring it back up. This includes those who earn income from blog advertisements, as topics with high visibility are more likely to attract clicks (advertising). Moreover, each time a similar incident occurs, past instances are dredged up, creating a cycle where old posts resurface. In other words, posts can take on a life of their own and become irreversible before one realizes it.

Consequences of Misusing Social Media

Even posts made in jest, such as text, images, or videos, can be perceived differently by viewers, leading to serious consequences for the poster. They may face dismissal or be subject to compensation claims.

Writing disparaging remarks about a manager on social media can escalate into serious offenses such as defamation or civil lawsuits.

If one vents frustrations about a customer complaint on social media, both the individual and the company may bear social responsibility, potentially leading to legal repercussions.

Incidents where posts made by individuals lead to public scrutiny can result in severe consequences for businesses, including temporary closures or even permanent shutdowns. This phenomenon, known as "part-time worker terrorism," has become a significant social issue.

CoCo Ichibanya's SNS Issues

Regrettably, there have been instances of inappropriate social media posts by employees within the Ichibanya Group in the past, involving activities such as misconduct or unhygienic behavior in break rooms. With social networking services (SNS) like X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok deeply integrated into our lives, anyone can easily disseminate information. Photos or videos posted casually can spread uncontrollably, leading to what is commonly referred to as an "online firestorm" and potentially derailing lives.

We are once again conducting risk awareness campaigns regarding SNS posts for our employees and reminding them to be mindful of the fact that we handle food products.

If you have misused a social media service

Never hide it under any circumstances. Instead of trying to conceal the issue due to fear of reprimand, muster the courage to report it before the problem escalates beyond control. Consult the store manager or assigned supervisor. Do not attempt to resolve the issue alone; always seek guidance and instructions from them. Immediately delete any online posts. Posts spread rapidly over time. If you notice a violation, promptly remove it and report it to the store manager (or SV) without fail.

Chapter 2

Maintaining a Sanitary Environment

Washing Hands

Ensuring proper hand hygiene is fundamental in the foodservice industry to prevent the spread of illnesses and maintain a safe dining environment for customers. Here’s a guide on how restaurant employees should wash their hands effectively:

1. When to Wash Hands:
- Before handling food, especially ready-to-eat items.
- After using the restroom.
- After handling raw food, garbage, or money.
- After touching your face, hair, or body.
- After handling dirty dishes or cleaning chemicals.
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

2. Handwashing Technique:
- Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Rub hands together to lather the soap, ensuring to cover all surfaces.
- Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. Focus on palms, backs of hands, between fingers, and under nails.
- Rinse hands thoroughly under clean, running water.
- Dry hands using a clean towel or air dryer. Avoid using a cloth towel to prevent recontamination.

3. Using Hand Sanitizer:
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used as an alternative when handwashing facilities are not available.
- Apply a palmful of sanitizer and rub hands together, covering all surfaces until dry.

4. Additional Tips:
- Keep fingernails short and clean to prevent harboring bacteria.
- Avoid wearing hand jewelry like rings or bracelets that can trap germs.
- Use single-use gloves when handling ready-to-eat food, but remember that gloves are not a substitute for handwashing.
- Encourage employees to report any cuts, sores, or skin infections to prevent spreading contaminants.

By following these guidelines diligently, restaurant employees can play a crucial role in preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses and maintaining a safe and sanitary dining environment for patrons.

Chapter 3

Serving Customers

Customer Service Process

The following is how the customer flow at a CoCo Ichibanya looks like:

1. Guide the customer to their table.
The server will greet the customer and guide them to the table. If they are ordering at a kiosk or to-go, servers should make sure that the customer does not have any trouble ordering.

2. Take the customer's order.

3. Serve the food the customer ordered.

4. Assist with the checkout process.

5. Clean the table to prepare for the next group.

Welcoming and Thanking Customers

Welcoming customers as they arrive is a key aspect of their service. The staff ensures to remain attentive to the surroundings near the entrance, such as the parking area, to promptly greet customers as they approach. Once inside the restaurant, they greet customers with a smile and a nod, saying "Welcome" or "Welcome in," demonstrating their appreciation for the customers' arrival. Other team members also join in by echoing the greeting and facing towards the customer.
Customers who stop near the entrance are likely considering takeout, so it's appropriate to approach them and ask, "Would you like your order to go?" or "Are you interested in takeout?"

Guiding Customers

Generally, customers are seated on a first-come, first-served basis. However, in cases where there are few available seats or when accommodating larger parties, guests may be guided to appropriate seating. The necessity for seating guidance increases as available seats become limited, approaching full occupancy.

Even if there are plenty of vacant seats, if a customer appears hesitant and tries to sit at the counter, kindly offer, "Please feel free to take a table seat if you prefer."

When guiding customers to their seats, maintain eye contact, offer a smile, and adjust the volume and speed of your voice to ensure that they can easily understand you.

During Idle Time

Preparing for the arrival of customers is referred to as "standby," and the following tasks are performed:

  • Assessing the availability of vacant seats
  • Confirming table settings
  • Preparing the necessary sets

Even if there are no guests, remember that passersby outside the store can still observe. Continue to practice "Niko-Kibi-Haki" (Smile, Promptness, Clarity) at all times.

It's essential to constantly monitor the availability of seats inside the restaurant. Failing to keep track of seat availability can hinder the smooth process of guiding customers to their seats.

Tables and counters should be set up with the following items. Ensure that each tabletop item is neatly arranged and in place.

  • Refilling sauces, Fukujinzuke, and TobiKara Spice should not be done in plain view of the customers.
  • If any utensils or dishes are found to be chipped or cracked, they should be promptly replaced to avoid the risk of foreign object contamination.

Fukujinzuke

- Check if there is a sufficient amount without touching the lid.
- Ensure there is no foreign object contamination.
- Verify there are no chips or cracks.
- Confirm that the curry is not scattered or soiled with fingerprints.

Bringing the Initial Set

Sets are carried using round trays, available in two sizes, which are combined as per the number of guests. Set serving is done when the customers are seated.

Posture When Serving Customers

- Straighten your back.
- Hold the center of the round tray with the center of your palm. Avoid holding it by gripping, as it may become unstable.
- Ensure the round tray is level with the floor.
- Keep your arms close to your body, with elbows at a 90-degree angle.

Placing the Initial Set on the Table

When serving the set, always greet the customer with a smile while looking at their face, saying "Irasshaimase" (welcome). Then, proceed to serve in the following order: water for the number of guests, followed by the silver box.

Placing Water Glasses

・Hold the glass from below, around one-third from the top, ensuring that your pinky finger can extend below the bottom. Avoid touching the part of the glass where the customer's mouth will touch.

・Place the glass on the table quietly, ensuring that your pinky finger touches the table before the glass to prevent any noise.

Taking Orders

After providing the set, observe the customer's facial expression and gestures to determine if they are ready to order.

If the customer is ready to order:

"I can take your order if you are ready"

If the customer is not ready to order:

"When you're ready to order, please use this button to call me over," bowing slightly before leaving the table.

  • Instead of waiting to be called, pay attention to the customer's demeanor and gestures to avoid missing the timing to take their order.

When leaving the table, make a polite bow and depart with a smile. Adding distinctiveness to each action will create a more courteous impression.

Taking Customer Orders

  1. Catch the Signal: Keep an eye out for the signal indicating that the order is ready to be taken.
  2. Approach the Table: Politely approach the table and confirm if the guests have decided on their order before proceeding to take it.
  3. May I Take Your Order?: If you're called over, greet them with "Thank you for waiting. May I take your order, please?"
  4. Taking the Order: Take the order confidently and repeat it back for confirmation.
  5. Inputting into the Device: Input the order into the handheld device while confirming it visually to ensure accuracy. If on paper, make sure that your writing is legible and there are no mistakes.
  6. Confirm Rice Portion and Spice Level: If the customer hasn't specified, confirm their preference for rice portion and the spice level of the curry. You might say, "How much rice and how spicy would you like your curry?" Additionally, for children or elderly customers, explain options like "less rice" and "mild spice," particularly mentioning that "mild" is available.
  7. Leaving the Table: After taking all the orders, nod politely before leaving the table.
  8. "Your food will be out shortly": Before leaving, inform the guests, "Your food will be out shortly," ensuring they know their orders are being processed.

Information Needed to Take Orders

- For orders with a spice level of 21 or higher: "I'm sorry, but our maximum spice level is 20. We won't be able to prepare your order with a spice level exceeding that."

- For orders without meat: "Certainly. So, your curry will be without meat." While we can prepare curry without meat using a strainer during cooking, some meat essence may still be present in the sauce.

Order to Serve Food

Similar to curry orders, always double-check against the order slip and ensure the quality before serving. While there are set timings for serving, we accommodate customer requests whenever possible.

Salad

Serve salads before the curry, ensuring to include the dressing. As the dressing tends to separate easily, they thoroughly shake it before serving. If silverware like chopsticks or forks are not provided in the silver box, they are provided simultaneously.

Taking plates while customers are still eating

To ensure guests can continue to relax after their meal, it's important to clear away finished utensils and trash, a process we call 'intermediate clearing.' Be attentive to the signals indicating that guests have finished their meal and promptly carry out the intermediate clearing. Say, 'Excuse me. I will clear these for you,' with a smile as you do so.

The purpose of intermediate clearing is to create a space for guests to relax. It's important that guests don't feel rushed or pressured to leave. During intermediate clearing, be attentive to the following points and demonstrate consideration for guests' relaxation, such as replacing the water glass if there's no ice inside.

Points to Follow

  • Do not ask "May I clear your plate?" when the guest has clearly finished eating.
  • Avoid interrupting conversations between guests.
  • Do not stack plates on the table (utilize the three-plate method).
  • Avoid clearing leftovers in front of the guest.
  • Do not perform intermediate clearing if some guests have not finished eating.
  • Do not use corner tray.
  • Strive to perform "round-trip tasks," such as clearing after serving other tables.

Chapter 4

Providing Products

Providing Products

When the dishes are ready, they are served promptly to prevent the curry from cooling. Therefore, the tasks during this time must be carried out swiftly.

When the dishes are ready, they are promptly placed on the serving counter from the kitchen. It's important to acknowledge the kitchen staff by responding with 'Arigato Gozaimasu' (Thank you) with a bright and cheerful voice. Afterwards, the completed dishes are checked against the order slip. At this point, the following points are confirmed.

◎ Have any toppings been forgotten?
※ Pay special attention to cheese, as it's often forgotten.

◎ Are the toppings correct?
◎ Is the quantity and spiciness accurate?

Quality Check

At Ichibanya, the basic principle is to serve hot items hot and cold items cold. Before serving, it's essential to ensure the quality. Here are the points to check:

- Ensure there are no foreign objects.
- Check if the plate is hot when held.
- Confirm if there's steam rising from the sauce.
- Ensure there's no film on the sauce.
- Regularly check the temperature of plates, sauces, and rice with a thermometer.
- Verify there's neither too much nor too little sauce, especially for dishes like pork shabu curry where it might appear less than the standard amount.
- If sauce has splattered on the plate, wipe it clean with a designated clean towel.
- If there's rice stuck to the rim of the plate, wipe it off with a designated clean towel.
During the quality check, ensure the curry stays warm, and perform the check swiftly.

Caution When Serving

Serving at Table Seats

Step forward with the right foot and use the half-body method to ensure the curry plate held in the left hand doesn't touch the table.
※ Be mindful that the curry held in the left hand doesn't come in front of the customer's eyes.
※ Ensure that the curry held in the right hand doesn't rise higher than the customer's eye level and take meticulous care to avoid the curry touching the customer.

Serving at Counter Seats

It's risky to serve over the shoulder, so during busy times like peak hours, it's generally best to serve directly from the customer's front (kitchen side). If serving from behind, announce your presence beforehand with "Excuse me from behind. Here's your order," to avoid surprising the customer.

Placing Curry Plate

Handling hot curry dishes can be quite dangerous for customers, so it's best for the server to place them on the table. If a customer reaches out, say, "I'm sorry, it's hot, please be careful," before handing it over. Also, when placing the curry dish, ensure the sauce side faces the customer quietly.

After Serving

When there are many toppings or a large number of customers, it's important to confirm, "That's all for your order, right?" Once the last item has been served, present the bill on a stand and say, "Please enjoy your meal!" with a smile and a bow before leaving the table. If it appears that the salad served earlier has been finished, say, "Excuse me," and "I'll clear these away," while removing the salad plate and dressing. Avoid interrupting customers while they're eating to ask questions.

Chapter 5

Phone Use and Customer Complaints

Phone Complaints

When the phone rings, the staff member closest to the phone should quickly answer it. Remember, the phone represents an invisible customer. Treat them with the same promptness and courtesy as you would a physical customer.

To meet customer expectations, respond with enthusiasm and warmth. When answering the phone, imagine it's a call from someone important to you. Greet the caller with brightness and energy, conveying the sentiment, "I've been expecting your call."

Within Three Rings

Taking a 0.5-second pause between "Yes" and "Thank you..." emphasizes clarity. Also, timing is crucial when stating the store's name; saying it too quickly or too slowly may not convey the message effectively. Be prepared with a pen to take notes.

More Than Three Rings

After three rings, the customer has been waiting a while for the store to pick up. Respond with "Thank you for waiting..." to ensure a courteous interaction.

More Than Five Rings

It's something that should never happen, but if by any chance it does, please answer the phone with an apology to the customer. When conveying an apology, it's important not to speak too quickly.

If the customer wants to place an order...

・Make sure the customer feels appreciated with a "Thank you very much for your order."

If the customer has a claim...

・Begin by saying "I apologize for the inconvenience" and then listen to the details.
・Inform the customer that you will transfer them to the responsible party, saying, "Please wait for a moment while I transfer you to the manager."

If the customer has a question...

・Ensure you have answers to various inquiries from customers, such as business hours, nearby store locations, and headquarters address.
・If you're unsure about something, say, "I'll check right away, please wait a moment," and seek guidance from the store manager.

If you get a call from HQ or a fellow CoCo Ichibanya store...

・Even with close colleagues, use business terms when speaking.

Important Points to Remember

① Energetic (a voice that sounds cheerful to anyone)
② Polite (every word is clear and audible)
③ Varied tone of voice (the tone is slightly higher than usual conversation)
④ Ability to convey emotions (control over speaking speed, both fast and slow)

It's not just about being perceived as "energetic today" by the customer, but rather as "energetic again today." Providing the impression that Ichiban-ya is the most pleasant experience when making a call is something that everyone can contribute to.

Dealing with Customer Complaints

Examples of Food-Related Complaints:

  • Delays in serving the product (in-store/delivery)
  • Errors in the product (in-store/delivery)
  • Low product quality (temperature/incorrect portion sizes)
  • Issues with product quality (expiration date/spoilage/illness, etc.)
  • Foreign matter contamination

Examples of Complaints about Employees

  • Issues with speech style and language usage
  • Issues with employee coaching during business hours
  • Lack of knowledge or insufficient explanations (regarding products/systems)
  • Excessive private conversations
  • Failure to greet customers
  • Poor attitude
  • Issues with cash register service (slow, mistakes, failure to provide receipts)
  • Lack of awareness (failure to notice important details)
  • Damage to personal belongings, etc.

Initial Response to Customer Complaints

"Initial response" refers to the response provided by the first person who receives a complaint from a customer. Depending on the initial response, the complaint may be resolved, or it may escalate into further complaints (secondary complaints). To prevent this, everyone working in the store, including new team members, must be able to respond appropriately to complaints.

Stay Alert

Just because complaints haven't arisen in the store doesn't mean you should feel reassured. Customers often refrain from voicing their dissatisfaction. Customers who feel dissatisfied with the store may choose not to return. Not only that, they may also share their experience with others and advise against visiting your store. Therefore, if such incidents increase, it may lead to a drastic decrease in customers without realizing the underlying reasons.

10 Basics to Dealing with Customer Complaints

  1. Respond immediately, no matter what.
  2. Offer a sincere apology for any inconvenience or discomfort caused.
  3. Listen carefully to the customer's perspective.
  4. Respond with sincerity regardless of who is at fault.
  5. Handle the situation from the customer's point of view.
  6. Avoid deception or temporary fixes.
  7. Honor commitments made regarding dates and times.
  8. Refrain from complying with requests for a written statement. ※Writing a statement (signature or stamp) is prohibited.
  9. Avoid seeking easy solutions with goods or money.
  10. Refrain from using a broad smile or cheerful demeanor in the interaction. ※Even facial expressions should convey sincerity and regret.

When to Apologize

  • After listening to the customer's entire story.
  • During the customer's explanation.
  • As needed

If you are not sure who is at fault...

  • "I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused."

If CoCo Ichibanya is at fault...

  • "I am very sorry."

If a higher level management is needed for a resolution...

  1. The customer is being emotional and not receptive to reasoning.
  2. The customer is demanding a monetary or material resolution.
  3. The customer is demanding unreasonable resolution conditions.
  4. The customer's demands clearly exceed my authority (approval authority).
  5. Continued discussion with the customer is necessary to find a resolution.
  6. I lack knowledge about the issue and am unable to make a judgment or respond.

Let the customer know that you will call in a manager to better assist them.

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