How Florists Can Benefit From Valuable Foodservice Research

What does retail floral have to do with foodservice? When it comes to service quite a bit – and that provides florists with a treasure trove of valuable research.

How Florists Can Benefit From Valuable Foodservice Research

In traditional retail the customer usually gets to see, touch and handle the actual product before they buy it. If they are buying online there are pictures and precise specifications to help them make their choice, and it is likely that they have seen or handled the product before.

Contrast that with a restaurant. The diner chooses from a menu, possibly with the pictures, but almost always with the help of a server that can describe the item more fully, answer questions, and accommodate special requests.

Which of those sounds more like a flower shop? Just like the restaurant server the florist has to describe the product to the customer, answer any questions they may have, record the details of their order and make note of any special requests.

The comparisons don’t end there. In both cases the product is then prepared to order, hopefully taking into account any special requests.

Why does any of this matter? Because the foodservice industry is huge and they have done an incredible amount of valuable research, much of which is relevant to florists.

For example no less a school than Cornell offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in hospitality. The research they do is incredible. And florists can apply much of it to retail floral.

The Beck Center defines our commitment to teaching excellence. This superb facility ensures that our faculty is equipped with the best teaching technology, and that our students will continue to enjoy an engaging and effective learning experience.

David Butler, former dean of Cornell University's Hotel School


Another great thing about the restaurant business. They might have the greatest possible feedback mechanism ever devised when it comes to evaluating different approaches to customer service: tips.

Never mind exit surveys with questions like “did you value the way your server….”. The tips actual customers leave indicate their true reaction to service experiments. And, again, we can take the results from those experiments and improve order-taking and customer service in our flower shops.

Over the next several months we’ll be looking at some of the best foodservice research and discussing how florists can apply it to the retail floral industry. This material will go in the FloristWare Blog, a resource designed to help retail florists be more successful.