As you know, there’s nothing I love more than a lovely doggy friendly place to visit with privilegedpup except that is if it’s somewhere which also offers a fabulous range of delicious home made cakes and fabulous tea and coffee! Luckily right on my doorstep there is the best tearoom in Gloucestershire. Please welcome to the Lady Janey sofa, Joanne from The Old Dairy Tearoom, Longhope.
Hi Joanne, please tell me about your company and its history
We are sisters, Zoe and Joanne Bradbury. As children, we used to talk about running our own hotel one day. Aged 30 with over 10 years experience in the hospitality industry, Zoë decided the time was right to venture out alone, and invited me, Joanne, an IT training & web design specialist to set up in partnership.
That was in 2005. For the next 12 months, we visited tearooms and cafes the length and breadth of the country to find the perfect location and to discover our style. At the end of 2005, we came across the abandoned Harts Barn Teashop. We launched as The Old Dairy Tearoom in May 2006, where we have continued to trade for the last 12 years.
We are lucky to have generated a loyal following from the Forest of Dean, Ross-on-Wye, Cheltenham and Gloucester, with new people finding us every day. We are humble in what we offer as we just believe in quality ingredients cooked well. Our customer base has grown relatively organically by word of mouth.
Why is good customer service important?
Eating out should be an experience, not just a means to an end. Customers are investing their money in us, so they should be treated with respect, good manners and courtesy. This is what good customer service is about- being able to communicate in a positive way with all manner of people.
When new staff start with us, my advice to them is simply to smile, be friendly and remember your manners! The rest will come with experience.
How would you rate the quality of customer service you deliver and why?
For the most part, we deliver customer service that goes above and beyond what people would expect from a busy tearoom. If any of us are having a hard day, that’s tough on us, not on the customer, so the customer should never be aware of any issues behind the scenes. Sometimes we may fall short for one reason or another – no-one’s perfect but sometimes the customer is also not always right. It’s about finding a balance.
How do you deal with any complaints?
We make sure every table of food is checked a few minutes after it’s been delivered, to ensure the customer is satisfied. That way, if anything is not right, or we have forgotten to take the salad dressing over, we can address it immediately. Often, if you pre-empt any issues, it prevents any major problems arising, for example, letting customers know how long the wait for food is during busy periods. The majority of customers are reasonable and understanding; so as long as the complaint is within our control to resolve, it is our duty to make every effort to do so at the time. It is, however, very difficult to resolve a complaint if the complaint is made at a later date, for example via social media, when nothing was said at the time of the visit.
How do you encourage customer loyalty?
We run a loyalty card scheme for those who want to benefit, but we also believe if you consistently deliver a good quality product, customers will return because they know they can trust our product. Offering variety is also key to keeping people interested in what we do. We are about to have a change of menu, with a decor change planned for the New Year.
Why should people choose you as a company?
In a time when the words “home-made” or “home-cooked” are often not being used truthfully, I think it becomes even more important that we do genuinely make most things ourselves: our scones are made by us in our kitchen, as are our cakes, pies, soups – no sign of a tin or carton here! We know exactly what goes into our food, because we put it in. No salt or sugar is unnecessarily added, and our food hygiene rating has consistently been at 5 stars for nearly 8 years. We are one of a rare breed who purchase local meat from our local butcher, use local produce when it’s in season, use a local bakery for all our bread, and so it goes on. We hope that people continue to support the way we choose to do things, as opposed to those using over-processed foods.
Where can people find you?
It has been so lovely to chat to Joanne today! It’s always such a pleasure to visit this award winning traditional tearoom which is beautifully situated on the edge of The Forest of Dean. Exciting news is that The Old Dairy Tearoom has just attained a 2019 Good Food Award and it is so well deserved!
Everyone is really friendly and welcoming and privilegedpup feels very much at home. The breakfasts are hands down the best you will ever taste and the homemade scones are mouthwateringly delicious. All this talking about food is making me very hungry so I cannot wait for my next visit whether it be for afternoon tea, breakfast or lunch. As I’m such a terrible decision maker, think I’ll just have to go for all three! Hope to see you there!
Until next week! Cin cin!
Lady Janey x