By Jay Juffre

My wife and I took my son and his girlfriend to a newer Hibachi place. Despite some of the predictable antics like the onion volcano / “choo-choo train”. It’s always a good time when an entertaining chef prepares the food right in front of you. The place was absolutely packed. The place was really cool too! Complete with realistic looking cherry blossom trees and a koi pond winding in and out of the seating areas.

We were told by the hostess there’s a time of 20-30 minutes (also very predictable). After about an hour, we finally found ourselves seated in front of the giant skillet. Everyone was handed menus and my wife whispered to me, ‘18% gratuity included in every check’. ‘Here we go’, I thought immediately. What was coming was in my mind again predictable. Slow service.

We all have enough experience to know that when there is little to no incentive for people to go the extra mile, they rarely do. And the staff did not disappoint. 20 minutes to take our drink orders. 20 minutes for the drinks to come. 15 more minutes to take our food orders. No exaggeration. The staff had two speeds, slow and stop. The hibachi chef was actually excellent. Entertaining, funny, cooked the food to perfection, and of course stacked the sliced onions neatly into a mountain. Is this the same thing going on in your organization, despite the main reason patients are coming, the doctor, surgeon, etc., being great, the supporting staff is letting you down. The question is how are you incentivizing them? Many times, like service at a restaurant, you get what you pay for. It doesn’t take much. Encouraging and rewarding the team to limit wait times, over-communicate, explain delays and generally ensuring that from the time the patient arrives until the time they leave, the experience is consistent and positive. This will go a long way to patient satisfaction, more referrals, and driving revenues.

Jay Juffre is Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, ImageFIRST. For more information on ImageFIRST, call 1-800-932-7472 or visit