You can be the restaurant’s owner and have the best ambiance, great menu, and waitstaff coverage but still lose customers to your competition.
You can also have interns who ask people for dessert after their main course. Your restaurant’s customer service is key to the success of your order.
A 2017 Deloitte survey found that 60% of customers will return to restaurants they have had positive experiences with. It is an excellent way for restaurant owners to increase repeat business and sales.
This post will discuss seven components of exceptional restaurant customer service.
First, we’ll discuss the various restaurant service types and the service style. Then, we’ll also talk about restaurant owners’ role in creating a positive customer experience.
Meeting Guest Expectations
Customers arrive at a restaurant with expectations. As a customer, you have certain expectations. Expectations are what you can expect.
- Warmest greetings
- Staff focussed attention
- Service at all levels: From being seated to receiving your cheque, and everything in between
- You will find a pleasant, comfortable environment without any unwanted disturbances
- High-quality food at the same level as the restaurant’s standards
- The staff at the restaurant will treat you with kindness and friendliness throughout your dining experience
- Simple payment methods
Customers are more likely to expect exceptional service from your restaurant than from other restaurants. These factors are crucial to a restaurant’s success. Customers will return to your restaurant if they feel satisfied and happy.
However, it is essential to understand the workings of restaurant service before you can implement ways to improve customer service.
How to improve restaurant customer service
Train your staff about proper etiquette
You must educate your staff about restaurant etiquette if you want repeat customers. Start by teaching them proper customer etiquette, such as how to talk politely with customers. They should be polite and well-mannered and greet all guests. Grumpy servers are not a good place to be.
It can be helpful to identify staff members who need additional training. Consider using an online service management system to keep track of the servers assigned to each table. To help them do better, give them a few more hours of training if they receive the most negative comments from one server’s table.
Your staff should be friendly, inviting, and well-dressed. as possible. It is also crucial to make sure that all staff members are aware of the restaurant’s core values and can represent them when they interact with guests.
Do the extra mile
Look at the competition in your area to see what they are doing wrong in customer service. Then, offer that in your restaurant. You could earn extra brownie points by providing each customer with a complimentary water bottle.
You could also make your restaurant sign stand out. A sign that says “wait to be served” could be changed to read “Please wait while our amazing staff prepares your meal.” Or something even more appealing.
To improve customer service, leverage guest data.
You will find yourself in a position where customer service could be improving as a restaurant owner. Although you have followed all the best practices and created an excellent customer service system, you must figure out how to improve it. Sounds familiar? This is the good news: guest data is your key to solving this problem.
Guest data is crucial to help your restaurant’s customer service overcome barriers and reach new heights. Using powerful guest insights, restaurants can gain in-depth insight and a deep understanding of their customers to deliver a customized and personalized guest experience.
You can use a variety of data to improve your service standards. A detailed guest profile database is one of the most valuable. Each guest will have a unique profile that contains many details about them, including their preferences for food and drink, as well as their details. Your staff can easily understand your guest’s needs without them even having to mention them. This will allow you to provide an unmatched personalized experience.
Servers should be encouraged to include special notes about each guest and reservation and attach customized tags such as “VIP,” high-spender, or more to ensure they have a great experience at your restaurant. Gathering as much information as possible is essential to offer the best customer service. Many online reservation systems have advanced analytics and reporting capabilities that will help you collect vital guest data.
Feedback is one of the most critical guest data points. Listening to your customers’ feedback can help you spot problems and win areas in your service. To improve customer service, gather crucial feedback from customers after dining.
Finally, customer data can be used to provide better service and keep customers coming back through targeted messaging. Advanced CRM and restaurant automation platforms will help you target customers and segment them accordingly. This will make your customers feel special and keep them returning for more. Do you have a few loyal customers to whom you can offer discounts? Offer a discount to them. These small additions will make your restaurant more popular.
Include a surprise or 2.
Once your guests have sat down at their tables, you can delight them by telling them about unique dishes or ongoing discounts. This will make your guests feel good about dining in your restaurant.
Plat du jour is a popular way to attract customers. It is a meal offered by a restaurant on a particular day of the week. The price includes a main dish, a drink, an appetizer, or a dessert. This increases the customer experience and allows for savings.
Consider giving them the dish on the table if they are regular customers who often order the exact words. This will show that you care about them and pay attention to their every visit.
It can enhance customer service by adapting your business strategy to suit different seasons. You can, for example, add a Thanksgiving or Christmas menu to the festive season.
Another option is to offer alfresco dining in the summer months. Fresh produce can also be added to the customer experience. Outdoor table service is a great way to improve customer satisfaction since long wait times can significantly cause customer frustration.
Implement new payment technologies
Different technologies can make your restaurant more appealing. You can get a modern POS system that functions as a cash register/PC-hybrid, which allows you to print receipts, take credit card payments, serve as a server station and display data in a user-friendly manner.
Another option is to let customers pay by mobile using contactless payment like ApplePay. You can use payment gateways such as Stripe and PayPal to make bookings.
Consider the impact digital reservation systems have on your staff’s ability to provide better customer service. Your team can access customer information before meeting the guest, making providing excellent customer service more accessible. This includes caller ID, past diner history, and spending habits at your restaurant. Preparation is half the battle. Reservation systems can make it easier.
How to handle customer criticisms & complaints
No matter how well you train your staff or how hard you try to provide excellent customer service, there will always be mistakes. Having the proper protocols for handling customer feedback and complaints is essential. This will ensure that your customers are satisfied.
As an apology gesture, it is a good idea to take the time to listen to customers’ feedback and offer them a free dish or voucher. This will make your customers feel valued and heard and increase their likelihood of returning to your restaurant despite a bad experience.
It is essential to get as much feedback as possible and respond appropriately. To gather as much feedback as possible from diners, set up an automated post-dining survey. The data will be analyzed daily and used to make decisions.