Restaurants are the places we go for sharing and gathering with family and friends. They are the places where we bond with coworkers or cut that next business deal.
Most of the most important events and memories in our lives are made in the presence of food.
Restaurants offer the promise of great food and exceptional service so that you can focus on concentrate on living in the present moment with the people who are sharing the table with you.
A bad or mediocre restaurant experience can leave patrons feeling unsatisfied and distract from the real purpose of the meal – connecting with the people around you.
It’s important to provide good restaurant service for the good of the customer, but also for the overall benefit of the restaurant.
Below are 5 ways to improve the service in your restaurant.
1. Maintaining a Clean Environment
The importance of maintaining a clean restaurant cannot be overstated. This includes regularly checking the restrooms and making sure they are spotless.
The devil is in the details here. Make sure any glass, including glass doors, are free of fingerprints. Most patrons rate cleanliness as just as important as the quality of the food and the kind of service they receive while in the restaurant.
When its time to close, have a list of all of the cleaning that needs to get done and review the list before calling it a night.
During restaurant hours, maintain all areas of the restaurant to keep it in tip-top shape. If what the customers can see isn’t clean, what will they think about the kitchen?
2. Equipping the Staff with Proper Training
The staff needs to be given the resources they need to succeed. The hope is that your restaurant to get busy and when this happens the staff needs to have the ability to adapt and fulfill customer requests quickly.
The efficiency and quality of service suffer when the staff doesn’t have easy access to the tools they need to fulfill their function.
This is especially true with training. Service training should be a component of everyday meetings and huddles at the beginning of every shift.
Your staff ultimately represents your brand. They are on the front lines or producing the food that will be judged for its quality.
Invest in training your team.
3. Being Attentive
The very best serving staff are perceptive and can anticipate the needs of a customer before they ask. In some cases, they know the customer’s need before the customer realizes the need themselves!
Successful serving staff can keep up this level of awareness even when the restaurant gets slammed and can hold it together under pressure while seeming completely at ease while directly speaking or serving the customer.
Attentiveness is often the difference between good service and great service.
4. Timing the Experience Properly
This aspect of improving a customer’s restaurant experience often goes unnoticed. And it should if executed properly.
Customers should immediately be greeted at the door. Once seated they should again be greeted by their server and offered beverages.
If one patron orders a soup, salad, and/or appetizer and another doesn’t, the server should ask when they would prefer these items to be served.
A deficiency in timeliness becomes apparent when the appetizer is served minutes before the main course arrives. This is usually a blatant example of a lack of planning and the customer will notice.
5. Have a Clear Idea of What Exceptional Customer Service Looks Like
To be able to provide exceptional service you must define what exceptional service looks like in the context of your restaurant. Take the time to sit down and specifically write down what an exceptional experience is to your particular target customers.
Hire and train a team that is passionate about hospitality and customer service. Then, train the staff so they understand how your restaurant brand defines this hospitality.
This will also act as your guide and helps you correct course should the customer service quality starts slipping.
The Devil is in the Details
The restaurant experience is an experience we all have in common and can have a big impact on our lives. The biggest difference can be made by being attentive and making sure you know your customers.
Sometimes it’s just a facial expression or a glance in the direction of your staff. It’s these small details that can make a difference between good service and excellent customer service.
Those who work in the restaurant industry understand and are committed to continually improving the quality of their service.
While it’s an education that never ends, it’s worth the investment.