In the restaurant business, customer experience is everything. From the time a guest walks in until they finish their meal and leave, there are many opportunities to make an impression. Keep reading for some tips on how to optimize the dining experience for your customers.
Why Customer Service Is an Important Aspect for Growth?
Great customer service is one of the most important aspects for growth. Good customer service in a restaurant can make the difference between a one-time customer and a loyal customer. When done right, customer service can result in repeat business, word-of-mouth marketing, and even social media buzz.
That’s why it’s so important for restaurant owners and managers to focus on providing excellent customer service to their guests. Here are four reasons why customer service is so important for restaurant growth:
Customer service is the first impression guests will have of your restaurant.
First impressions are important, and in the restaurant industry, they can make or break a business. That’s why you need to focus on providing excellent customer service from the moment guests arrive at your restaurant. From the host or hostess who greets them at the door to the server who takes their order, every interaction should be positive and professional.
Customer service can impact your bottom line.
Good customer service doesn’t just result in repeat business, it can also lead to increased revenue. When guests have a positive experience at your restaurant, they’re more likely to come back and spend more money.
Poor customer service can lead to lost business.
On the flip side, poor customer service can quickly lead to lost business. In today’s world of online reviews and social media, it only takes one bad experience to damage your reputation and turns potential guests into lifetime detractors.
Skills Every Restaurant Staff Should Have
Providing an excellent guest experience at a restaurant requires a lot of hard work and attention to detail. Some of the skills needed to succeed in the industry can be learned on the job, but many also come from more formal training. By honing these abilities, your team will be able to provide better service and maintain a happier workplace overall.
- Ability to multitask – The ability to juggle several tasks at once is key in a high-pressure setting like a busy restaurant. Waitstaff need to be able to take food and drink orders, keep tabs on several tables, and attend to any other guest requests – all while maintaining a pleasant demeanor.
- Good communication – Clear and effective communication is necessary to avoid misunderstandings or mix-ups with orders. For example, while taking orders, waitstaff must be able to listen closely to guests’ requests and relay this information accurately to the kitchen staff.
- A positive attitude – A great attitude is key to providing a pleasant guest experience. Even if the dining room is busy or hectic, having a smile on your face and being polite will ensure that your customers have a good time while they’re here.
- Attention to detail – This is especially important when taking orders or preparing table settings. Small details can make a big difference in the overall dining experience, so restaurant staff members must pay close attention to them.
- Being a good team player – A successful restaurant depends on the whole team working together seamlessly. From the host to the servers to the kitchen staff, everyone needs to be able to cooperate and support each other to provide the best possible experience for guests.
5 Tips to Ensure Your Customers Have a Great Dining Experience
- A spotless restaurant will make a great first impression on your guests. Don’t skimp on making sure both the front and back of the house are neat and tidy.
- Give your customers ample time to decide what they’d like to order. Rushed customers often turn into dissatisfied ones.
- Be attentive to your guest’s needs and act helpfully – even if they seem stressed or flustered. Sincere customer service can go a long way.
- If any issues come up, take care of them as soon as possible. For example, if a customer is unhappy with their meal or experience, do what you must to make things right again swiftly.
- Always show your gratitude towards guests for coming to dine at your restaurant! A simple “thank you” goes a long way in showing appreciation for their business – something they’re sure to remember next time they’re in the mood for a good meal out on the town.
How to Handle Different Customer Service Scenarios
Stay calm and professional when dealing with customers, even if they are difficult. Remember that they are the reason your business exists, so it’s in your best interest to try and resolve any issues they have in a way that leaves them satisfied.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 5 tricky customer service scenarios and how to respond to them like a pro.
You don’t know the answer
Simply say that you don’t know the answer but you’ll find out and get back to them. For example, if a customer asks how long something will take to cook, you could say “I’m not sure, let me check with the kitchen and I’ll get back to you.”
Give your customers an estimate even if you’re not 100% sure it’s accurate. For example, if they ask how long the wait will be for a table, you could say “It looks like about 20 minutes.”
If the question is more complex and you really can’t provide an answer, you can offer to find someone who can help them. For example, if they ask about a special menu item that you don’t have any information on, you could say “Let me see if I can find someone in the kitchen who knows about that.”
Whatever approach you take, just make sure you stay calm and polite. The customer may be frustrated, but getting angry or flustered yourself will only make the situation worse.
Customer Complains About the Food
If a customer complains about the food, it is important to stay calm and take their concerns seriously. Try to understand what they are unhappy with and see if there is anything that can be done to rectify the situation.
For example, if they say that their steak was tough, offer to cook them a new one or give them a discount on their meal. Thank them for bringing it to your attention and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Customer Is Unhappy With the Service
Apologize for the inconvenience and let them know that you’re committed to making things right. Then, take whatever steps are necessary to fix the problem – whether that means offering a refund or giving them a complimentary meal.
Finally, stay calm and professional throughout the entire process – this will show the customer that you’re taking their complaint seriously and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to resolve the issue.
Customer Wants to Change Their Order
Try to understand why they want to change their order. If it’s something small, like swapping out one ingredient for another, see if you can make the change without too much trouble.
If it’s a more significant change, or if you’re already in the process of preparing their original order, you’ll need to weigh the cost of making the change versus simply giving them a new dish altogether.
In either case, be sure to apologize for any inconvenience and thank them for their patience.
The Customer is Extremely Angry
Find out what the problem is and offer a solution. For example, if a customer is angry because their order was not correct, apologize and offer to fix the problem.
If a customer is angry because they had to wait a long time for their food, apologize and offer them a discount on their bill.
How to Use Customer Service Feedback to Improve Your Restaurant?
- Identify which customer service touchpoints need improvement. Once you know where your restaurant’s customer experience requires a boost, take a look at some of the most recent positive reviews of your restaurant. See what guests compliment and try to replicate those practices across all touchpoints.
- Actively encourage customers to leave feedback — positive or negative. Make it easy for them by providing comment cards, an online review form, or even a link to an online survey on their receipt. The more feedback you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make changes that will improve the overall customer experience in your restaurant.
- Take a close look at the negative reviews and see if there are any common themes. If so, address those issues head-on and let guests know you’re taking steps to improve the situation. By being proactive about customer feedback, you can turn even the most negative review into an opportunity to create a better experience for diners at your restaurant.
The Importance of a Good Restaurant Description
If you want to improve your customer experience, one of the first things you need to do is make sure your restaurant is accurately described in Google and other restaurant listings online. This means having a good, detailed description that covers all the important aspects of your business.
Some things to include in your restaurant description include:
- The type of cuisine you serve
- Your location and hours of operation
- A brief overview of your menu
- Any specialties or signature dishes you offer
- What kind of atmosphere/vibe can diners expect
- Any awards or accolades your restaurant has earned
By creating a well-rounded and accurate description, you can help potential customers better understand what your restaurant is all about – and whether it’s the right place for them to eat. This can lead to more satisfied customers and improved reviews for your business.
The bottom line
Customer experience is becoming increasingly important in the restaurant industry. By following the tips above, you can start to improve customer experience in your restaurant and stand out from the competition. Keep your customers happy and they will keep coming back for more!