5 Ways to Improve Customer Service in Your Restaurant
With new and innovative restaurants popping up every day, competition in the food service industry has never been stronger. Coupled with the fact that technology has made it easier for people to discover restaurant recommendations online, creating an exceptional customer experience is absolutely vital for ensuring longevity.
Here, we will dive into some of the most important (and often overlooked) methods for operating a successful restaurant. As the old saying goes, “the devil is in the details,” and this is especially true for hospitality.
Train, Train, Train
As a restaurant owner or manager, you can pour your heart and soul into the dining menu and overall ambiance, but, if staff isn’t meeting customer expectations, then all of it will be for naught. Start by equipping employees with the resources and information necessary to excel at their job.
This includes devising a solid training plan about best company practices, as well as providing staff members with a thorough education on menu items and ingredients. They should know how to sell the experience by explaining to customers what makes your establishment a cut above the rest.
Appearance Is Everything
“Front of the house” employees like waiters, hosts, and bussers are the face of the company and act as an extension of the brand. It goes without saying that employees should appear neatly groomed and well-kempt.
However, you can take it a step further by providing official uniforms that match the restaurant’s mood. Doing so is an integral part of maintaining consistency between the building and the people. Uniforms have also been shown to build a sense of trust among customers, improving overall perception.
Repeat customers are one the primary driving forces for maintaining revenue, which requires a certain level of customer loyalty. By showing customers you sincerely appreciate their patronage, it encourages repeat visits and increases advocacy among friends and family.
One way to show your gratitude is by using your memory to add a personal touch. It is incredibly beneficial to remember returning customers’ names, favorite dishes, and past conversations you have shared. You could also consider giving them small discounts or the occasional free dessert as a little way of saying thanks.
Managing Online Reputation
As previously stated, technology has changed the face of hospitality. Social media and customer review websites can literally make or break a business. While it’s impossible to please everyone, striving for a positive reputation both online and off is a major key to expanding your customer base.
Join the conversation by acknowledging and offering polite solutions to customer complaints and giving thanks to those who have expressed their satisfaction. It also helps to leverage social media in your favor by offering specials like exclusive coupons or themed event days to generate even more buzz surrounding your establishment.
Don’t Forget the Restroom
Perhaps one of the most frequently forgotten details is that of the restroom facilities. Even though only a fraction of customers uses the restroom for a couple of minutes, a dirty or smelly restroom can leave a lasting impact.
Be sure to keep hand towels and toilet paper fully stocked at all times, and schedule staff members to perform regular cleanings throughout normal hours of operation. While you’re at it, keep it fresh by throwing in some nice fragrances like scented candles and odor-eliminating sprays.