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The Essentials of Restaurant Customer Service

An integral part of any restaurant is its customer service. It doesn’t matter how it looks or how delicious the food is, if the service doesn’t meet or exceed customers’ expectations, there is a good chance they won’t come back.

Customer service covers many different parts of a restaurant’s operations, going far beyond direct customer contact.

1.Empower Your Staff

A well-trained staff will keep customers happy and coming back for more.
Customer service includes everyone: Cleaning and maintenance, kitchen staff, manager, are all components of good customer service, in which every restaurant employee plays a role.
One of the biggest negative aspects of a restaurant that holds back customers from visiting again is slow service (this includes kitchen staff) and lack of attention. If customers have to wait around for their food or have to wave their hands 2-3 times to get the waiter’s attention, then your customer satisfaction levels are in trouble.
Perfect customer experience must be provided from start to finish.

2.Show your appreciation

Do you have regular customers who always visit your restaurant?
For the customers who keep coming back, an added personal touch can make all the difference. Addressing them by their name, remembering their regular order, table preferences, give them something on behalf of the house one day.
Or have a database of their birthdays so that you can be present with a particular dish or drink.
On select dates (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day), you can send out invitations (Email marketing is essential for this) and give out some small gifts.

3.Know how to handle customer complaints

No matter how thoroughly you train your staff, something is bound to go wrong once in a while. An order is delayed or gets forgotten, or a server makes a mistake. The important thing is to try and correct the situation.
Having proper protocols for dealing with customer complaints, and training your staff accordingly is necessary to ensure that the customer does not leave your restaurant unsatisfied.
A good tip is to listen to customer feedback & criticism and offer to compensate the customer with a complimentary dish or voucher as an apologetic gesture. This will make the customer feel heard and important and increase their chance of returning to your restaurant despite a negative experience

4.Offer seasonal experiences

One of the easiest ways to improve your customer service is to adapt your business strategy to complement different seasons. For example, special summer drinks, or you can add a Thanksgiving or Christmas special to your menu during the festive season.
It can become something characteristic of your restaurant that people expect in different seasons.

5.Always ask for customer feedback

How was everything? Any good server should ask this at the end of the meal. Still, not every customer feels comfortable complaining verbally if something is wrong. Offering a customer comment card at the end of a meal is an opportunity to gain valuable feedback.
Having Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google accounts, where people rate and give their opinion about their visit, allows you to know your customers’ experiences, know what you are doing very well, and what you should improve. It also gives you the possibility to interact with your customers and solve problems.

While it’s tempting to associate great dining experiences with the selection and quality of food at a restaurant, that’s actually seeing less than half the picture.

A successful restaurant is also known for its customer experience. You’ll find pleasure in ensuring a customer’s journey from the time he enters to the time he leaves your restaurant feeling good!

– Alejandra is an intrepid restaurant marketing researcher focusing on what’s to come for the industry’s future.

Food photo created by freepik –