Restaurant Customer Service – How to Get Repeat Customers
Jan 03 2019
The big question all Restaurant owners and managers ask themselves is how can I provide excellent customer service that gets customers coming back again and also tell other people about their excellent experience.
Some factors is what the customer observes, whether it is a pleasant sight that is going to cause that customer to say WOW, or an unpleasant sight that will create a negative attitude. While your customers are waiting for service they are seated or standing and have time to observe your operations. Your guest sees everything, whether it is clean or dirty. Your guest can also hear everything such as: cooks arguing in the kitchen or the manager yelling at an employee. Do you really want to expose your dirty laundry to your customers?
In the restaurant industry you need to crush your competitors. In today’s economy it is tough for restaurants to turn a profit and survive. It’s not rocket science to figure out how to survive and even to succeed. It is important for you to have some experience in the restaurant industry in order to understand what needs to be implemented in your restaurant. If you don’t have that experience, then hire people who have experience and will commit to your success.
Your customer’s feedback about your restaurant is crucial to your success. After all, how are you going to know if your staff is doing the right things for the right reasons unless someone is observing them? Your customers see and hear everything while they are in your restaurant. What your customers see and hear can make a huge impact on repeat business.
The following neglected areas will negatively impact repeat business:
- Parking lot: Cigarettes and trash all over the parking lot. Trash cans smelly and full.
- Hostess Area: Fingerprints are all over the front doors. There is no one at the door to greet the customer. Employees are walking past the guest and they are not acknowledging them.
- Restrooms: Toilets and urinals are filthy. There are no paper towels or soap and the trash cans are overflowing. Baby changing station does not have sanitation wipes and is dirty.
- Dining Room: Dirty Tables and condiments dirty and empty. The floor is filthy and there are visible stains on the carpets. Service is slow or the servers are chatting with each other and not paying attention to customers. Servers don’t know the menu and can’t answer questions.
- Kitchen:Long check times. Cold food. Undercooked or overcooked food. Cooks talking too loud and the guests can hear the cooks using profanity. Food isn’t prepared and all the menu items aren’t available for customers to order.
I am not saying that these things occur in your establishment, but what I am stating is that there are some restaurants that may have one or more of these issues. This is creating a negative outcome resulting in dwindling repeat business.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see what they see and hear what they hear, the customer’s eye.Train your managers to be proactive and head off the problems before they happen or get out of hand. Eliminate all eyesores before the guest sees them.; Make believe you are the guest: start your inspection from the parking lot. Then do a complete walk-through of the entire restaurant and correct issues as you proceed. Create a list of things that require attention and delegate them to your employees. Remember to do follow-up to ensure the task that you delegated was completed properly.
Managers should be on the floor during all peak times. They should be giving direction to the employees and conducting table visits to ensure that the guest is fully satisfied. The managers should be on the floor 90% of the time and in the office 10% of the time.
Here is the cool part. Do you want to improve your customer service? If you have answered yes, then the next part is relatively easy providing your managers are on the same page as you are and that they without fail correct any eyesores prior to any peak period.
There are many great resources to help improve your restaurant operation such as: Restaurant forms and checklists.
- Restaurant front of the house checklists: Use an opening checklist to ensure that your restaurant is ready prior to the restaurant opening for the day. Use a closing checklist to help close the restaurant properly and to set up the opening shift. One way to keep your restrooms clean is to use a restaurant restroom checklist which ensures the restrooms are cleaned and stocked throughout the shifts. There are many different restaurant forms that can be applied to keep a clean, stocked and organized shift.
- Restaurant server forms: I would recommend is the server steps of service form. This form will help increase overall customer service because it focuses on WOW service from the very minute the customer enters your restaurant all the way up until the customer departs your restaurant. You can even use the server test or steps of service quiz to keep your servers knowledgeable.
- Restaurant kitchen checklists: A Restaurant Kitchen Checklist is a fantastic tool to be used to prepare the kitchen prior to any meal period. The manager will conduct a walk-through in your kitchen looking for expired products, date dot use, and proper rotation of products. The manager also will ensure that the kitchen is fully stocked and that all foods are at the proper serving or storage temperature.
If for some reason you are having difficulty or are frustrated in trying to turn your restaurant around, then you may want to seek out a professional restaurant consultant to help facilitate your policies and procedures. The restaurant consultant can also guide you in implementing quality training that you help you turn a profit.
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