Restaurant customer service is the easiest aspect of this business to use for bringing customers back for another visit. You have invested time, restaurant equipment and other business expenses, and a great deal of energy into your business. Make your investments worthwhile by turning your restaurant into a place where every customer feels special and valued. These timeless customer service tips will pay off for years to come.
The secret to great customer service for restaurants lies in one basic fact: everyone wants to feel that someone cares enough to get to know them. Whether you know a client’s name through past visits or a reservation or simply ask if you don’t know, greet customers by name and instruct your staff to do so whenever possible as well. Stay friendly but professional – use titles like Mr., Ms., or Dr. until directed to do otherwise or unless you know that this particular customer is decidedly more comfortable on a first-name basis. Be aware of special occasions. If you have an email list or customer loyalty program, you can be prepared for birthdays or anniversaries. Notice when even customers you haven’t seen before come in especially dressed up. Strike up a short conversation and see if they are celebrating something. In any of these cases, clients appreciate extras. Send a free dessert or drink from the bar. Gestures like this entice customers to come back and to recommend your restaurant to their friends.
Setting an Example
As the leader of your business, the best practice you can adopt to improve customer service is to act the way you want your employees to act. Even the most minute details deserve your attention. Your clients will surely notice if the paper towel dispenser is empty, so avoid inconveniencing them by assigning team members to stay on top of every potential task. Take a genuine interest in whether every order is satisfactory, and fix anything a customer dislikes as quickly as possible. Greet guests personally when you can, and have a greeter at the door at all times. No matter what is happening in the kitchen or in the dining area, smile. It will affect not only your guests’ perception of your restaurant, but the moods of your employees. Express sincere concern for staff members’ issues and you will see them automatically do the same for customers. Maintain a calm yet energetic attitude always. Initiate brief, amiable conversation with your clients and be aware of when they would like extra attention and when they are involved in conversation with one another and may wish to be left alone for a bit longer. You or an employee should always be ready to offer a refill, a dessert, or even the check as soon as the customer is ready.
In short, you want to seem as though you have all the time in the world for your customers while realizing that their time is limited. Having a two-minute conversation in which you express true interest in your customer makes a bigger impression than a half-hour of your time with interruptions and lack of concern. Quick service is always appreciated, and personal touches like remembering a customer’s birthday or favorite dish will quickly build for you a solid base of regular clients.