The most effective way to satisfy your customers has little to do with the environment, decoration, or even cooking. While these elements are important, it is the experience diners have from the minute they walk in the door to the minute they exit that really counts. Only if you retain your customers, your outstanding cuisine and your fashionable design will have audiences. Since the customer service is so essential to your success, how do you deliver excellent customer service at your restaurant?
1. Know the Menu Inside and Out
Having a well trained, professionally dressed staff that knows your menu inside and out is as important as having delicious food. Many people ask questions after going through the menu, this is particularly true in a specialty restaurant. You should make sure your staff knows how to answers the most common questions in a genuine and trustworthy way.
Some common questions that customers ask can be “Is there something you recommend?” and “What’s your favorite?”. A confident answer without any hesitation proves that your staff is proud of the cuisine and gives a good first impression on diners.
But questions can be tricky and surprising sometimes. Many guests are very particular for one reason or another (whether they have health issues, can’t stand spicy food, struggle with lactose intolerance, etc.) and will request specific changes to the dishes they want to order. Questions range from “Does this include salad?” to “Can I have it lactose-free?” to “May I have a burger without bread?”.
Try this check-list:
· Can your servers pronounce all the name correctly？
· Do they have a recommendation for both children and adults?
· Do they know all the ingredients?
· Is everything up to date?
2. Know How to Handle Customer Complaints
a. Deal with Them Without Delay
To err is just human: drink gets spilled over the table, main courses get overcooked, bills get miscalculated — something seems bound to go amiss. When comes to aggressive customers, it is vital to deal with them at once. Don’t let the anger escalated by long wait time.
Always hear the customer out before reacting. Then do your best to come up with a solution as quickly as possible. Whether it’s a little gift, a discount or a replacement, always be prepared with a reaction that can reverse the damage. Even if it is not possible to undo the damage, your exceptional respect and responsiveness can mollify the anger. Remember that a happy customer tells 3 people while an unhappy customer tells 10 people.
b. Regard Complaints as Valuable Resources
Often, for every customer who complains, there are far more unsatisfied customers get fed up and leave, without saying anything. You even can’t figure out the problem behind the dropping sales number!
So customers who complain are truly your valuable resources. They give you the insight into the faulty processes that potentially make 20 more customers annoyed. That’s why every complaint should be seen as an opportunity for future improvement.
3. Use Social Media to Engage with Customers
Social network platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram offer an easy way to reach out to wide ranges of customers. You establish and maintain valuable relationships by posting specials, inviting them to recent events, and most importantly, taking time to answer every single message — especially to unhappy customers — to make them feel understood and respected.
Engaging with customers on social media can help foster real-world relationships which make them think of your restaurant first when thinking about dining out. Moreover, according to the study carried out by Bain & Company, customers spend 20% to 40% more on average with the company, when the company engages and responds to customer service requests over social media.
How to kick off your social media marketing?
- Create your restaurant’s Facebook Page
- Fill out all your profiles
- Locates your restaurant
- Create an engagement/ promotional post
- Initiate a conversation with your customers
- Establish a regular publishing schedule
4. Provide Consistent Experience
a. Consistent Taste
One of the most frustrated experience failures in a restaurant is that you are going to get your favorite dish but having it done poorly.
Consistent experience, first of all, means the consistent quality of cuisine. A cold steak or soggy French Fries easily deteriorate the brand image and make all the previous efforts wasted. To satisfy a customer does not necessarily mean that you have to offer an exceptional dish, but a dish that meets his or her expectation.
b. Consistent Service
On the other hand, consistent service accounts for the lion’s share of the dining experience. According to American Express, 86% of customers will pay more for better customer experience. Each employee plays an irreplaceable role. From waiters to cashiers, customers gain consistent good experience only if all the staff fulfills their duty.
The most important step in providing great customer service is a proactive step: train your employees. Training involves more than just teaching your employees the technical aspects of how to do their job. It can also be your chance to introduce and reinforce company culture as well as dealing with specific situations.
A well-trained waiter or bartender will keep customers happy and coming back frequently. Ideally, they are informative, attentive, quick-witted and trustworthy. They are multitaskers and effective communicators.
However, the turnover rate of hospitality staff is typically notoriously high. The reason is simple: a waiter should always be prepared for unreasonable complaints, aggressive customers and all kinds of high-pressure scenarios.
The high turnover rate usually causes frequent labor shortage, excessive training costs, and inconsistent service quality. So some restaurateurs choose to offer extra bonuses and other non-monetary incentives to motivate and retain their staff.
Other managers blaze a trail to counter this issue. They automate the whole the process — from ordering to payment — by kiosks, robots, website or app.
5. Manage Wait Time
The speed of service is vital to a good dining experience no matter your restaurant type. When it comes to quick service restaurant, no amount of time is too short. If your diners have to queue up for 15 minutes to order food, it really won’t matter to them that your chef prepared the best burger. Your dinner is already irritated and hungry.
It’s crucial for restaurateurs — particularly for those who located in CBD — to make sure you have enough staff on hand so they never have to wait too long during the lunch rush. While customers aren’t continually able to sit among moments, informing customers concerning the timeline and taking proactive steps to confirm their comfort will facilitate them keep comfortable.
If the order takes a bit longer to cook, be honest and accurate when you inform them how long it will take. Customers may be uncomfortable if they want to remind their servers of the request. They may even eat food without the right condiments or a drink.
When estimate wait times, always quote them up. If you quote 10 minutes but the order is actually ready in 20. The dining experience is already turning sour. Also, restaurant owners can encourage their employees to provide prompt service by asking them to keep customer needs lists or to look after one customer before they move on to the next.
If applicable, the optimum way to speed up the service is to give your customers the option to order in advance so that you have extra time to prepare the order. You may consider setting up your own pre-order website or just using third-party pre-order apps Waitrr — the easiest and most cost-efficient solution for quick service restaurants.
6. Automate Repetitive Processes
In this digital age, why don’t you make both your and your customers’ lives easier? An online pre-ordering and payment app can help you cut down operating expenses, provide faster customer service and streamline your business.
a. Modernize the Ordering
Worry about your waiters’ handwriting? Try Waitrr! It helps you display your menu in an interactive manner, and more importantly, deliver accurate orders to customers by taking care of all personal notes and remarks.
Waitrr’s pre-ordering service allows your customers to browse the menu and order conveniently from your menu whether at home, in the office, or stuck in traffic. Now your customers and you are literally one click away. This gives your restaurant a chance to impress clients who’d otherwise never see an ad or hear about your business.
Moreover, browsing online is far much easier than waiting until getting the restaurant and then reading through the menu. Usually, people who browse menu online spend more money online, because they are visually stimulated to order more food items that they wouldn’t normally do.
When it comes to payments, here are 4 main reasons that why you may want to choose Waitrr online payment:
- To streamline the payment process
- To minimizes human errors and in-house thefts
- No longer need to count the bills and make deposits at the bank at the end of the day
- Customers may not always have their credit card or cash on hand
At Da Paolo, Waitrr has been perfectly incorporated into its POS system: orders come from Waitrr users directly saved in POS. There is no need for staff to type in order number anymore.
With Waitrr, every step in the dining process goes frictionless and smoothly: your clients order their favorite food and pay online, the order immediately shows in your restaurant POS system, your chef starts to prepare the food, and 15 minutes later, customers come to pick up food with big smile on their face.
That’s how Da Paolo, PAUL, Daily Cut, Wine Connection, Five Bar and other popular restaurants get loyal customers!