Woman about to place her order with a server

Keeping your customers happy and satisfied is a key component of what makes a great restaurant. As such it’s crucial that your team are equipped with all the skills and experience necessary to provide fantastic service to every guest even during busy service periods.

A great customer service experience often means as much, or even more than the quality of food and drink so getting it right is essential if you want to create repeat eaters and increase average order value (AOV).

1. Staff training

Some staff are great with customers, others, not so. Either way, staff training will help all the members of your team deliver an exceptional service while simultaneously supporting the to become more employable.

Your staff training should focus on two main things. First, product such as coffee, food and wine training. And secondly, processes of service such as welcoming customers, laying tables, using the POS and handling payments.

restaurant customer service

2. Greet customers

First impressions matter, they set the tone for the rest of the customers evening. Which is why greeting customers with a smile as they walk in is so important. Staff should make sure customers know that they will be with them shortly even if they have to wait a little bit to be seated.

3. Run menu tastings for staff

Customers are more educated than ever before about food and drinks and they expect their waitstaff to be able to offer them detailed information on the dishes on the menu.

As such, every member of staff should have tasted each dish and should have a working knowledge of the ingredients. When asked they should be able to make recommendations, preferably with a drink pairing to satisfy both the customer curiosity and taste buds.

4. suitable clothes/ uniforms

It doesn’t matter whether your restaurant is formal or casual, whether the uniform involves jeans or a suit, your staff should all look the part. Their uniforms are one of the first things customers will see and are important in setting the tone and expectations for customers. Even the most casual uniforms should have a consistent approach across the team and members of staff should be well presented.

5. Splitting the bill

Less and less people are carrying cash these days. And in response to COVID-19 some venues have actually gone entirely cash-free for health and safety reasons. Because of this, it’s not unusual for groups to want to split the bill multiple ways across cards. It is important then that your POS system is up to the job and staff know how to quickly and accurately split the bill by both item and amount.

Having the system do the work will both speed up the paying process and also reassure customers who might otherwise question the staff’s dodgy mental maths.

restaurant food service

6. Use data

Data comes in many forms. Your POS systems, for example, can likely tell you which items are best sellers and customer feedback can help you determine why other menu items aren’t selling as well as you’d hoped.

Analysing data and making informed menu and management choices based on factual evidence will help you make impactful changes in the restaurant to improve sales and profitability.

7. Control online customer touchpoints

The customer experience doesn’t start or end at the restaurant’s doors. It starts with brand awareness, perhaps through a social channel, maybe they walk past the restaurant or it’s recommended by a friend. Then most customers will review the website and the menu online. They might go and check review sites to see what others have to say about the restaurant. Once they’re done, if they liked their experience they may leave a review of their own, or recommend your restaurant to another of their friends.

Because of this, if a restaurant wants to grow, find new customers and encourage repeat eaters they need to control the online customer experience as well as their in store experience.

8. Don’t keep customers waiting

No one likes to be kept waiting. This means timely service by staff with an efficient kitchen and good communication between Front of House (FoH) and Back of House (BoH) staff.

One way restaurants are improving their customer service is through the use of innovative technologies like table ordering. Table ordering allows customers to scan a QR code on their table and order and pay from their phone. This allows staff to focus on delivering food and ensuring customer satisfaction. It has the additional benefit of actually increasing AOV as customers can easily add items to their order, such as additional drinks and sides at any point during the meal, without having to wait for staff members’ attention.

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