5 Ways to deliver excellent customer service at your restaurant
Customer service can make or break your establishment. Instagram worthy decor, a fantastic view or a craving for a delicious meal may get them in the door. But, if the service is poor, chances are they won’t return. Even worse, they’ll tell their friends.
Excellent customer service start and ends with people. Hire the right staff, treat them well and fantastic service should flow onto the customers. With the right systems and processes in place, customer service should be tangible, rather than left up to how the day goes. Here are five ways to deliver excellent customer service by every staff member, every time.
1. Hire great staff
With the current skills shortage of professional chefs, managers and sommeliers, it’s somewhat reassuring to know hiring locals with the right attitude can be better than experienced waiting staff.
“Attitude is everything!” says Boaz Keeda, director of Fibonacci Coffee in Sydney.
“Initiative and a can-do attitude are important. It’s quite easy to train someone on the operational aspect of a cafe. It’s much harder to train them to be happy,” he says.
2. Provide quality training
Investing in staff training is more than telling them how to use the cash register. It’s another way of instilling the restaurant’s culture and values into the most important asset, the people. Staff training provides them with the tools they need to deliver a quality service, consistently. If something goes wrong, they need to know the correct procedures to follow, and not simply ‘wing it’.
When people know what’s expected of them and communication is consistent and clear, it makes for a happier work environment. The retention rate is higher and the quality of work is better. Staff respond well to quality training as they know their needs are being met as an employee.
“Given the industry, we prefer a structured yet informal approach. Meaning, we have a structure that supports us, both the manager and the trainee, to make sure we cover all the areas while keeping things light and fun,” says Boaz.
3. Automate your service
Automating your restaurant or cafe can improve your customer service.
Management software can automate accounting, scheduling and inventory control for restaurants. Table reservation management, guest management and menu costing can also be automated. Integrated with point of sale and credit card processing systems can really streamline your service.
“A lot of the back of house is automated, like payroll, bookkeeping and suggested ordering. We also have a lot of the front end and marketing planned 12 months in advance and scheduled. Automation creates a supportive structure so that the team can focus on what’s important, customer service,” says Boaz.
4. Ask for feedback
Collecting customer feedback is more than simply increasing your online presence. You can also make positive changes to the way you operate. Feedback can tell you which menu items to keep or remove. Perhaps the music was too loud for conversation. The seat near the window may have been too hot or the window too hard to open.
The key is to get this feedback as soon as possible after the meal. Otherwise, the urge to leave a comment fades along with their memory of the experience.
With QR Codes, it’s never been easier to collect feedback, before it hits Google. If you’re after post meal feedback, print a QR code survey on the receipt. The customer scans the code with their phone and up comes your survey questions. You could even provide the QR code on the tables to leave feedback while they’re dining.
Over time the feedback can even give you an idea of where you sit amongst your competitors and how you can get the upper edge on them.
5. Honour your regulars with a loyalty system
Restaurant loyalty programs aim to win repeat business. But, they can also be used to gain an understanding of your customers and provide insight into how you can find other revenue opportunities.
A recent survey by Oracle found that 62 per cent of consumers could be persuaded to choose one brand over another due to the presence of a loyalty program. Many cafes are still holding onto the hole punch card, rewarding customers with their free tenth coffee. But a loyalty system rewarding customers for bringing in new business is where lies the true value.
Try rewarding customers with a two for one deal for sharing your program with their family. People love freebies. Give them a surprise on their birthday and get them to bring their friends.
Set up a way to recognise your most loyal customer. Every visit should earn them points, with very frequent customers earning more points or customised offerings. You can even offer payment inside your loyalty app or perhaps easy pick up options.
Excellent customer service relies on people, but technology is making it even easier. If your cafe or restaurant needs commercial cooking equipment or further advice, get in touch with Comcater.
At Comcater, we have a speciality in providing a wide selection of food transport equipment and serving solutions that are sure to take your service to the next level. Contact us today for more information!