Food critics all over the world have reviewed restaurants on the basis of food and service. Good food must meet good service, else the dining experience is incomplete and unsatisfactory. Going by such reviews, it’s safe to say that diners would give restaurants a second chance when the food would have been average but service was top quality. But when tables are turned, diners swear off restaurants where their experience with service was terrible and food, great. It boils down to value for money that goes beyond a plate of food.
Service to many – restaurants and diners – would immediately mean waiters’ manners and etiquette. Little do they know, from a phone call, online ordering, seating, music and so much more contribute to service. It’s about overall customer experience and all of these factors add to it.
For example, how clean is your dining room? You want it to look, feel, and smell flawless, which is why we recommend using non-toxic Melaleuca products with essential oils to clean your entire restaurant. Melaleuca does not use chlorine bleach, ammonia, or other harsh chemicals that are not safe for your patrons.
What options do diners have before they actually step into your restaurant? Call in to book a table, book a table online or walk in without a reservation. When they call to book a table, the staff answering the phone needs to be attentive, polite and efficient. It has to be a short call, making sure the potential diner on the other end isn’t annoyed with unclear answers and endless list of questions. You don’t want them to not show up once they have spoken to an inefficient staff member on the phone. The same principle applies while taking orders on the phone, if you haven’t already signed up for online ordering services. It is off putting to talk to restaurant staff on the phone going over orders multiple times. It may lead to them canceling their order right there. What’s worse is when you’ve got their order wrong. That’s pretty much the nail on the head for the customer.
What’s the service angle, you ask? A customer doesn’t have to keep referring to a menu in hand or the phone, no chance of orders going wrong and more chances of them ordering more. Because when you have the menu online and all they have to do is keep adding items to their order, chances are they’re going to order more than their usual. This is giving them good service where the convenience of ordering in trumps an inconvenient phone call.
Not just ordering in, convenience comes in various forms. Like, if yours is a cafe, offer WiFi. If it’s a pub, host events like comedy gigs or pub quiz. These are a part of good service because you’re giving them more than just food. And that’s why they’re coming back to you.
Be prepared. Seems like a no-brainer, but many restaurants even today are not very good with business forecasting. Absorb what’s going on outside of your restaurant and apply it in your business. From festivals to other holidays, people are going to walk in without reservations and expect good service. Managing crowds during peak season isn’t easy but your diners expect to be comfortably seated and served. If you are anticipating a full house, ensure the kitchen and bar are well stocked. You don’t want to say no to a diner. A seamless service might be a challenge for you, but for your diners it means great service and giving your restaurant great reviews.
Speaking to diners politely is only the tip of the service iceberg. From reservation phone calls to a goodbye post their meal, and everything in between is important. Don’t keep diners in the dark about their food arriving late or if a dish is unavailable. Give them the option to customize their dishes if you can accommodate it. Don’t have your wait staff on their toes ogling at the diners’ waiting for them to finish their meal so they can swoop in and clear the table. Instead, have patience and let the diners enjoy their meal at their own pace. Observe, but don’t make them uncomfortable. Don’t overdo the ‘good service’ bit.
Alright, they are not always right. But you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. Always. Don’t disagree with them when there’s a problem. Be it a billing issue or something with a dish, or anything else. Just listen and talk it out. Ideally, you should take them away from the main dining area so other diners aren’t disturbed or given the wrong impression.