In addition to the quality of the food and drinks, a restaurant's success is largely dependent on good customer service. An attentive staff with a friendly demeanour can mean repeat business and bigger tips. If all things on the restaurant customer service checklist are done, it will greatly increase the likelihood of restaurant success.
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Upon entering the restaurant, customers should be greeted with a friendly smile and greeting. It's also a nice idea to hold open any doors for them. If there will be a wait, the customers should be informed of this and given an estimate for the wait time.
Customers should be seated and then given their menus, along with being informed that their server will be with them shortly. The host or hostess should also leave with a friendly message, such as, "Enjoy your meal."
A server should greet the table about a minute after the guests have been seated. It's important not to pounce on them the second they're seated, but also not to leave them there too long before the server greets them. The server should say hello and then inform the customers of his name.
Food and drinks should be delivered in a timely manner. The customers should be not left wondering, "When will my drink be out?" It's usually a good idea for the server to check in with the table and give updates, such as, "Your food will be out in just a couple minutes."
Refills and Other Needs
One of the areas that can mean the difference between good customer service or bad customer service is drink refills and other needs. As the meal progresses, a server should refill drinks if the customers would like it as well as inquiring if the customers have any other needs, such as extra napkins, ketchup or new silverware. Good customer service means being attentive to customers and anticipating their needs. The customer shouldn't have to ask for a steak knife or a small plate to hold the bones left from the chicken wings he is eating. These should be provided ahead of time.
Suggested, But Not Pushed
Servers will typically suggest certain things to customers, such as dessert or pricey cocktails, but the server shouldn't push the customers into getting these things. It can mean bad customer service if customers feel like their server is pushing them or constantly trying to entice them to buy additional items. Suggest, but don't push.
When a server gives the bill to a table of customers, it's best to simply leave it in the middle of table. Don't assume the oldest male is covering the bill but don't also ask, "So, who wants this?" Simply place it in a clean area on the table and walk away. A server should also not hover around the table, waiting for a credit card or cash to be placed on top of the bill. Process customers' payment quickly, but let them pay when they're ready.
After a server has processed the payment (such as running the credit card or making change), the server should thank the customers for their patronage and say goodbye. As the customers leave, a host or hostess should also thank them and hold open the door.
If any complaints should arise, they should be handled professionally. If necessary, a manager should intervene. Steps should be taken to not make other customers feel uncomfortable, such as discussing the problem in a separate area. A manager or server should offer free dessert or other things to show regret for the customer's disappointment in the meal or service.
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