Providing a good customer experience is vital to the success of your restaurant.
Think about it. If you went to a restaurant and the service was terrible, would you go back? Would you tell friends and family to avoid the restaurant? Would you leave a negative restaurant review?
If you went to a restaurant with great service, your answers to these questions will probably change.
But delivering excellent customer service is easier said than done. You might have new staff trying to learn the ropes, a busy shift to manage, new menu items to prepare, and so on.
But there are some things you can do to give your diners the best possible service — no matter how busy you are. Let’s take a look at what these are!
1. Train and develop your customer-facing staff
The first step in delivering first-rate customer service is to train and develop your customer-facing staff. After all, they’re the ones that deal with customers face-to-face.
And if customers don’t have a good experience with your front-of-house (FOH) team, they’re more likely to go somewhere else next time.
Take a look at some of the ways you can train your staff to deliver exceptional service:
- Create a solid onboarding programme. Make sure you have a clear process in place for onboarding new restaurant staff, which covers your culture, values, and customer service expectations. That way, everyone is clear on how to deliver exceptional customer service from the get-go.
- Let staff shadow other members of the team. Shadowing is a great way for FOH staff to learn more about customer service. Partner a new hire with someone experienced and let them see first-hand how to provide diners with the best possible service.
- Ask staff for their feedback. FOH staff deal with customers directly. So, it’s a good idea to ask if they have any thoughts or feedback on how to refine your customer service practices. Chances are, they might have some valuable insights.
Find out more about training restaurant staff for success!
2. Communicate with customers
Although technology is on the up in the restaurant industry, people still want human interaction.
Why? Because dining out is an experience. If people didn’t want any interaction, they’d order food to take away.
So, to provide your customers with the best service possible, you need to communicate with your diners. Here are some tips:
- Offer a warm welcome. Set the tone for the rest of the meal by giving guests a warm welcome to the restaurant. Smile as they enter, ask how they are, and go from there.
- Check in regularly (but not too regularly). You want customers to know that you’re on hand to help, but you don’t want to be overbearing. The two-bite, two-minute rule can be a useful guide (where waiting staff check on diners two minutes after they’ve had two bites).
- Manage expectations. Let’s be real, there will be times when your service won’t be as good as the day before — but this is where communication is important. Are you short-staffed this evening, so service might be slower? Tell your customers. Is there anything on the menu that’s no longer available? Tell. Your. Customers! If you don’t let them in on what’s happening, they’ll struggle to understand why they’re not getting the service they want — and this can lead to a bad experience.
3. Use technology
Did you know that one in four consumers consider contactless technology to be a critical part of their dining experience? Whether that’s ordering on a table-side POS system, or using a contactless payment method — customers want (and expect) technology in the dining experience. Technology can and should be used to in conjunction with human connection, not at its expense.
But how can it help you improve customer service?
First of all, it can personalise the customer experience.
Let’s say you have a returning customer. With AI-powered restaurant technology, you can analyse their past orders, food preferences, and dietary restrictions to create personalised recommendations.
Restaurant technology can also be incredibly helpful for optimising efficiency and streamlining your operations. In fact, reports suggest that technology will be effectively used to enhance management efficiency by 2030.
This means you can provide patrons with a more efficient dining experience, making sure everyone gets the care and attention they need. The result? Some happy customers!
Use Nory to upgrade your customer service
For your restaurant to grow, you need to go the extra mile and provide customers with a good experience — period. Hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought (sorry, we love a pun) on how to refine your customer service processes.
And if you’re thinking about using technology to improve your operations and provide quality customer service, book a call with Nory today!
What makes training and developing front-of-house staff essential for customer service?
Training and developing front-of-house (FOH) staff is crucial because they are the primary point of contact with customers. Effective training ensures they understand the restaurant’s culture, values, and customer service expectations, leading to more consistent and positive customer experiences.
How can restaurants balance technology and personal interaction in customer service?
While technology, such as contactless ordering and payment systems, is increasingly important in enhancing customer experience, personal interaction remains key. Restaurants should use technology to streamline operations and personalise the experience, while ensuring staff are trained to offer a warm, human touch.
Can you explain the two-bite, two-minute rule in customer service?
The two-bite, two-minute rule is a guideline for waiting staff to check on diners approximately two minutes after they have taken two bites of their meal. This ensures that staff are attentive and responsive to customer needs without being overbearing.
How does Nory’s restaurant management software improve customer service?
Nory’s software enhances customer service by analysing real-time sales data, managing inventory, and producing demand-based schedules. This technology streamlines operations, allowing staff to focus more on customer interaction and ensuring efficient, personalised service.
Why is communication with customers a key component of customer service in restaurants?
Effective communication is essential in setting expectations and managing any service limitations (like being short-staffed). It helps in creating a transparent, understanding environment, leading to better customer experiences even when the service is not optimal.