Introduction – How to show customers your best side
Let’s face it. Everyone has bad days, including owners, managers and staff members. Whether it’s your bartender spilling every other drink or a waiter or waitress who is 45 minutes late during the lunch rush hour, no one is perfect. As the boss, it is your job to make sure your customers see as little as possible of any disfunction that happens behind the scenes. You may be wondering, how do you do this?
Keep Customers Out of the Drama
Avoid letting disfunction spill into the public part of your restaurant. If there is acrimony in the kitchen, it should dealt with behind closed doors. If you must speak to an employee who is causing issues, take the discussion away from both customers and other staff. A public discussion not only causes unnecessary humiliation for the staff member in question but can also drive down the morale of the entire team. Also, do not complain about your staff or other problems you are experiencing to or in front of customers. It is embarrassing for your guests and you can be sure they will leave with a bad taste in their mouth, if not from your food, from your attitude. In the unfortunate situation that a mistake does reach a customer, such as their order being forgotten or wrong, always go overboard offering compensation. A free creme brûlée can go a long way.
Identify Consistent Issues
Have your finger on the pulse of the weekly and monthly affairs of your establishment. If an employee is consistently late, make it your business to examine how that affects other staff members’ morale as well as the general productivity of your restaurant, and address it in a constructive way. Be firm but attempt to be flexible, and give plenty of warning before administering any consequences for bad behavior to your employees. In addition, cultivate versatility in your staff, so that when someone drops the ball, someone else can seamlessly cover for them temporarily, again with the goal of keeping customers out of the drama.
Revamp the Rules Regularly
Over weeks and months, habits can form and priorities can slip. Every so often, you should revamp important details that may have fallen by the wayside through lack of enforcement. For example, remind staff members of health code policies and remind them consistently and in a positive way to follow them until everyone does so out of firmly established habit. Revamping your rules will both prevent future crises and help your staff know how to resolve them when they occur.
Customers don’t want to experience the baggage of your daily grind. By keeping your restaurant’s internal workings private you allow them to simply enjoy their experience, which will keep guests coming back even if it was your worst day on the job.
Challenge: Ask your staff members what they think would help most in a situation where a mistake was made.
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