How do you make sure your guests feel so well taken care of that they can’t get enough and have to make your restaurant one of their favorite haunts? Besides a great ambience and delicious food, great service from your waitstaff is one of the best things you can do to make your customers feel well-cared for. How do you train and hire the best staff? Here are some tried-and-true tips on how to give your customers a great experience.
Tip #1: How to Interrupt Politely
Knowing when and how to interrupt a table full of guests is a tricky one. A wait staffer should not too long – your customers are here for food, after all – but they should also be wary of talking over guests and interrupting them in an obnoxious manner. One successful and polite way for a server to interrupt is by placing their hand down on the table. This simple and gentle gesture lets guests know they are there without being intrusive.
Tip #2: Catering to Kids
Serving families with small kids can be a challenge since kids can be picky about their food and fidgety at the table. Offer an activity for the kids, such as a coloring book, if your restaurant sees a lot of family diners. Giving them something for them to do will allow the adults to enjoy the meal more peacefully and happier kids will make your job easier as well. Also, when preparing children’s dishes, make sure they look like something the individual child will like. If a child says they don’t like an item in the dish, such as greens just leave it off entirely, even if it is just garnish.
Tip #3: Service With a Smile
While you want to maintain professionalism and not be overly familiar with your guests, friendliness goes a long way with making customers feel prioritized and taken care of. Train your staff in having service with a smile, such as making eye contacting greeting guests by their first name. A warm manner will make guests want to return and bring their friends.
Tip #4: Manager Interaction
One of the strongest signals you can give a customer is by doing “table touches” as manager, or going around to various tables and asking how their experience is going. This gives the impression you take your business and the happiness of your guests seriously and personally and makes customers feel like they are getting VIP treatment. Ask them how their food is and whether they need more wine. Your guests will feel secure knowing the higher management levels care about their experience too.
Tip #5: Mastering the Check
Customers can be particularly irked by the check process, whether it comes to fast and they feel rushed, or the server takes too long, spoiling what could have been a great experience at the very last moment. Restaurants who let customers ask for the check and then deliver it promptly appear to have mastered the process. Be attentive to your guests when they want to leave, but don’t push them out the door.
Trip #6: Cutting Wait Times
Wait times can ruin an experience before it even starts, so try to streamline your wait times as much as possible so you are not playing catch up with grumpy guests. Technology, such as a kitchen display system, can help with this. Some restaurants provide samples of appetizers to guests as they wait as well.
Service can make or break a restaurant. Make sure yours is a picture of excellence, friendliness, and organization!
Challenge: As manager, practice table touches two days this week, and see if your guests react with pleasant surprise at the extra care and attention!