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8 Tips to Improve Restaurant Customer Service by Training

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul
August 17, 2023
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

In the bustling world of the restaurant industry, exceptional customer service isn't just a nice-to-have; it's a fundamental pillar that can make or break a business. As diners become more discerning and the competition fiercer, the quality of customer service has emerged as a defining factor in building loyalty, reputation, and overall success.  

In the context of the restaurant industry, customer service extends beyond simply taking orders and delivering food. It encompasses creating memorable experiences that resonate with customers, leaving them satisfied and eager to return. A negative customer service encounter can reverberate far beyond the dining experience, impacting online reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and ultimately, the restaurant's bottom line. One of the most potent tools for achieving outstanding customer service is a well-designed and executed training program.

Unfortunately, according to a TalentLMS survey, 70% of employees in customer-facing roles have reported not receiving any training in customer service.

In this blog, we'll delve into effective strategies for enhancing restaurant customer service through training.


  1. Identifying Key Customer Service Skills  

Central to exceptional customer service is a set of skills that every restaurant staff member should possess. Active listening, empathy, clear communication, and adept problem-solving are some of the cornerstones of effective customer interactions. Active listening ensures that staff understand customers' preferences, allergies, and special requests accurately. Empathy enables staff to connect on a human level, making customers feel valued. Clear communication eliminates misunderstandings and enhances the overall experience, while problem-solving skills enable staff to handle issues swiftly and amicably.

Consider a scenario where a customer expresses concern about a dish's spice level. An attentive staff member would actively listen, empathize with their taste preferences, communicate the available options clearly, and propose a suitable solution. These skills, when practiced consistently, contribute to an environment where customers feel heard, valued, and satisfied. Investing in developing these skills for staff members will demonstrate to the employees that the company cares about their growth beyond job-related skills, which in turn can help increase employee retention as well.  


  1. Customizing Training Programs  

Restaurants cater to a diverse clientele with varying tastes, cultural backgrounds, and expectations. Thus, a one-size-fits-all training program falls short of addressing these nuances. Tailoring training programs to cater to different customer demographics is vital. Role-playing and simulations that mimic real customer interactions can provide a controlled environment for staff to practice adapting their skills to different scenarios. For instance, simulating scenarios involving families with children, couples on romantic evenings, or large group celebrations can help staff fine-tune their approach based on the context.


  1. Comprehensive Product Knowledge

Product knowledge is the foundation upon which exceptional customer service is built. Restaurant staff should be well-versed in the menu offerings, ingredients, preparation methods, and potential allergens. This knowledge empowers staff to confidently answer customer inquiries, make appropriate recommendations, and offer insights into dietary options. Imagine a scenario where a guest asks about vegetarian selections, and the staff can eloquently describe the ingredients and preparation process of various dishes, helping the guest make an informed choice.  

To maintain up-to-date product knowledge, clear and timely briefings and training focusing on menu updates are essential. Staff should be well-prepared to discuss new additions, seasonal offerings, and potential modifications to dishes based on customer preferences.

A challenge here is communicating the changes to the staff. Traditionally, this is done with WhatsApp, Messenger or similar chat groups where a lot of the staff members miss the message, and the changes get lost in the barrage of messages, leading to confusion later. That’s where tools like spoon.tech can be handy, where managers and operators can update the new or changed processes, the employees get notified of the change. They can then learn about it right away and check it anytime later.    


  1. Effective Communication Training

Clear and effective communication is the linchpin of successful customer interactions. The ability to convey information accurately and in a friendly manner bridges the gap between staff and customers. Verbal communication, tone, body language, and non-verbal cues all play a role in creating a positive experience. Training sessions should encompass techniques to enhance these communication aspects, enabling staff to connect authentically with customers.

Additionally, addressing difficult customer interactions is a critical component of effective communication training. By teaching staff how to manage irate customers with diplomacy and understanding, restaurants can defuse potentially negative situations and turn them into opportunities for customer satisfaction.


  1. Building a Customer-Centric Culture  

While training is crucial, creating a customer-centric culture requires a unified commitment from all staff members, from servers to kitchen staff. Leadership plays a pivotal role in fostering this culture by setting an example and providing ongoing support. When employees understand that providing excellent customer service is a collective effort that aligns with the restaurant's values, it becomes ingrained in their work ethic.

Encourage staff to take ownership of their roles in delivering exceptional service. This can involve recognizing and rewarding outstanding service instances, sharing positive customer feedback, and fostering a sense of pride in being part of a team dedicated to providing unforgettable dining experiences.


  1. Continuous Training and Development

Customer service training isn't a one-time event; it's an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement. However, TalentLMS reports that 52% of restaurant employees received training only when they first joined the organization, aka only onboarding training. Thus, refresher courses and skill development workshops should be regularly scheduled to reinforce key concepts and introduce new strategies. These sessions can also serve as platforms for staff to share their experiences and learn from one another.

Feedback mechanisms are instrumental in gauging the effectiveness of training initiatives. Encourage staff to provide insights into what aspects of their training have proven most beneficial and where improvements can be made. Similarly, gathering customer feedback through post-dining surveys or online reviews can offer valuable insights into the impact of training on customer satisfaction.


  1. Utilizing Technology in Training  

For service training in restaurants, delivery is an aspect that is equally important as the contents. In the digital age, technology has become an invaluable ally in enhancing the delivery of customer service training. E-learning platforms, virtual reality simulations, and gamification are examples of technology tools that can elevate the learning experience by providing engaging and interactive modules.

One example of technology solution in training is spoon.tech, a gamified mobile learning solution that helps restaurant operators easily transform their service processes and policies into visual and interactive training contents and enables employees to learn those processes and policies by games, in a fun way.

Technological tools like spoon.tech also facilitate training scalability, making it easier to onboard new staff members and provide consistent training across multiple locations. As the industry evolves, embracing technology can help restaurants stay ahead of the curve in customer service innovation.


  1. Measuring and Tracking Progress  

Implementing training initiatives without measuring their impact is akin to navigating without a compass. Tracking customer satisfaction metrics, such as feedback forms, online reviews, and customer retention rates, provides tangible evidence of training effectiveness. These metrics offer insights into areas of strength and potential improvement, allowing restaurants to refine their training strategies.

Data-driven decision-making empowers restaurant managers to make informed choices about training program adjustments, identify staff members who excel, and address shortcomings promptly. Regularly analyzing these metrics contributes to an iterative process of improvement, aligning training efforts with evolving customer expectations.


In a world where dining choices abound and customer preferences are ever-changing, exceptional customer service is the secret ingredient that keeps restaurants thriving. By investing in comprehensive training programs that focus on key customer service skills, personalized approaches, effective communication, and fostering a customer-centric culture, restaurants can elevate their service quality to new heights.


Remember, customer service training isn't a one-time effort but an ongoing journey towards continuous improvement. As technology offers innovative ways to enhance training methodologies, and as restaurants adapt to changing industry dynamics, the core principles of exceptional customer service remain constant. By prioritizing training, restaurants can transform ordinary dining experiences into unforgettable moments that leave customers coming back for more.

If you found that blog helpful and want to improve your restaurant customer service with training, get in touch with us by filling out this contact form. Alternatively, you can call us via phone at (+43 670 655 56 82) or email us at hello@spoon.tech.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

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