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5 Tips for a Strong Customer Service Culture in Restaurants

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Nikita Radchenko
January 30, 2023
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

Every restaurant owner knows that strong customer service supports their bottom line, and directly ties in with the overall customer experience. Though it is not always easily achieved, this post sets out some ways to optimize your restaurant operations and improve your customer service.

1) Create Memorable Experiences

Restaurants are all about creating a unique, memorable experience for the customers. A satisfied customer will remember your restaurant and will be more willing to come back again, a dissatisfied customer, on the other hand, will most probably not return to your establishment.

What Efficiency Solutions Can be Incorporated to Provide a Highly Memorable Experience?

  • Pay attention to the minute details and create a more personalized service for your customers. For example, remembering customers’ names or making sure to present the food in a beautiful manner.
  • Create a welcoming presence. This will help with producing a memorable experience because the customers enjoyed spending time in your restaurant, this is because the music was soothing, or they had comfortable seating arrangement.
  • Make it unique, implementing some sort of unique element to your restaurant can help it stand out from the crowd, and make it more memorable. This can be achieved through thoughtful design of the physical space, such as incorporating unique color schemes, showcasing distinctive architectural elements, or incorporating an attention-grabbing mural.

Going above and beyond for your customers really cements that you care for them and are ready to fulfill all their desires. When something inevitably goes wrong, being there and providing some value to the customer (e.g., a complimentary drink or dish) can really aid in maintaining a positive image of your restaurant.

2) Establish Customer-Centered Values In Your Team

For your staff members to display strong customer service daily, respond to unexpected situations, and ultimately make sure your customers walk out of doors happy, you need to introduce clear values to all your new hires from the very first day. What could such values look like? Here are some examples of good customer-centered values:

  • Customer happiness is the goal. This value will help your team to focus on the essentials while, for example, dealing with an unhappy customer and not worrying about what cost it may have on your revenue.
  • Only the best product shall be served. This value will help your team to navigate a multitude of situations, for example, if deciding to use an old-looking ingredient or to redo a dish, which looks subpar.
  • Better to overdeliver than to be sorry. This value will clearly guide your team to go the extra mile in unexpected situations (for example, a customer has a birthday) and to deliver an unforgettable customer experience.

How do you establish those values:

  • Continuous communication. This can be done through several methods including organizing an all-staff meeting, making posters/visual aids, and writing a message in the work chat.
  • Highlight correct mannerisms for the rest of the staff. This will show your team that you see them and pay attention, for example, if a staff member consistently polishes cutlery before handing it to customers, this can then be commended to everyone else.
  • Leading by example. Model your desired behaviors and encourage your team to practice them, for example, always greeting customers when they walk in.

3) Hire the Right Staff

Hiring the right staff may be the most tangible way to provide better customer service. This is because the employees you bring on board will act as representatives for your company, serving as the primary point of contact with your customers.

What is the right staff? What are some of the features which you need to look out for during the trial period:

  • A “no complaining” and positive attitude, seek individuals who approach challenges with positivty and a sense of humor, rather than those who dread facing difficulties.
  • A willingness to learn and adapt means that they, the staff members, will be willing to take on new responsibilities and become more invaluable to the team.
  • Acting professionally and respectfully means the employee treats the customers and other staff members well and understands the context of their job and responsibilities; they are trustworthy and dependable.

When hiring a new member of staff, make sure that they display desirable qualities and skills for your business. This will help to ensure that the customers will have a pleasant experience and will lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

4) Continuously Evaluate Your Team – Developing Their Skills

Hiring the right staff was the first step, but the second is to continuously train them and provide development opportunities to help them acquire the skills and knowledge they need to deliver excellent customer service.

You can do this by:

  • Sharing learning materials. For example, all staff members can access a document, with examples of how to communicate with customers respectfully. This will improve your customer service because you can ask all employees to read this document and hold them accountable for their actions.
  • Providing in-house feedback. This can be done in person at a convenient time shortly after their mishap, for example, during the lunch rush, an employee mistakenly adds another ingredient to a recipe, now is not the most ideal moment to express your thoughts, but after all the clients have been served, conveying your thoughts, and explaining what they did wrong is an acceptable way of providing feedback.
  • Conducting regular performance evaluations. This is good for improving your customer service because it can help identify underlying problems with your staff’s knowledge.

This can be done through multiple ways, such as online questionnaires, or having a paper test in person.

When confronting an employee about their shortcomings, it is important to not threaten them or make it feel like an attack. A way to start this conversation is by saying what they did right and then mentioning the things they need to address and work on.

5) Listen to Customer Feedback and Take Notes

Listening to customer feedback is an essential part of establishing strong customer service. Collecting customer feedback will help with improving services and refining your processes. Use feedback as a learning opportunity, encourage employees to listen and take note of it and use it as constructive criticism even if it is mostly complaints.

A more in-depth method of managing customer reviews and feedback could look like this:

  • Saving all feedback in a centralized system. Saving the feedback in a shared document for example, which all members of staff have access to would allow for quick and easy entries to be made and seen.
  • Categorizing relevant feedback. For example, if a customer had a complaint about the size of the dish, saying it was too small, this would be a complaint categorized as “menu/dish criticism” for example, there could be another complaint to do with “restaurant atmosphere” because there was loud music playing, etc.
  • Deciding and prioritizing certain complaints into actual process changes. For example, a common complaint might be that the food was too cold when served to a customer, which results in a negative review online, after several similar reviews you could decide to change the internal kitchen processes to accommodate a new warm shelf element, keeping the food warmer. 

The best part about collecting customer feedback is that it has an immensely small effort-to-reward ratio, such a system could be easily established with the use of some basic technology, and it allows you to see things from the customers’ perspective.

In conclusion, you should focus on creating memorable experiences for customers, establishing customer-centered values in your team, hiring the right staff, continuously evaluating your team, and listening to customer feedback. By gradually conducting the aforementioned restaurant process improvements, you can establish a strong customer service culture in your restaurant

If you found this blog helpful and would like to discuss or learn more about how spoon.tech can help you improve your customer service within your team and optimize your restaurant operations for better day-to-day results, please fill out our contact form, alternatively, you can reach out to us via phone at (+43 670 655 56 82) Or email us at hello@spoon.tech.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Nikita Radchenko

Hi, I am Nikita, a Vienna-based chef who has been successfully leading and teaching restaurant teams for the past several years. I am passionate about both cooking and people development and love to write on both topics. Get connected with me on Linkedin, and I will be happy to chat!

Nikita Radchenko

Hi, I am Nikita, a Vienna-based chef who has been successfully leading and teaching restaurant teams for the past several years. I am passionate about both cooking and people development and love to write on both topics. Get connected with me on Linkedin, and I will be happy to chat!

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