Restaurant owners know that customer reviews can make or break their business. If you have the most delicious food in the neighborhood, great specials, and excellent ambience, you may think that you’ll receive nothing but five-star reviews. However, one thing that can detract from your diners’ experiences is your waitstaff. One of the top complaints about a restaurant’s waitstaff is that they were “distracted” throughout the course of a customer’s dinner. Here are five ways to avoid the “distracted waitstaff” review.
1. Don’t Make Diners Wait
One of the top reasons that your customers think the wait staff is distracted is because it took so long for them to get drinks, a menu, their order taken, etc. Make sure you have enough staff on hand to get customers seated and drinks on the table in a timely fashion. Even if you are busier than normal, instruct your wait staff not to let it show to the customers by being friendly and timely with their service.
2. Train Servers How to Handle Difficult Customers
You’re bound to have the customers who want to change everything on the menu, complain about the food, or are generally difficult or nasty. By giving your servers training on how to handle these types of diners, they’ll be able to rely on what they learned to respond instead of reacting negatively or being inclined to ignore the customers.
3. Fix Problems Immediately
Customers are more likely to leave a negative review about the attention of the wait staff if their complaints aren’t handled immediately and they feel like they’re being ignored. The best thing to do is to handle their problems right away and don’t put them off or make them wait for a manager. Train your servers how to negotiate a solution that works for both parties and, most importantly, leaves your customer happy.
4. Be Available to the Customers
A customer is not going to be happy if they need a refill or have a question and their server is nowhere to be found. While you don’t want people to feel bothered while they eat, it’s important to check in with them at least once, and even have someone dedicated to refilling drinks who can send a server their way if need be.
5. Pay Attention
Nothing says “distracted” like getting an order wrong. Whether it’s bringing the wrong type of wine or including an ingredient they requested to be left off, order mistakes show a lack of attention. If the problem lies with one or two servers, work with them on how they notate the orders to ensure accuracy.
Seeing a customer review that says, “Great food, but the waitstaff was distracted,” can be incredibly frustrating to restaurants since it’s an avoidable problem. Work with your waitstaff to ensure they are delivering top customer service – which is vital to your restaurant’s success.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.