We all know that the success of a restaurant is sometimes solely based on the quality of food. Restaurateurs put a great deal of thought into this element. However, most do not take adequate time to consider exactly what consistent service is. For the most part little or no funds are spent on ensuring that service takes responsibility of the customer’s needs in a prompt, polite and professional manner.
As a restaurant owner there are some steps you can take to provide the highest excellence in servicing your customers.
1. The Most Important Step You Can Do Is to Define What Consistent Service Is for Your Restaurant
Once you have a clear vision for your establishment then compose an employee handbook that outlines these goals. Most restaurant owners assume that the wait staff knows exactly what their role is to be. Unfortunately this is not always true. By having a service employee handbook your viewpoints are clearly stated. In it will be outlined the steps needed for service excellence, your expectations and most importantly the strategy for these goals. Restaurants are all totally different with different needs and what may be good service at a pizza parlor where an employee might of worked is much different than an establishment featuring French cuisine. Even if the staff member is familiar with your restaurant type, they may not have received adequate service training. Assuming that staff has experience with fine service can only set up problems down the line. A well defined plan supports consistency which is integral to success.
2. Make Sure That You Have All the Necessary Equipment
Providing your wait staff with all that is required for them to do their job properly is imperative. Whether it is a lack of silverware or glassware or not enough jelly or butter packets, these practices will reflect negatively on your staff. They will be forced to make excuses or work harder with disappointing results. Eventually the staff itself will become dissatisfied and lose faith in the company.
3. Be Conscious When Hiring Your Staff That They Are Not Only Experienced but Are People That Enjoy Serving
Serving experience is always a plus but finding an individual whose heart is in their job can be much more conducive for consistent service. Educating staff on how to serve is fairly effortless. Individuals who have people skills are better to hire in the long run because those attributes cannot be learned. Those who display kindness, tenacity for education and responsibility are more likely to provide an amazing experience for the customer.
4. Great Service Does Not Come Easily
Persistence and continual conversations involving the staff on a regular basis is essential. These conversations should become daily practices. Revisiting any issues that may arise is necessary for improvement. Keep in mind that even if the problem resolves, if it is never touched upon again it may return.
5. Be Sure to Be Clear on the Responsibility of Every Position Within Your Organization
Results can be disappointing or ineffective if not educated properly. Remember to, that your managers are your front line. Their responsibility is to convey your visions to your employees. Lead by example. Get out among your customers and show your staff that you also can give great customer service. Perhaps offer refills. By letting them see you willing to be on their floor among them you will gain respect.
6. It’s Important to Treat Staff With the Same Kindness and Respect That You Require Them to Give Your Clientele
Constantly reproaching your staff can kill team work and creates an atmosphere not conducive to the hospitality industry. When employees live in fear of continuing reprimands, the kindness that you are expecting to be shown to your customers can be stifled. It’s much more beneficial to lead with encouragement than with continual negativity.
7. Just as You Should Not Lead With Negativity, You Must Also Praise Your Staff for a Job Well Done
By doing so you are doing more for your employees than just handing them a paycheck. Praise inspires connectivity. Kindness and generosity can go a long way. You may even wish to consider incentives for exemplary service. An example would be a gift certificate for the staff member who is given the most compliments in a one month period. Let the staff know that their efforts do not go unnoticed and make them feel as if they are not replaceable.
8. Do Your Homework
Visit other restaurants, either big or small, and take notes on those touches that impress as superb service. Shopping in stores can give you a different perspective of hospitality. Decide if any of their methods could be applicable to restaurant service. Share your finding with your staff and encourage feedback.
Consistent customer service must be an ongoing daily process that requires planning and creativity. Educate your team, give them the tools they need and be willing to lead by example.