There can be many factors in a restaurant’s failure or success. However, one clear cut reason for success or failure is the ability, or lack thereof, to maintain a consistency in service excellence.
In my many years as a successful restaurateur, I certainly emphasized high standards of food and atmosphere and service but, of the three, I would primarily credit my success to “guest relations and customer service.”
The typical customer does not just go out to get something to eat. They have expectations of something more than just good food. Typically, they have been serving someone else’s needs all day long; either family or business-related bosses or customers. When going out to a restaurant, it is now their turn to have their needs met.
When a customer feels neglected or that they have received bad service in any way, they take it personally.
So what did I do to assure that my staff would make service their #1 priority?
- It begins with hiring the right people. When interviewing, I had a specific list of questions that helped me determine the personality of the prospective employee. Were they positive about life and people or were they more on the negative side? There are people of have an attitude of “I am happy to be of service to others,” and there are people who lack that attitude.
- The second thing is training. Not just an initial training session upon hiring, but an ongoing program of training. Short weekly staff meetings with reminders of the importance of our customers’ satisfaction. I would make it a point to compliment a server on my observations of their good service or was always sure to pass on a compliment from a departing customer. Positive reinforcement works.
It’s true that service is part of the greater system. Read more about Restaurant Operating Systems.
W&W Restaurant Consulting Group