Categories: Blog

A few years back, the National Restaurant Association conducted an extensive national survey to determine what the primary reason was for customers repeating their visits to a specific restaurant.
The survey asked: “Which of these three reasons compelled you to return to a restaurant for a 2nd time?” The three reasons asked to choose from were: food, atmosphere or service.
The overwhelming response recorded was not food or atmosphere, but service. Not that food and atmosphere were not important, but just not as important as service. In other words, the food could be great and the atmosphere wonderful; but, if the service was bad, it ruined the food and atmosphere experience.
The NRA’s survey did not elaborate on the reasons for choosing service or give their opinion as to why service was the most important thing to a good restaurant experience.
I have my own opinion on why service is so important. I am a partner in a restaurant consulting company. My company is W&W Restaurant Consulting Group. I personally have over 55 years of owning & operating single unit restaurants, two multi-state chains, a restaurant franchise company, and in recent years, restaurant consulting. My partner is a bit younger than me, but has had a similar and successful restaurant career.
It is my partner’s and my considered opinion that the reason that service is paramount to a restaurant’s success is that customers consider bad service a personal affront. They take it personally!
So what constitutes good or bad service? It begins with the attitude of the person who is responsible for your restaurant experience: your server! An indifferent attitude tells the customer that they are not important. Server indifference is exhibited by bored body language and being non-responsive when the customer’s body language indicates that they may want or need something. Mistakes or kitchen problems can and do happen. However, a negative attitude message is for the server to ignore the problem and not go out of their way to explain the kitchen delay to the customer or to take action to resolve any other service or food problem.
Hiring a person who has a positive attitude about life, and frequent “good service” training sessions go a long way towards assuring that your customer will receive good service.
One last comment about good or bad service is that it all begins with ownership, and management. If service excellence is not extremely important to them, it is unlikely that it will be to their staff. Check out W&W Restaurant Consulting Group for more information.