When a guest walks into your restaurant you want them to have the ultimate experience. Everything from being greeted upon entering to getting their food served on time makes for a positive experience, but when these things lack (even if only once), it can turn a guest’s view from positive to negative.
It’s important to keep up with your restaurant's vision and ensuring the entire team knows what is needed from them in order to succeed. If you're looking for some ideas on recreating the customer experience, here are a few tips to help get you started.
Understand and Discuss Your Restaurant’s Vision
Knowing the vision of your restaurant is very important. How do you want it to be perceived to your guests? What are your expectations from the staff? Understanding this will allow you to grow a stronger foundation with your company and therefore, a more positive customer experience time and time again.
And while it’s essential you to fully know your restaurant’s vision, it’s equally important that your entire team does as well. Do they know how to interact with the guests especially if an issue arises? Do they know the appropriate time after a meal to give the diners their check so they aren’t left waiting but don’t feel rushed out either? Ensure your staff has a clear vision of what's expected of them so they aren’t left guessing and the guests aren’t either.
Hire the Right Staff
When it comes to the people you want to help run your restaurant, it’s crucial to find the right type. You want staff that are not only diligent, but who want to be there and have a personality that shows that. An upbeat server that is happy to go above-and-beyond to make a customer’s experience the absolute best is someone you want on your team. Others might be able to learn about how to clear a table quickly, but the people who come with the right attitude are the real winners.
Connect With Customers on an Emotional Level
When your customers are connected to your team and your restaurant, they will continue to come back and most likely bring others in with them. Throughout their time in your establishment, you want there to be a positive connection with everyone your diners come in contact with. This includes the hostess, the server, the busboy, and the manager. Your guests want to feel special and having a hostess or manger remember their name or a specific menu request can help achieve that. And if a guest has a comment or suggestion for improvement, take it into consideration. They will feel even more emotionally connected when they come back into your restaurant and see you didn’t just listen to them but you acted on it.
Don’t Be Afraid of Customer Feedback
Nowadays, there are many ways you can learn about your customers experience. Many diners tend to post photos of their meals on their social media accounts and some take the time to write a review on sites like yelp.com especially when the overall experience was a memorable one (whether it be a positive or negative). Interact with your guests while they are at the table by asking them how their food is and what else you can to do make their experience better. There’s no need to go overboard with this - most guests don’t like to have anyone asking too many questions or hovering as they try to eat - but learning about their overall time while dining with you can help make any needed improvements.
It’s also important to stay on top of social media. Learn what your guests are saying about your establishment. Was the service off one night? Did they get a smaller portion than they are used to? Were they greeted when they walked in or did it take the staff too long to say hello? All of these things are good to know so you can polish your strategies. You can also interact with your guests right away in real-time, commenting on their feedback so they know there is an actual person on the other end reading what they are writing. Again, this can easily tie into connecting with your guests on a more emotional level.
Customer experience is very important in the restaurant industry. Without happy customers, there’s no way an establishment can succeed. But even if you’ve struggled with issues in the past, there’s no time like the present to change and recreate the overall experience into the most positive one your guests will never forget.