An enjoyable restaurant experience, even though the business is all about food, is determined more by areas outside the purview of food and culinary arts – the ambience, service and an environment of relaxation. The service, especially, can influence the experience of patrons and dictate their overall impression of the restaurant. When talking about service, of primary importance is the attitude of restaurant staff towards the guests.
Your servers are not just facilitators of dishes but also the drivers of profit margins! The way they interact with the patrons will determine whether you can expect a return visit and further recommendations from the guests.
Hence, it is not simply basic manners but the acute business sense in serving your patrons with a smile which will rake in the extra profits. That is to say, the more pleased your patrons are with the attitude of the serving staff, the more will they be willing to spend. The following tips on serving could translate a smile into bigger profits:
The following tips on polishing the attitude of restaurant staff can translate a smile into bigger profits:
Courtesy is the politeness and mannerisms that the server shows towards the incoming guests. Everybody loves a warm welcome and a generous greeting upon arrival. The courtesy of the server, who is often the first touch point at the restaurant, therefore, is critical in forming the first impression.
Once that is established, it will be easier to please the guests and convert them into regular visitors. Of course, this also directly impacts the amount of tip the guests leave. Courtesy is the hallmark of a restaurant.
Even during a busy hour, servers must be trained to speak in a soft and polite tone. Remember, nobody admires rushing staff. Guests value the attention that is being paid to them.
The quality of service itself also shapes the perception of the visitor towards the restaurant. Servers must offer water (welcome drinks, if applicable) upon arrival, explain the menu items when required and be available nearby for taking and refilling orders.
As basic as it may sound, nobody goes to a restaurant to be ignored. But that is occasionally the treatment meted out to guests at a restaurant that doesn’t realise the importance of service. The menu alone will never lead a restaurant to the list of popular attractions, the service will. Remind your servers to serve diligently and with a smile.
Often the guests are undecided on what to order. This could also be due to unfamiliarity with the menu items. The server, in this case, can come to the rescue by suggesting options that may interest them. This also helps in reducing the turnaround time per table.
The server can accomplish that by asking relevant questions regarding the guest’s tastes and eating capacity. The most important consideration here is that the servers must frequently suggest items that are more profitable for the restaurant.
Let this be a lesson that the amount of tip doesn’t only depend on the gross total of the bill, but also on how expensive and profitable the dishes ordered are. Side dishes and add-ons can also be suggested to add to the profitability of the restaurant as these come with a high margin.
For many, a restaurant is also a place of celebration. These are places for meetings, parties, family get-togethers and festival outings. Any special requests from the guests should, therefore, be considered and met with satisfactory results.
These special requests can go a long way in establishing a rapport with the guest which makes them regular visitors. Playing a birthday song along with serving a small complimentary cake on a guest’s birthday is an example of superior customer service. These little gestures show that the restaurant cares about their customers and treats them as extended family.
Creating a Database
This is exclusively for long timers. The restaurant can collect data on specific customer preferences based on their favourite dishes, serving preference etc. This can then be incorporate in their service. For example, if a regular customer is known to choose a specific table of the restaurant on their visit, then the same should be cleared and kept ready for them (provided the restaurant is not full).
Similarly, if a particular customer is known to like their dishes less spicy, then that should be taken care of without their having to repeat the same every time. This makes the guest feel special. An attentive staff is always rewarded.
As you can see, the way customers are served has a direct impact on the restaurant’s image and profitability. Efficient service is a goodwill exercise that requires no additional investment but reaps substantial returns. A restaurant that inculcates a service culture is perceived as considerate and professional. The food takes a backseat in this case and the overall experience is judged by the friendly nature of the servers.
It is highly recommended that you introduce a qualitative training program for your restaurant staff. A rating system can be established for servers based on the feedback that they receive from the guests. Assigning grades at the end of every month can encourage healthy competition amongst the staff and improve service. A performance-based bonus can be introduced to encourage the servers. To manage all these activities, a restaurant software should be procured which will help your restaurant with activity tracking and reward disbursement.
Once this tracking mechanism is in place and the staff knows what is expected of them in terms of these basic ‘soft skills’, you can be assured of your patrons going back with a more pleasant experience and hoping to come back for more!