One of the most important elements to consider when running a restaurant is the quality of the customer service you provide. Good customer service includes providing courteous and quick service to meet customers’ needs during their dining experience, which can determine whether or not someone becomes a recurring customer.
In this article, we discuss why good customer service in restaurants is important and give nine examples of good restaurant customer service with explanations.
Why is good Customer Service in Restaurants important?
Good customer service is important in the restaurant industry because it can determine the overall success of the establishment. Here is a list of reasons why it’s so important:
Happy customers generate more positive feedback and reviews for your restaurant.
Excellent customer service can increase revenue.
Satisfied customers are more likely to become regular customers.
The longevity of a business usually relies on good customer service.
9 examples of good customer service in a restaurant
Here is a list of nine examples of good customer service with explanations for each:
1. Greet the customer with a smile
Example: As a family of four walks into the restaurant, the hostess smiles and welcomes them. She then asks the family if they prefer a booth or a table. The father, Chris, says they would like a table, and the hostess says she has one ready for them. As she walks the family to their table, she asks them if they’re dining out for a special occasion, and the mom, Janet, replies that it’s her husband’s birthday. The hostess wishes the husband a happy birthday and offers the family a discounted appetizer with their meals before seating them.
Explanation: As soon as a customer walks into the restaurant, their customer experience begins. Try to greet customers enthusiastically as soon as they enter the building. As you walk them to their table, you can ask them questions like if they’ve had a good day or if there’s any special reason they’re dining out. Many customers appreciate this friendliness as you seat them at their table. Small gestures like these show customers that the staff cares about providing a positive dining experience.
2. Be flexible when possible
Example: As the hostess seats the family at their table, she asks if there is anything else she can do for them before she leaves. Janet speaks up and asks if they can have a booster seat for their toddler and some extra crayons for their daughter. The hostess says she will be right back with everything while the family takes their seats. When she returns, she brings the booster seat, plenty of extra crayons, and a few extra children’s menus that the children can draw on during their dinner.
Explanation: Part of great customer service requires the staff to be flexible when catering to customer needs. If you’re able to accommodate a customer’s request, such as seating them at a different booth, putting more than one table together for their family or splitting the check three ways, try to do so. They are more likely to feel satisfied with their experience when you make these small accommodations for them.
3. Be prompt and attentive
Example: Shortly after, the waiter comes to the table, introduces himself as Allen, and asks how they are enjoying their evening. He then asks if they have any questions about the drink menu before taking their drink order. Several minutes later, he brings water to the table after he realizes the drink orders are taking longer than usual. He apologizes for the wait and tells them that drinks are behind schedule because of the dinner rush. He asks if there’s anything he can get them in the meantime. When he returns with their drinks, he brings them complimentary breadsticks.
Explanation: Promptly taking care of customers’ needs is an essential part of good customer service. When a customer places a drink order, try to get it back to them quickly. If their drink orders are taking longer to get than usual, bring them water and be upfront and informative about why their drinks are taking extra time. Let them know you’re bringing them as soon as they’re ready, so the diners are aware their needs are still a priority.
4. Know the restaurant’s products
Example: After giving the family a few more minutes to look at the menu, the waiter comes back and asks if they have any questions about the menu before they order. Janet says she can’t decide between the fried fish or the chicken Alfredo. Allen tells her that of those two options, the pasta may be a better choice if she prefers a more creamy and savory taste, but many of the customers comment about how great the fried fish is. She opts for the fish, and then the rest of the family orders their food.
Explanation: The products of a restaurant are its food and drinks, so having a thorough knowledge of the food your restaurant offers is part of providing excellent customer service. Many customers have trouble deciding what to eat and appreciate the suggestions of their server to help them decide. Consider familiarizing yourself with the menu so that you can answer questions about appetizers, main courses, drinks, and desserts in addition to suggesting menu items depending on the customer’s preferences.
5. Check on your customers often
Example: After taking the family’s order, Allen goes back to check on them once more before bringing them their order. He asks if anyone needs anything, and they say they’re doing great. He tells them he’s going to check on their order and that it should be out soon. Before he leaves the table, he sees that Chris’s drink is almost empty, so he brings a refill when he brings out their order of food. He asks if they would like any extra condiments or utensils, and they say everything looks great and they’re all right for now.
Explanation: Good customer service includes attending to customers frequently. Try to check on your customers regularly and ask if they need any drink refills, extra utensils, or condiments, and make them aware of the status of their orders. Let them know you’re doing your best to make this an exceptional dining experience for them.
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6. Be proactive
Example: As Allen walks past the family’s table again, he notices that they could use some more napkins and that Janet ate most of her cocktail sauce. He takes a few moments to get some more sauce and some extra napkins for the table. When he goes back to check on them, he places everything on their table and asks if there’s anything else they need, but they say no and thank him for bringing them the napkins and cocktail sauce and express how much they appreciate him for being aware of what they needed.
Explanation: Try to anticipate customers’ needs before they ask for something. If you see that their drink needs a refill or think that they might want extra sides of condiments with their food, be proactive and bring it to them. This shows awareness of their needs in advance, and the customers are likely to recognize and appreciate your attentiveness to their table.
7. Handle challenges immediately
Example: Allen goes back to check on the family one last time to collect their plates, and Janet comments that she found a hair in the extra cocktail sauce that Allen brought to the table earlier. Allen apologizes extensively and asks if there’s anything he can do to correct the mistake. She thanks him for his generosity and doesn’t appear to be upset because she knows he didn’t do it intentionally. Regardless, he offers them a discount on their meal, which they gratefully accept before he takes their plates away.
Explanation: If you encounter a challenge with a customer, try to handle it immediately. A large factor in good customer service is ensuring the customer’s happiness, so it’s important to listen intently while they explain. Then consider asking what you can do to improve their experience. Try to apologize sincerely for the mishap and consider offering them a discount on their meal or a free dessert. If you can right the wrong, they are more likely to remember you for being helpful and understanding, which increases their likelihood of returning to the restaurant again in the future.
8. Make the experience personal
Example: Before Allen comes back with their check, he remembers the hostess mentioned the family is celebrating Chris’s birthday. He brings the family a complimentary ice cream sundae and wishes Chris a happy birthday on behalf of the staff.
Explanation: Customers are more likely to become recurring patrons when they experience a more personal dining experience where the customer service exceeds their expectations. Extending the offer of a free dessert on a customer’s birthday or giving a flower to each mom on Mother’s Day are a few ways you can make the dining experience more personal for customers.
9. Ask for customer feedback
Example: After Allen delivers the check, he asks Chris and Janet if they would be interested in filling out a quick comment card or customer survey on their phones before they leave. He tells them he appreciates their feedback and that it helps to improve customer service for the next time they come in for a meal. He thanks them for dining at the restaurant, wishes Chris a happy birthday again, and tells them to have a great rest of their evening.
Explanation: Consider asking customers to fill out comment cards or complete a customer survey before they leave. This shows that you’re interested in their feedback regarding your service and that you care about what you did well and how you can improve. Using comment cards allows you to understand the quality of your service from the perspective of the customer, which can be a great way to discover ideas for how to improve in the future.
I hope you find this article helpful.