7 Good Examples of Customer Service in a Restaurant
One of the most important elements to consider when running a restaurant is the quality of the customer service you provide, because it can affect a company's public image and revenue. Good customer service includes providing courteous and quick service to meet customers' needs during their dining experience, which can determine whether someone becomes a recurring customer. Understanding good customer service in a restaurant environment can help restaurant owners and staff provide more exceptional customer service to improve the restaurant's reputation and customer base.
In this article, we discuss why excellent customer service in restaurants is important and give seven examples of good customer service with explanations.
Why is good customer service in a restaurant important?
Good customer service in a restaurant is important because it can determine the overall success of the establishment. Here's a list of reasons it's so essential in this industry:
Happy customers generate more positive feedback and reviews for the restaurant.
Excellent customer service can increase revenue.
Satisfied customers can be more likely to become regular customers.
The longevity of a business usually relies on good customer service.
Related: Why Is Exceptional Customer Service Important? (Plus Tips)
7 examples of good customer service in a restaurant
Here is a list of seven examples of good customer service in a restaurant, 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 whether 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.
Related: Relationship and Effect of Customer Service in Sales
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 cheque three ways, try to do so. They're 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 server 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: Good customer service often means quickly addressing a customer's needs and ensuring they have access to assistance when they need it. If you're a server, it's important to come back to each table and check on the customers to see if they need more refreshments, and update to their order, or to answer any questions they have about the menu and service. Keep customers informed on their order status to help them feel attended to and like they matter to the restaurant.
Related: Tips on How to Provide Good Customer Service (With Benefits)
4. Know the menu
Example: A group of customers who are new to the restaurant sit down for the first time and immediately ask the waiter about the nightly specials. The server explains that the special tonight is a roasted sea bass with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, then explains the side soup options for that dish. The customers also ask about where the restaurant sources its meat, to which the server replies it sources all meat from local butchers.
Explanation: A good understanding of the menu can help your customers feel more confident in the food you offer and the services you provide. Establishing this trust can be crucial to creating that initial relationship with a patron and potentially encouraging them to return to the restaurant or even recommend it to friends and family. Ensure you understand everything about the menu, and if there's anything you don't understand, it's important that you know how to ask the kitchen so you can accurately convey the information to the customer.
5. Be proactive with service
Example: A server helping a party of seven notices that they're out of breadsticks and three of the patrons need a refill on their drinks. Instead of waiting for them to ask, the server brings another order of free breadsticks to the table. She also asks each of the three patrons without drinks if they want a refill, since a refill contributes to their bill. She returns with the drinks and continues to monitor the table to ensure they always have what they need.
Explanation: Being proactive with your customer service can be a great way to minimize or eliminate issues. For example, if you are proactively asking customers if they want refill and if they find the food to be satisfactory, you always know what your customers want and expect, and can better serve them. Prompt, proactive service can also show a customer that you genuinely care about their experience with the restaurant, which may convince them to return.
Related: What Does Customer Service Do? (With 11 Job Types)
6. Address challenges with professionalism
Example: A patron is upset that the wrong order came to their table, and is demanding to see the manager and receive a full refund for food they've already eaten. Their server apologizes for the mistake, then shows the customer their original order, which matches what the server brought to the table. The customer is still upset, so the server contacts the manager and tells the customer they're coming.
Explanation: Challenges inevitably arise in a customer service environment, so it's important to understand how to address them quickly and professionally to keep customers happy and minimize the stress on yourself and other staff. When you encounter challenges with customers, adopt an attitude of patience and understanding and ensure you know how to reach your manager if the issue escalates.
Related: 10 Tips for Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience
7. Use feedback to improve
Example: The restaurant receives feedback from a customer that suggests they improve their smoothie recipe. The restaurant staff notice that this feedback has recently become a trend with the introduction of three new smoothies to the menu. Considering this trend, the staff work together to create new recipes for the smoothies, then offer free samples to those same customers to see if they like the changes.
Explanation: Feedback can be crucial to improving the restaurant and exemplifying good customer service. When you listen to feedback, you're telling customers that their opinions matter and you take them seriously. This may help customers feel more valued and like they've made a personal contribution to the business, which can make them more invested in your future and more likely to recommend the restaurant to others.
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