Restaurant Customer Service
Many people enrolled in culinary arts programs dream of owning a restaurant. While their cooking skills may be fantastic, and customers leave satisfied with their meal, a restaurant simply cannot last if the customer service is subpar. It’s imperative for every restaurant to train their staff correctly, teaching them proper etiquette and the importance of serving in a timely manner. Here are some crucial tips all wait staff need to know:
Speaking with customers
Customers should be greeted with a smile as soon as they walk in the door and seated as soon as possible. No matter which staff member is speaking with the customer, it’s important that he or she is polite. While taking orders, try not to interrupt guests and be sure that you can answer any question they may have about the menu. If you don’t know the answer, find someone who does. It’s better to have a customer wait for an answer than to bluff and end up serving the wrong thing.
Hosts may have to juggle customers asking when their table will be ready and people calling on the phone at the same time. Teach your hosts to tackle these situations by politely excusing him or herself to answer the phone. It’s impolite to ask customers to hold right off the bat, so teach your staff to greet them appropriately and then tell them that he or she will be right with them. Try not to leave a person on hold for more than a minute.
While it may be difficult to keep a cool head when a customer is berating you, being short or snippy with the customer is never a way to behave. It’s best to agree, apologize and rectify the problem by compensating for a messed up dish or offering a free dessert. While talking to an upset customer, be very cognizant of your body language to make sure you look as empathetic as you sound. While you may want to say, “Fine, don’t come back,” if the customer threatens to take his or her business elsewhere, try to satisfy the customer anyway. Every customer’s business is valuable.
Serving and clearing the table
Serving tables may seem like a simple job – after all, you take the orders, bring them out, and clear the plates, right? It’s not actually so easy. There are plenty of things to take into account when serving tables to make sure that your customers are comfortable and leave satisfied. For example, food is to be served and cleared from the diner’s left side, while beverages are to be served and cleared from the right. If all diners are finished eating, try to clear all dishes at one time. Offer to bring the check if they’re finished eating – don’t make them have to ask for it.