From the minute a customer comes through your doors, to their first bite of food, until the moment they’re ready to pay – having your staff ensure every aspect of their experience goes off without a hitch is crucial to your restaurant’s success.
Here are five key ways your staff can turn a customer's experience at your restaurant into an unforgettable one.
There’s nothing worse than a hostess who doesn’t even lift their head when you enter a restaurant. Make sure your employees do your restaurant justice by starting off the customer experience on a good note. Meeting their gaze, giving a warm welcome and asking the questions necessary to get them seated in good time will go a long way.
Want to kick the personalization up a notch? Your POS can help. Start by taking down their name at the beginning of their visit. From that point on, you’ll be able to keep an eye on their visit frequency, and even average spend, going forward. By tracking this information in your point of sale, you can make their next time at your venue even more memorable. I mean, who wouldn’t love a complimentary dessert for visiting three times in one week? Or a ½ priced latte when they’ve hit $50 in spend at your cafe.
Sally’s gluten free, John’s allergic to peanuts, and Kim can’t be within two feet of shellfish. How do you cope? Flexibility is crucial. With the increase in dietary restrictions and food allergies today, your staff will have to be more accommodating when it comes time to take an order if they’re going to wow your customers. Be wary of making these requests feel like an inconvenience. If a customer feels like a nag by asking for dressing on the side, no tomatoes, and light on the cheese, you can kiss the chances of repeat business goodbye. By inputting common modifiers for popular allergies into your POS, your staff can put a smile on even the pickiest of customers.
From seating, to lighting, to music, there’s no shortage of elements your staff have to keep in check to ensure your customers’ experience is as enjoyable as possible. Coach them to read the vibes of your restaurant; if it’s your Friday dinner shift with a fairly young crowd, blasting today’s hits paired with some mood lighting is a-okay. But if it’s your Sunday lunch shift with the post-church crowd, you should definitely be making some adjustments.
No server likes a customer who can't decide what they want. Just like no customer enjoys being stared at blankly while sifting through a restaurant's list of offerings. Luckily, both situations are avoidable, making a stellar customer experience achievable.
The key is to position your staff as experts while they're tableside. This expertise can be achieved in a few ways. First, use your POS to send out a message to your team at the beginning of each shift. Inform them of any specials, new menu items, or if a particular item runs out. Anything your customers may inquire about, make sure your staff have the answers.
Next, leverage your POS's visual menu to ensure your customers are ordering exactly what they want. An iPad POS that allows you to upload photos of all of your menu items will help your servers impress even the the most difficult customers. That couple on date night isn't sure about your avocado bruschetta, or whether your teriyaki chicken is enough to split? Flash the photo, place the order, please the customer – easy peasy.
It's no secret – your customers don't want to spend an eternity at your restaurant. So don't make your bill settling process feel like they have to. Instead, show your customers you value their time and provide them with flexible payment options that will make settling their bills a breeze. Whether it's cash, debit, credit, give them the power to settle their bills when they want and how they want.
Your customers are your livelihood. Have your staff live and breathe these five tips to ensure your customers receive the best dining experience possible.
Article written by Jackie Prange. Jackie is a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media strategist at TouchBistro. She covers the latest food, dining, and technology trends for the restaurant industry.