We’ve all had bad experiences at restaurants where either the service was lousy or the food bland and unimaginative. Sometimes we’ve had both at the same time. The good news is that creating an excellent meal out for customers isn’t too hard. Here are five keys to eliminating bad customer experiences at a restaurant:
Train Servers to Be Professional
When someone goes out to eat, they aren’t looking to make friends with a server. A server’s presence should be minimized to only provide what the customers need. Proper server training will teach them to never address customers as “You guys…” or to use slang such as “Are you still working on that?”
In addition, servers should never crouch down to speak to customers or to write on their table. Servers can still be friendly to customers without being too familiar or making customers feel uncomfortable. In fact, some studies have shown that the servers who receive the best tips are quick, efficient, and don’t go out of their way to chat with customers.
Place Tables Correctly
There are subtle ways to provide customers with an ideal dining experience that could literally make or break their evening at a restaurant, and the placement of a table is one of the most important. For example, if you cram too many tables into a dining room, customers will feel like they don’t have any personal space and won’t feel comfortable having personal conversations. In addition, some may have a hard time hearing one another if the tables are too close together.
The placement of tables can also make a significant difference. Don’t ever place a table in a bad location, as that will lead to ongoing customer complaints.
An uneven or wobbly table may sound like a small matter, but think about this: What if a customer leans on a table and spills red wine on himself when the table shifts under his weight? What if another customer rests her foot on a table leg and her drink spills into her food? An uneven table can be easily fixed by placing the table in a flat location, adjusting the legs of the table, or placing a wobble wedge under the uneven leg.
Follow Up with Customers After Food Arrives
After a meal arrives, servers should follow up after a few minutes to ensure that the customers are happy. Sometimes a steak isn’t cooked enough or a mild dish was accidentally made spicy. Either way, following up with a customer will ensure they receive exactly what they want as quickly as possible.
Pay Attention to Lighting Needs
Everyone will have different lighting needs, so having a few options available could really help your customers enjoy their meal. The elderly may need more light, so consider ways to create a mood without alienating this demographic. You could try to place older diners by a window or set up some different lights that you can shine in particular locations. You could also dim the lights as the night goes on and the demographic becomes younger.
Pay Attention to Noise Levels
While music can add a lot to the mood of a restaurant, the noise level of restaurants is one of the most common complaints noted on restaurant surveys. Keep in mind that a full dining room will have a high noise level on its own. Once you add the bustle of servers and the constant noise of background music, it could make it hard for certain parties to have conversations, especially those with hearing problems.
Creating an ideal restaurant experience isn’t too hard to do, but it does require some planning. By addressing these five areas, you’ll be able to minimize complaints and give customers a reason to return.
About The Author:
This article was written by Ed Quinn.