Everyone talks about customer service as if they understand it; we talk glibly about how important it is and how we know exactly how it should be done. Have you noticed how quick we are to complain about poor service, yet nothing ever seems to come of our complaints? Could it be that we are complaining to the wrong ears? How many times have you actually asked to speak to a manager so that you could calmly and rationally tell him/her why you were unhappy with the service you received? If we really thought about it, our goal is not to get someone fired. We simply want to point out what would improve the service so that we continue dining at that establishment. After all, if we never tell them what we think is wrong, how are they ever going to know they are doing anything at all wrong? Maybe they are completely unaware and they need to hear it from a customer who wants to continue patronizing an establishment.
People will return to your restaurant if your food is just "ok" or just "good," but the service always makes them glad they chose your restaurant and they feel they got the best value for their dollar. Their repeat business is the ultimate compliment to your service quality. On the other hand, if your food is just "good" or is even superior to your competitor's, but excellent service doesn't belong in the same sentence as your restaurant, you won't be seeing many return visits from your guests. Guess what? Service is the selling point that keeps them coming back! We all know that we can make our own food at home exactly the way we like it. We all know that we can just go to the local liquor store and buy our beverage of choice far cheaper than we could ever hope to get it for at your restaurant. So why would we go out to eat? We want to be served and we're willing to pay for it! We're more likely to go where we know the service is caring and consistent and the food is predictably good. We're going to avoid the place that doesn't care what kind of impression they make upon their guests.
Little things that may seem like a waste of time or mundane, are the very details your guests notice and appreciate. Open a door, pull out a chair, take a coat, open a menu, suggest a cocktail or appetizer...you see where this is going. You're paving the way for suggestive selling techniques, which I will talk about in the next newsletter.
There are many small and seemingly insignificant things that a waiter can do to enhance the dining experience for your patrons, not to mention increase restaurant profits and increase his/her tip at the end of the meal. Realistically, that is what is important to your wait staff... their bottom line. The trick is to make them understand that. Enhancing their service techniques means increasing their bottom line and yours.