Did you know that86% of customers are willing to pay morefor great customer experiences?
Dining at a restaurant is not just about good food.
When customers spend money at your restaurant, they expect a good dining experience in return.
For an F&B company, excellent customer service is essential to successcan make or break your restaurant.
The restaurant manager and staff share responsibility for ensuring that diners are treated well so that they leave a positive impression of their dining experience.
In this way, customers are encouraged to return to your restaurant and even recommend it to family/friends.
Generating repeat sales isn't the only benefit you can get from good customer service. Can also:
- Improve brand reputation– Providing good customer service can act as a subtle marketing tool that encourages word of mouth. Customers will be more than happy to tell their family and friends about the great dining experience they had. This is an extra promotion for your business, and the best part is that it's free!
- Provides a competitive advantage– Use customer service as a differentiator to differentiate your F&B business from your competitors.
- Ask for premium prices– By providing excellent customer service, you have the opportunity to charge more for menu items as customers are willing to pay more to feel special.
- Improve employee motivation– Creating a work environment where customer service is valued sets a good example for your employees. The emphasis on respect and friendliness creates a more pleasant work environment and makes employees feel good about what they are doing.
Keep reading to learn how you can provide excellent customer service at your restaurant.
1. Hire people with the right skills
Great customer service is the key to F&B's success, so it's important to get it right the first time.
However, finding people with excellent customer service skills is harder than it looks.
Here are some of the most important customer service skills to look for when hiring:
- Convincing speaking skills– Able to turn problems into solutions and provide persuasive arguments that can lead to purchase.
- Empathy– the ability to understand another person’s emotions and point of view.
- Ability to use positive language –When you're promoting a new dish or dealing with a customer issue, it's important to use positive language to steer the conversation towards a positive outcome.
- Clear communication skills– the ability to speak professionally, with clarity and focus.
- patience -This is a super important skill in the F&B industry. You'll definitely encounter customers who are impatient and quick to raise issues, but the key here is to stay calm and be patient with them so you don't escalate things.
- attentive–Pay attention to your customers' needs and take care of them immediately.
- Time management–It is important to ensure that your employees are able to manage their time effectively so that they have time throughout the day to complete all of their tasks.
- multitasking–During the F&B service, there will be times when they need to multitask, for example Serving dishes and taking orders at the same time.
- Saber–Good memorization skills are needed to remember the menu so that customers can receive recommendations when needed.
- thick skin–when dealing with customers, employees need a thick skin to deal with complaints or annoyances directed at them.
Fortunately for you, these skills can always be taught too.
Just make sure your employees are open and willing to learn, because these skills can always be improved during training.
2. Value your employees
Kindness and respect towards your employees goes a long way.
Happy employees naturally radiate happiness and positive energy to their customers.
This creates a welcoming atmosphere for guests dining at the restaurant, which in turn enhances the dining experience.
You should also encourage good communication between your employees, particularly your waiter and kitchen staff.
This facilitates coordination during restaurant service.
For example, kitchen staff inform waiters approximately how long a dish will take.
3. Customer Service Training
To provide excellent customer service, you must train your employees in techniques designed to make customers happy.
Make sure that the attendance of this training is mandatory for each of your employees so that everyone is aware of the expectations that customers have when they dine out.
Some basic etiquette rules include:
- Avoid interrupting customerswhile eating or talking to someone else, but if necessary, do so politely.
- Serve and remove foodfrom the customer's left. Pour or refill drinks on the customer's right.
- ask customersif they are ready to receive your orders.
- Clear signs, bring your check and process it promptlyafter customers order.
- Encourage employees to smilecustomers and greet them.
- Placement of plates and glassesgently on the table
To ensure everyone in the company is on the same page, it's a good idea to create a customer service manual or training manual that details the protocols for slabel teethe type of services you expect from your employees and hhow to handle difficult customer situations.
Setting these standards for customer service ensures consistency.
Here are some additional tips for providing great customer service:
- Know your menu inside and out –Be fully familiar with your menu so you can recommend any dish if asked.
- Repeat order back -After receiving the customer's orders, repeat the order to ensure you didn't miss anything or mix up the orders.
- Anticipate customer needs –Try to address customers' needs before they have to ask, for example. Providing extra napkins for snacks, refilling water glasses before they run out, etc.
- Serve drinks and snacks first (if possible) –This cuts down on waiting time between courses and allows guests to drink or nibble while waiting for the main course.
- Avoid being pushy -especially if you're trying to sell certain dishes. There's nothing customers hate more than being forced to order something they don't want.
- Give your customers privacy– Nobody likes it when waiters are constantly hanging around their table. Give customers their personal freedom to decide what to order.
- Be honest with all issues –If there is an unexpected delay that increases cooking time in the kitchen, service personnel should inform customers as soon as possible. The best thing you can do to soften the blow is to sincerely explain the problem and ask if there is anything you can do about it, for example. Free drink or an appetizer as compensation.
4. Provide consistent products
Consistent food quality is extremely important in the food and beverage industry and is an integral part of customer service.
If a customer likes your food on the first visit but doesn't find the same quality or quantity on the next visit, customers will regret their decision and won't want to recommend it to their friends or family.
Even something as simple as overcooking or undercooking the meat is enough to quickly spoil the first positive customer experience.
5. Customize the dining experience
A personal touch goes a long way towards making the dining experience fun and memorable.
Something as small as greeting customers by their first name can make them feel cared for and valued, for example,"Hello Samantha, this way!".
For loyal returning customers, you can provide great customer service by remembering their most frequent order or favorite dish/beverage.
If you have a loyalty program, you can also use customer data to send personalized emails and offers to customers.
6. Reduce waiting times
To avoid angry customers, avoid making customers wait too long before serving them.
As you may know, many people are put off by poor F&B service. This may include delays in:
- customers sit
- offer menus
- take your orders
- serving the food
- bring them the bill
Longer wait times can disappoint customers, and once they are disappointed, it can be difficult to win them back.
A smooth and quick service is essential for a good dining experience.
Here are some of our top tips:
- Make sure you have enough staff available.So customers don't have to wait long to order or be served.
- Inform customers in advanceif a certain dish takes a little longer to cook, .
- If there is already a line of customers waiting, let them know approximately how long they will have to wait.
- It is always better to overestimate and surprise customerswith a shorter wait than disappointing them with a longer-than-promised wait.
- Keep your customers busy while they waitoffering free bread or snacks.
- grant accessfor free wifi.
7. Deal with customer complaints promptly
"Walao, why is your service so slow?"
As an F&B business owner, I'm sure you've had your share of customer complaints.
Customer complaints are inevitable, but if you want to limit the negative impact on your business, you need to address them immediately.
No matter how hard you try to avoid it, things can go wrong.
When that happens, your goal is to resolve the issue immediately and cheer up the customer.
It's best not to let customers bother you for too long, as this will only cause more problems in the long run.
Here are some tips for handling customer complaints:
- Be patient and listen carefullyto your problem without interrupting you.
- Take responsibility for the mistakeacknowledging that there is a problem.
- Apologizeand tell her you're sorry.
- keep eye contactand watch their body language.
- Keep calm, try to sympathize with herand don't act angry especially if you disagree with them.
- Don't try to shift the blamein someone else.
- Try to negotiate a solutionwhich you are both happy with. This could be a discount on the meal, a free dessert, a coupon for the next visit, and so on. These small acts can make your customers feel valued and valued.
It is the main objectivesolve the problem quicklywithout creating unnecessary drama.
In today's digitized world, you want to avoid customers complaining on your social media platforms or writing a bad review about your F&B business.
These online reviews damage brand reputation and discourage new customers, so avoid them at all costs.
8. Use customer feedback
Good customer service means showing your customers that you value their opinion.
If possible, give your customers the opportunity to leave feedback.
It shows them that you care about their opinion and are always looking for ways to improve.
Use customer feedback as a learning opportunity to identify areas where you are doing well, but also areas that need improvement.
You can provide even better service if you know exactly what your customers want and expect.
By acting on the feedback you provide, you not only improve the customer experience, but you also build better customer relationships.
This leads to long-term customer loyalty and increased revenue for your F&B business.
9. Use technology
There is now a huge opportunity to use technology to streamline your F&B business operations, which can immediately improve your customer service.
Let's take a look at some ways technology can improve your business:
Online ordering function for groceries
Now there are online platforms likeQR request beep, which give customers the opportunity to order immediately via an online menu.
It allows customers to conveniently browse and order directly from their phones, reducing wait times and staff interactions.
This became particularly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as it was the safest, fastest and easiest way for customers to order.
Tablet ordering system
Instead of taking orders with pen and paper, a tablet ordering system can greatly improve the customer's dining experience because:
- Eliminates manual errorsIn this way, orders are recorded more accurately.
- Service speed and efficiencyare improvedas orders are immediately sent to the kitchen.
- More customers are servedresult of the faster and more efficient service.
If you have limited seating, it's worth using a digital platform that allows customers to reserve tables in advance.
With this online booking system, you can view customer information and easily estimate the waiting times of visiting customers.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management has become indispensable in the F&B industry.
It helps improve customer satisfaction through loyalty programs and other CRM techniques.
With a strong POS system,like StoreHub, helps food and beverage companies gain great insights from customer data such as:
- Your contact details
- your visit frequency
- your preferences
- Average spend per visit
These insights can help F&B owners make more informed decisions to improve customer service.