Not all restaurants aim to become Michelin-starred, so it’s not always necessary to offer high-end service. That said, having a good reputation and attracting a loyal customers are two of the basic criteria of restaurant customer service. When trying to determine if a restaurant offers good customer service, you have to study very specific aspects. Here are five criteria that are evaluated when it comes to judging customer service in a restaurant.
The Greeting: The First Impression
Besides food, one of the most important aspects of the guest experience is the arrival. The greeting includes accessibility to the restaurant and its entrance, but also the first decorative elements the visitors see and ultimately, the way the staff greets them. Make sure the reception is handled in an effective and pleasant way.
Staff members who make the first contact must be warm and welcoming to guests as they enter.
Attention and Interpersonal Skills
Once guests are seated, servers must be attentive and show interpersonal skills. They should listen to guests and know every detail of the menu. It is also important that they quickly answer any questions about possible allergies. The entire team must be conscientious and professional toward guests, open to receiving feedback, and responsive to any complaints.
Hygiene and Comfort
Hygiene is an aspect that may seem obvious, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. It includes the cleanliness of the restaurant and food as well as the hygiene of the restaurant staff members.
Comfort is also part of the important criteria used for assessing customer satisfaction. This means the furniture, which must be comfortable and ergonomic, and the prevailing atmosphere of the dining area. Comfort also includes the relationship that develops between the staff and guests. If the latter are well received, they will feel at ease and be more likely to have a good time.
Timeliness of the Service
There is an art that comes with the organization of the service in a restaurant. Different steps must be taken to arrange for a waiting time that is neither too slow nor too hurried. Guests appreciate not having to wait too long before ordering and receiving their orders. At the same time, they don't want to feel pressured to quickly finish their meal. The key to good service is establishing a perfect balance so that guests are satisfied and each step flows naturally.
Finally, this last element is key to great quality service. While servers don’t intervene in the kitchen, their role in the first place is to transport the food—the main reason for the guests' visit. For some dishes, the server must also perform final steps before serving them to guests. This part of the process should be natural and effective, so that the dishes are placed on the table all the while avoiding blunders.
Customer satisfaction is the main priority. That's a mantra all business owners should practise, particularly those in the restaurant industry. Each establishment is different, and it’s not necessary to offer service with a white towel on the arm to satisfy guests. Nevertheless, the elements described above must be incorporated when the time comes for developing a service style.