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Providing good customer service is an important part of your restaurant, and is necessary for creating a loyal customer base. What’s more, these repeat customers are likely to recommend your restaurant, which helps gain new customers.

Here are some key items to should include in your restaurant’s customer service guidelines.

Pay Attention To Your Customers’ Needs

Staying on top of what your customers want and being able to adapt when you fall short of their expectations will help you be more successful.

In the dining room, check in on diners by visiting their tables briefly to ask specific questions regarding their experience.

Encourage diners to leave reviews, and monitor review sites and social media closely. Respond to all comments promptly and treat a poor review as an opportunity to not only win back a disgruntled customer, but improve your business.

You can even conduct surveys to get feedback and offer incentives to encourage people to participate. Try creating a free survey on Google and post it on social media or embed it on your website, or hand one out with checks and delivery receipts.

Clean Up Your Act

Most diners  will not return to a dirty restaurant, nor will they visit one that receives poor reviews on cleanliness.

Keep your customers happy with well-groomed staff members, making your restrooms sparkle, thoroughly clearing and cleaning tables before seating new patrons, and making sure cutlery, are clean.

Don’t forget that cleanliness applies to take-out and delivery orders as well. Use appropriately-sized, sturdy containers with strong seals to avoid messes, and always package sauces separately.

Provide Prompt Service

Whether customers are dining in your establishment, picking up take-out, or ordering online for delivery, speed matters.

Make sure you start each shift with a clean, well-stocked kitchen with as much prep work done as possible. Have wait staff prep their stations ahead of time, greet new tables and take their drink orders within or two, and invest in integrated POS technology that streamlines the ordering process and makes it easier on your kitchen to fulfill orders.

A modern POS system tied into online ordering can cut online ordering time in half as well.

Handle Mistakes With Care

Despite your best efforts, there will be times when things go wrong, or mistakes will be made. It’s important to stay calm and handle the situation as professionally and promptly as possible.

Do your best to correct the error and make up for the mistake in a way that shows your customer that you are willing to do what’s necessary to make them happy.

Serve Food At The Right Temperature

A major pet peeve of dine-in, take-out, and delivery customers is food served at the incorrect temperature.

Try heated plates to maintain food temperature, and don’t plate food that cools off quickly until the rest of the ticket is complete.

For take-out and delivery orders, package hot and cold items separately to maintain temperature and freshness, and have drivers use insulated delivery bags. You may also need to remove certain items that won’t hold up well from your delivery menu.

Improve Order Accuracy

To keep customers happy, get their order right. Have wait staff learn the menu thoroughly and confirm orders before they leave the table.

Modern POS technology can cut down on mistakes in translating orders to the kitchen. POS systems integrated with online ordering reduce human errors associated with phone orders for delivery or take-out. They also allow online customers to select and customize their orders to their exact specifications through pull-down menus and pre-determined options.

Institute Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to show your customers that you value their patronage.

There are many different kinds of programs to choose from—ranging from competitions, to sweepstakes, games, even the ability to integrate with social media and some POS systems.

Just be sure to make your loyalty program relevant and appropriate to customers’ individual habits and preferences, and above all, make redeeming awards easy.

Don’t Forget Digital Customer Service

In today’s on-demand society—where online ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than traditional dining—customer touchpoints extend far beyond just the restaurant dining room.

It’s very important for restaurateurs to put as much emphasis on improving digital, mobile, and delivery conveniences as on-site customer service.

Have A Great Attitude

A large part of customer service comes down to human interaction between your staff and your customers.

It is always beneficial to refresh your staff on the basics of customer service: be knowledgeable and efficient, smile and be pleasant, pay attention to what the customer is asking for, go the extra mile, and always be respectful—even if the customer is not.

Instituting these customer guidelines in your restaurant will make your customers feel valued and respected, while helping you improve your own efficiency.

See if your restaurant is guilty of 4 Customer Pet Peeves.

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