The Essentials of Restaurant Customer Service

Two happy customers drinking coffee
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It doesn't matter how fabulous your restaurant looks or how delicious the food is, if the service isn't good, customers are not likely to return. But as a restaurant owner, you can't be everywhere at once. Smart restauranteurs don't have to be.

Make sure you have a reliable staff to handle any issues that arise, whether you're there or not. Put a procedure in place for handling customer complaints. Demonstrate good customer service through discounts, promotions, and other low-cost initiatives.

Finally, be a responsible restaurant owner. This means knowing how to deal with customers who've had too much to drink in a positive, empathetic manner. 

Empower Your Staff

A well-trained front-of-house staff will keep customers happy and coming back for more. Waiting on tables or tending bar are real skills. The best are friendly but not annoying. They can multi-task but still appear to give each customer their undivided attention. They are honest and trustworthy. And they can work as part of a team.

Know How to Handle Customer Complaints

Something is bound to go wrong once in a while. Food gets burned, an order gets forgotten in the middle of a dinner rush, or a new server makes a mistake. The important thing is to try and correct the situation in order to please the customer. Whether it's a replacement meal, a free dessert or a voucher, be ready with a response that will undo the damage. 

Show Your Appreciation

Actions speak louder than words, and that is certainly true of customer appreciation. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Personal attention by the owner or manager can make customers feel special.

Act Responsibly 

Responsibly serving liquor is a good way to show customers you value them. If you are planning on serving liquor at your restaurant, be familiar with your state liquor laws.

It is also important that your wait staff understand how to identify a person who is intoxicated, so they don’t continue to serve them. Occasionally you may have to deal with a patron who’s more than a little tipsy. Be prepared to deal with the situation diplomatically. And make sure that person has a ride home.