Restaurant Customer Service that Rocks!!

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Many restaurants lack customer service and therefore either lose customers or eventually close their doors forever. I am a restaurant consultant with many years of experience in the food service industry. I dine out frequently, looking for that perfect restaurant. Every once in a while, I come across a worthy restaurant. A worthy restaurant is one who gives excellent customer service & great food served fast.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great restaurants out there, although there are also restaurants that lack great customer service & great food served fast. I am going to give you some pointers on how to improve your restaurants customer service.

1. Train the entire restaurant on greeting your customers at the front door. Initially, a greeter would be responsible in greeting your customers immediately upon entering your restaurant. The greeter maybe seating a customer and other customers may need to be greeted, that’s where a manager or server will help out in the greater role. The very first impression is greeting. If you fail in immediate greeting you may lose that guest forever.
2. Server initial greeting at the customers table. Upon the customer being seated at their table the server should greet them within 2 minutes. If that particular server can’t greet them, then a manager, greeter, or another server should. The manager or greeter, or another server needs to take and deliver a drink within 4 minutes to that table. If that server is unable to serve that table because they are in the hole, then give that table to another server who can handle it.
3. The server 6 steps of service. See the next page. It is vital that every server should be trained in the server steps of service. The server should memorize the server steps and work the steps from the minute the customer arrives at the restaurant up until they depart the restaurant. The owner and manager’s responsibility need to be to monitor the staff to insure they are working the steps. All servers should study and take that service step test periodically. Use service steps test page and have the server fill in the blanks. Verbally test the servers on the information under each service step. Require them to know this information in order to serve your customers. It will be much easier to require new hires to learn this information. Believe me the server steps do work.
4. Great food served fast. All recipes need to be consistent with the ingredients. Create a recipe book or a recipe cheat sheet for your cooks. Go through your menu and eliminate the dead weight. Also, for faster speed of service eliminate complicated recipes. The point is to make the menu manageable. The cooks need to prepare items quickly so that ticket times don’t fall behind.
• Breakfast ticket times are: 8 minutes or less
• Lunch ticket times are: 12 to 10 minutes or less
• Dinner ticket times are: 15 minutes or less. The exception is steaks, thick cut chops, etc. Inform the guest it may take longer to prepare. The other exception is your restaurant may be a fine dinning restaurant and therefore will take longer to prepare because most items are prepared from scratch.
5. The last item to talk about will be managers, interaction in the dinning room with customers and the employees. I can’t stress enough that the manager needs to monitor the employees to ensure they are doing the right thing for the right reasons. The manager also needs to do table touches to ensure the customer service is above standard.

Quick Reference Chart
WOW Steps of Service
Step 1
Greet-Seat
• Greet the guests immediately when they enter the restaurant
• Have a sincere, friendly smile and welcome the guests. “Hi, welcome to [restaurant name]. How many in your party?”
• Seat the guests immediately when there is an open table
• Stay within arm’s length of the guest as you are seating them
• Senior citizens or guests with walkers and canes should be seated up front, if possible
• Tell the server the table number and how many guests

Step 2
Sell-Tell
• Server greets the table with a sincere smile within 2 minutes of seating
• Server introduces himself/herself with the server’s first name
• If you do not recognize the guest, ask them if they have been here before
• Describe the features and specials (use details, such as how it is described on the menu)
• Start with the drink orders and suggest a specific appetizer

Step 3
Ring-Bring
• Server immediately places the drink orders and appetizers in the POS system
• Drink Orders delivered within 4 minutes to the guests
• Server takes the guest order from left to right, and suggests add-on items – up-selling
• Be attentive to children and senior citizens – and be aware of allergens
• Within 2 minutes enter all guest orders into the order system
• For children, deliver the child’s entrée as soon as ready–before adult entrée, if possible
• Deliver entrées to the guests within 15 minutes and observe plate presentation
• Hot food hot and Cold food cold

Step 4
Check Back-Refill
• Check back after 2 bites to ensure everything is okay
• Automatic refills when glasses are half full
• Remove dirty dishes immediately
• Be attentive to guests

Step 5
Tell-Sell Desserts and Check down
• Show dessert tray or suggests desserts within 3 bites of guests finishing the entrées
• Suggest coffee or milk
• If no desserts are ordered, drop off the check’ with the check presenter standing up (When ready to pay, the guest will place the presenter flat on the table)
• If desserts are ordered, serve desserts within 7 minutes of the order
• Check back within 2 bites and drop off the check, with the check presenter standing up
• If server banking, remind the guest that you will take the payment when they are ready

Step 6
Receive-Reset
• Receive payments and process credit cards and close the check out immediately
• Thank the guest with a warm, sincere smile and invite them back
• Immediately after the guest leaves clean the table per standards
• Wipe chairs, booths, high chairs and booster seats and clean floors
• Fill any condiments, as needed, including napkins
• Reset the table before the next seating

Quick Reference Chart
WOW Steps of Service Test
Step 1

_____________
• Greet the guests immediately when they enter the restaurant
• Have a sincere, friendly smile and welcome the guests. “Hi, welcome to [restaurant name]. How many in your party?”
• Seat the guests immediately when there is an open table
• Stay within arm’s length of the guest as you are seating them
• Senior citizens or guests with walkers and canes should be seated up front, if possible
• Tell the server the table number and how many guests

Step 2

______________
• Server greets the table with a sincere smile within 2 minutes of seating
• Server introduces himself/herself with the server’s first name
• If you do not recognize the guest, ask them if they have been here before
• Describe the features and specials (use details, such as how it is described on the menu)
• Start with the drink orders and suggest a specific appetizer

Step 3

_______________
• Server immediately places the drink orders and appetizers in the POS system
• Drink Orders delivered within 4 minutes to the guests
• Server takes the guest order from left to right, and suggests add-on items – up-selling
• Be attentive to children and senior citizens – and be aware of allergens
• Within 2 minutes enter all guest orders into the order system
• For children, deliver the child’s entrée as soon as ready–before adult entrée, if possible
• Deliver entrées to the guests within 15 minutes and observe plate presentation
• Hot food hot and Cold food cold

Step 4

________________
• Check back after 2 bites to ensure everything is okay
• Automatic refills when glasses are half full
• Remove dirty dishes immediately
• Be attentive to guests

Step 5

________________
• Show dessert tray or suggests desserts within 3 bites of guests finishing the entrées
• Suggest coffee or milk
• If no desserts are ordered, drop off the check’ with the check presenter standing up (When ready to pay, the guest will place the presenter flat on the table)
• If desserts are ordered, serve desserts within 7 minutes of the order
• Check back within 2 bites and drop off the check, with the check presenter standing up
• If server banking, remind the guest that you will take the payment when they are ready

Step 6

_________________
• Receive payments and process credit cards and close the check out immediately
• Thank the guest with a warm, sincere smile and invite them back
• Immediately after the guest leaves clean the table per standards
• Wipe chairs, booths, high chairs and booster seats and clean floors
• Fill any condiments, as needed, including napkins
• Reset the table before the next seating

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