Restaurant Customer Service: A Recipe for Long-Term Growth

Management 19 minute read 20th May 2023

As you probably noticed, everything in our life is becoming digitized. With all the advancements in technology, the human touch is setting successful businesses apart. Restaurant customer service is no exception.

As you will read in this article, exceptional customer service is key to long-term restaurant growth and success. Therefore, here you will learn how to elevate your restaurant customer service with a few strategies and tips. Moreover, you’ll find a few examples to understand what makes excellent or poor customer service. By improving this area of your business procedures, you are (almost) set to succeed and thrive. Let’s start.

The Essence of Restaurant Customer Service

Before jumping into the strategies to improve customer service, let’s start with a clear definition. Restaurant customer service encompasses a wide range of interactions that define the overall satisfaction of your customers. Every interaction matters from the moment they enter your establishment until they leave. Along with the quality of the meals and other aspects, it defines the overall restaurant customer experience at your venue.

But what is restaurant customer service exactly?

At its core, this part of the restaurant operations includes certain standard activities:

  • Greeting and seating guests
  • Assisting with menu choices
  • Taking orders
  • Serving food and beverages
  • Fulfilling guest needs
  • Handling special requests or dietary restrictions
  • Addressing and resolving guest concerns
  • Maintaining a clean and organized venue
  • Processing payments

In reality, though, it is more than that. It is about creating a context where customers feel welcomed, valued, and cared for. Let’s see why it is the key to success.

Why Restaurant Customer Service Is the Key to Success in the Digital Age

The main reason restaurant customer service is the key to thriving in this industry is that technology is taking over most parts of our life. Internet is becoming a predominant part of our business interactions. Technology has provided us with convenient ways to order food and make reservations. Yet, it is the human element that creates memorable dining experiences.

Restaurant customer service goes beyond merely serving meals; it involves building connections, anticipating needs, and providing personalized attention. In other words, it keeps together the human side of the business with its customers.

Multiple studies show that customer service is one of the most important aspects of a great dining experience. Therefore, you cannot overlook it.

Let’s be clear here. You should take advantage of technology and automate your business procedures. However, by prioritizing customer service, you ensure the satisfaction of existing customers, and you will create loyalty toward your restaurant.

Moreover, excellent quality service pays in the long run. People who are satisfied share their experiences with their friends and family. They will also do it online by writing on local review sites. Therefore, high-quality customer service creates a powerful marketing force that propels your restaurant forward. While it is not easy and requires taking care of many details, if you master this part of your business, it will pay off.

Let’s now look at the key elements of providing excellent customer service in a restaurant.

How To Provide Excellent Customer Service in a Restaurant? The Key Elements To Look After


Delivering excellent restaurant customer service requires attention to detail, genuine care, and a serious commitment to exceeding expectations.

If you want to dive deeper, hundreds of books are out there. Otherwise, here are the most important elements to consider when you want to provide exceptional customer service in a restaurant:

  1. Warm and welcoming atmosphere: Your restaurant theme is crucial. Create an inviting atmosphere that greets customers with warmth and makes them feel comfortable. Pay attention to factors like lighting, decor, and music to set your unique tone.
  2. Polite and attentive staff: Train your staff to be proactive and responsive to customer needs. Provide guidelines on how to greet guests, offer recommendations, and service style. To have great service from your staff, ensure they are satisfied with working for you. Treat them properly and consider having a dedicated break room.
  3. Personalization: Treat each customer as an individual by addressing them by name when possible and taking note of their preferences. Anticipate their needs and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations. This is the best way to build loyalty toward your business.
  4. Efficiency: As mentioned before, technology should not be overlooked. Implement a restaurant POS to streamline your order-taking and delivery processes. This will help you minimize wait times and errors.
  5. Complaints management: Sometimes, things will go wrong. It is inevitable. Empower your staff to handle customer complaints and issues effectively. Provide them with the instructions and confidence to find solutions and resolve conflicts promptly.
  6. Attention to detail: Pay attention to the small details that can make a big difference in the overall customer experience. For example, offer amenities such as coat check or a complimentary guest wireless network.

A 3 Steps Process for Improving the Quality of Your Restaurant’s Customer Service

It should be clear now that restaurant customer service is more than smiling and serving meals efficiently. However, many restaurants struggle to deliver high-quality customer service. This happens for a few reasons. For example, procedures are unclear. Or else recruiting is not taken seriously.

Therefore, it is no surprise that sometimes restaurant customer service is poor. Great customer service is an ongoing process. It starts with recruiting and continues with little refinements over time. In the following section, you will see a three-step method to improve the quality of your customer service. Implementing all the suggestions might not be easy; however, it will be worth it. Let’s explore the process.

Step #1 To Improve Your Restaurant’s Customer Service: Hiring and Training the Right Staff


Improving your restaurant’s customer service start with hiring the right people. These are not necessarily people with decades of experience. You have to look for the personality traits of your potential employees.

Look for individuals with excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and a genuine passion for hospitality. Having experience in the field might be a plus but is not the most important aspect to consider, especially for most positions.

Once you’ve assembled your team, invest in comprehensive training programs. Ensure that your staff knows your establishment’s menu offerings, ingredients, and any unique features of your establishment. Remember that continual training is vital to ensure your staff stays updated with evolving customer service practices. Consider also introducing refresher sessions to reinforce basic skills and address any areas of improvement. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, you’ll create the foundation to deliver outstanding customer service consistently.

Step #2 To Improve Your Restaurant’s Customer Service: Establishing Clear Service Standards and Protocols

To improve your restaurant’s customer service, you must set clear standards and protocols starting from day one of work. A consistent and high-quality customer experience is the result of clear guidelines. Consider creating a comprehensive guide outlining each customer touchpoint’s procedures, from greeting to farewell. Specify protocols for order taking, table management, and handling special requests. Moreover, include guidance for dealing with difficult situations, like complaints.

Unfortunately, some guests will be disappointed and start to complain at some point. Ensure your staff knows how to deal with the situation; otherwise, it might worsen. For example, guests might write a bad review that can be hard to deal with. Instead, if you train your staff to handle such a situation, the complaint will end there.

These guidelines and protocols will be essential for your staff and will clarify any potential doubt or question. However, you should update them to reflect any changes that might occur with the evolving standards of your venue.

Step #3 To Improve Your Restaurant’s Customer Service: Listening to Feedback


Finally, to improve your restaurant’s customer service, you need to listen to feedback and adapt your practices to the industry’s evolving needs and trends. Actively seek customer input through various channels, such as online reviews or feedback forms.

Reviews are important to grow on local review sites and improve the actual customer experience. Read the review carefully and take note of common observations. Also, note what is never mentioned. That might mean that you are under-delivering. By taking the time to listen to your guest’s feedback, you will find a way to improve your customer service.

Furthermore, to improve the quality of your service, consider also the point of view of your staff. Foster a culture of feedback within your team. Encourage your staff to share their insights and observations from customer interactions. They face them continuously. Therefore, you might get valuable input from your team.

By applying the advice mentioned so far, you can be sure the customer service in your restaurant will improve.

Restaurant Customer Service: 2 Example To Learn From

At this point, it is clear what restaurant customer service is and how to make it unforgettable. Let’s now explore a few examples that will clarify the do’s and don’ts.

These examples cover the two extremes of customer service in a restaurant. The scenarios of great and terrible customer service are potentially infinite. However, these examples serve as a guide to take inspiration from and gain valuable insights for creating memorable experiences and avoiding pitfalls.

Examples of Good Customer Service in a Restaurant: Here Is What You Should Strive For


Let’s start with an example of good customer service in a restaurant. As guests enter the door, the waiter welcomes them warmly and escorts them to their table. The servers showcase solid menu knowledge and guide the guests through the offerings with compelling dish descriptions.

Throughout the meal, the staff shows their attentiveness by checking discreetly that everything is ok. The maitre stop by to ask if they are happy with their experience. Coordinating between the kitchen and the serving staff ensures a harmonious flow that creates a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.

What sets this restaurant apart is the personal touch delivered by the servers. Smiling and showing a positive attitude toward guests create an atmosphere of warmth and familiarity.

In this venue, exceptional restaurant customer service is not just a transaction but an ongoing process that builds loyalty and ensures the restaurant gets online reviews.

Examples of Bad Customer Service in Restaurants: Avoid This at All Costs

Now, let’s turn our attention to an example of bad customer service in a restaurant. Unfortunately, these situations are more frequent than one might expect. Therefore, take this example seriously, and if you notice any of these traits in your venue’s operation, intervene immediately.

Upon entering, guests receive a quick welcome from a distressed waiter. The waiter escorts them to their table and hands out the menu. After a while, the waiter returns to take the order without giving any advice or showing enthusiasm.

The staff appears inattentive throughout the meal, rarely checking on the guests. The maitre seems concerned about some disgruntled customers and neglects taking care of other guests. The general atmosphere is somehow tense, and guests can perceive it. When the evening ends, the customers pay the bill and leave. Probably forever.

In this scenario, poor restaurant customer service is a business feature. It will only lead to less business and a bad reputation.

Why You Need More Than Restaurant Customer Service To Succeed

As you read so far, the importance of exceptional customer service in managing a restaurant cannot be overstated. It is the key ingredient that allows establishments to stand out. By mastering this art, restaurants can create unforgettable dining experiences that leave a lasting impression on their guests.

Therefore, along with the quality of meals you provide, restaurant customer service is one of the most important elements of your restaurant. However, with the growing competition in this industry, you need more than that to succeed.

For example, you need your customer to discover you and review your venue online. You also need to keep up with the trends and satisfy the changing needs of your customers.

The best way to learn about your customers’ needs and automate your marketing initiative is through WiFi marketing software. With Beambox, you can effortlessly collect customer data, grow your rating on restaurant review sites and secure your guest WiFi network with a few clicks.

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