in ,

Great customer service and its role in successful restaurants

In the restaurant industry, customer service is integral. The way customers are treated and their overall experience can make or break a business, as happy customers often come back and recommend restaurants to family and friends.

When it comes to the success of a restaurant, however, customer service may be overlooked in the face of more tangible factors such as menu options and ambiance – but delivering customer excellence is just as important, if not more so. Poor customer service can lead to negative reviews and a drop in customers, while customer service quality creates loyal regulars and valuable word-of-mouth marketing.

Creating positive experiences for customers starts with understanding their needs and providing them with exceptional service. This means demonstrating hospitality, courtesy and respect, as well as being attentive to customers and being proactive in helping them with their questions and requests to establish that all-important positive customer relationship.

The importance of communication in the hospitality industry cannot be overstated. Excellent communication skills are essential for restaurant customer service and management. Good communication involves active listening, understanding customer needs, and responding in a polite, efficient manner. Paying attention to the small details can contribute to a positive customer experience. This includes proper table settings, serving food promptly, and using appropriate language when conversing with customers.

Providing excellent customer service in the hospitality industry can be challenging, especially during busy periods, and there are three challenges that restaurant professionals need to navigate efficiently to deliver exceptional customer service:


1.     Dealing with difficult customers and managing complaints

Customers can be a challenge, especially when they are not happy. Restaurant customer service professionals need to remain calm and professional when handling complaints and feedback while also working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. This will involve listening to customers, understanding the issues, and taking the necessary steps to resolve it. While customer satisfaction is important, restaurant managers need to ensure that they are also achieving business objectives. This may involve finding the right balance between providing great service and running a profitable business. However, reputation management is ultimately key here, as negative customer experiences can easily be shared online.


2.      Enhancing restaurant customer service with technology

Technology in hospitality is fast evolving and may involve investing in software that can track orders, manage reservations or even provide feedback to customers. By taking advantage of technology, restaurant managers can ensure operations are smooth and efficient. Some of the benefits of investing in technology solutions include automation of processes – technology can automate functions such as order taking or reservation management, freeing up staff to focus on more important tasks; increased efficiency – by streamlining processes with technology, restaurants can become more efficient and reduce costs, and improved customer satisfaction – technology can help provide customers with a better experience, from faster order processing to creating more personalised experiences.


3.     Using data and analytics to further boost engagement

Restaurant customer service teams can take advantage of data and analytics to make informed decisions and boost customer engagement in hospitality through better branding and marketing. Data analysis can help restaurants identify customer preferences and ensure that they are meeting customers’ needs. This information can be used to create targeted promotions, adjust menus or even improve the overall guest experience. For example, restaurants can use customer data to identify the most popular dishes or drinks and then promote them accordingly. They could also use customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and make relevant change.

As good as a restaurant may be at delivering excellent customer service, though, there will always be times when customers are dissatisfied. Restaurant managers need to hone their skills in dealing with customer complaints, as this could make or break a restaurant’s reputation. So what, practically, can restaurateurs do?


Techniques for resolving issues

When resolving customer complaints, restaurant managers should strive to make their dining experience as positive as possible, and could do so by:


  • Apologising and acknowledging the issue: it is important to apologise for any mistakes or dissatisfaction that may have been caused by your business. Showing understanding and owning up to mistakes can help to diffuse the situation.
  • Providing a solution: this could be a discount for a meal that was not satisfactory, or offering to re-cook a dish that was incorrectly prepared. Showing customers that you are willing to put in the effort to make things right is a great way of building trust and ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Offering a ‘freebie’: one type of service recovery could consist of offering a free drink or dessert, or a complimentary appetiser.


By using these techniques, restaurant managers can turn negative feedback into positive experiences. This can help to build a loyal customer base, leading to more repeat business.

Demonstrating excellent customer service at restaurants, in turn, sets them apart from the competition, creating a lasting impression on customers that can lead to increased revenue and long-term loyalty.

Xavier Gonet is F&B Manager at Les Roches.


Written by

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses hungry to switch to an EV future despite regulatory ‘potholes’

Buxton Crescent Partners with Asmodee to Toast the New Series of Bridgerton with Lavish Regency Afternoon Tea and High Society Games