Be polite: Howard Cannon, Restaurant Expert Witness, Restaurant Consultant, and CEO explains, “This one should be a no-brainer, but it doesn’t seem to be. The basic rules of etiquette and the magic words such as 'Please,” “Thank you,” “Excuse me,” “Pardon me,” “Bless you,” and “May I help you?” have gotten lost in much of society. But if you want to have a successful restaurant, you should make sure your staff follows these rules and uses these magic words, not only to guests but to each other. Believe it or not, your guests will sense the morale of your staff.”
Manage eye contact: Eye contact is more than looking at someone; it is eye management. “Eye contact is a sign of confidence, interest, and even people orientation. Teach employees to never roll their eyes on the job. This action shows frustration and/or indifference. And don’t stare at the customer. It could be considered disrespectful. Last, but not least, don’t look past the customer, because that can show lack of interest”.
Greet: Corporate America has made the greeting so generic that many times it is no longer personal, sincere, or of interest to the guest. “The key to a greeting is to acknowledge the guest’s presence and show a sincere and hearty welcome.”
Listen: Consumers rarely think that employees listen. Cannon advises, “Work with your employees to get them to be able to take mental notes of what the customer wants. Many restaurants are emphasizing such listening skills by having the wait staff memorize orders instead of writing them down. This lets the customer know your team is indeed listening to them.”
Thank: Thanking the guest is much like the greeting. “The message of ‘thanks’ can’t be insincere, impersonal, or canned. Ask the customer if everything was to his or her liking and thank the customer for his or her patronage.”
Bid farewell: Bidding farewell is the last point of personal contact with the customer and is critical to the customer’s view of the overall dining experience. Cannon says, “You can say “Have a great day,” “See you next time,” or “Drive carefully” but be sure to say something. Bidding farewell is simple and says a lot about the true feelings of your staff. You already have the customer’s money, your work is virtually done, and now it’s time to say good-bye. This is also the last time that you can ‘wow’ them, so open the door for them and ask them about their meal. Small steps like these will help you seal the deal for the next visit.”
Howard Cannon is a highly-recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© - found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at RestaurantConsultantsOfAmerica.com or RestaurantExpertWitness.com.