The 5 Crucial Phases of Satisfying Your Diners

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Lots of restaurant owners ask themselves: “How can I make sure my customers are happy?” Providing good food at a good price isn’t an easy task. Customers spend quite a lot of time at your place fulfilling one of life’s most essential necessities, but due to the competitiveness in this F&B industry, diners expect a lot more than just bare necessities.Truly successful restaurants are often so highly praised because of their all-round service, meaning that starting with the minute a guest walks in, throughout the entire visit, and even after the guest walks out the door, he’s well taken care of. So what do customers feel is crucial for a great dining experience?

1- Walking in

Yes, all customers expect your staff members to welcome them with a warm smile and help them to the best seats in the house. Even customers who are subjected to long waits before being able to enter your popular restaurant still expect to be noted and greeted at once. There are many different ways to greet your customers, but the most important thing is timeliness. If your staff is forgetting to be friendly, you might receive a negative review for the public to read just a few minutes later, which is exactly why everyone has to pay close attention to the guests.

2- Ordering

You might think this is the easiest part of the dining process. All the employees have to do is write down a few meals and let the chefs know about the order. But no, it’s not that simple. No one likes to feel like they’re speaking with a machine, especially when they’re out at a nice restaurant. A first-time customer might feel somewhat like an alien since they’ve never seen your menu before and don’t really know what they can expect from their order. They need help. This is a great chance for your employees to shine! Suggest a few meals or look through the menu together with your guests – it doesn’t really matter how you do it, but make sure they’re not reluctant to order.

Writing down everyone’s order correctly is your staff’s job, and it no doubt requires some listening skills. Those are imperative, as there’s nothing worse than waiting for your food and drinks and having the wrong things delivered to your table. These are exactly the type of simple fixes that can create arguments no restaurant owner wants to have. Lots of people are picky eaters; they have their reasons and that must be respected. Not everybody likes their dishes a la carte or is willing to order something on your menu just because it’s the only choice. People want individuality; they might request certain spices or want their meat prepared differently than you’re used to. Skip the comments or complaints, regardless of how much extra effort you’ll now have to put into their order. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it. That will give you more brownie points.

3- Enjoying

This phase is mostly your customers’ time. However, they do expect you to be around when they have a request, need help picking out a dessert, or just want to report a complaint or hand out a compliment. Don’t think that you’re done with phase 2 in phase 3. Although customers want to enjoy their meal without being disturbed, they still want to feel like you’re there for them. Many of you will ask your customers for feedback during their meal while their experience is still fresh. However, be careful doing so. You can’t ever be sure if this is a good or bad move since it might come between them and their enjoyment. Nobody wants to be asked how the food tastes when they have a mouth full of steak or are holding their date’s hands. That being said, many are likely to give you a quick, “Everything’s great!” if you ask at just the right moment. It also shows them that you care about their opinion and experience. On the other hand, dissatisfied customers would like to be asked right away to give you the chance to turn it around. In order to find the right timing in a situation like this, you’ll have to be sensibilized and not just attentive.

4- Check & paying

This should be simple enough, right? The bulk of your job is already out of the way. However, making customers wait for the bill can be just as bad as making them wait for a table, a menu, or their food. Obviously nobody likes waiting on anything unless they want to kill some time or like you enough that they don’t mind the wait. Nevertheless, a wait can be inevitable in a gastronomic setting and is sometimes necessary to be able to tend to other, more important things first. The question is: How to make your customer’s wait as least unpleasant as possible? Many restaurants will assign different tasks to different staff members. While one is getting the bill ready, the other might already come to clear the table or come to ask you about how the meal was, which will make them forget the time and give you a chance to collect that valuable information. This type of active communication will improve the customer-business relationship and strengthen important bonds. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. You’ll need to run a tight ship, be highly attentive, and keep it cool to make it happen.

5- After sales

Yes, your job is done for the day, but not for the future. This phase is imperative to retaining customers. They must be thanked, approached softly, and remembered of you even after they’ve left your restaurant. You could attach a small thank you note & feedback card to their bill, asking them for their comments and suggestions. This enables customers to submit feedback in the comfort of their own home. You might even want to reward them with a coupon for their effort! There are a lot of ways to show appreciation for customers and to keep them coming back. All you really need to do is give them the inspiration and thank them for their business. It’s as simple as that.

To sum everything up: If you were to master all of these 5 phases well, you could be confident in your chances of keeping loyal customers based on the all-round experience. One great aspect on its own is just not enough.

Author: Trang Le 

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The 5 Crucial Phases of Satisfying Your Diners


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