Adapted from an article by food journalist Mandy Lynn 

When guests have a good dining experience a chain of events happen – they are more likely to tip well so the server/staff are happy, they provide repeat business and then spread the word and tell their friends, and ultimately, the restaurant is successful.

Remember that service trumps quality. The likelihood of customers returning to a restaurant that serves ordinary food but offers exceptionally warm and friendly service is higher than that of a restaurant that serves great food by bad service staff.

So here are a few tips to help improve your customers dining experience:

  1. GREET YOUR CUSTOMERS BY NAME 

There’s something heartening about being greeted by name whether entering, leaving or when ordering at a restaurant. If customers have booked, of if they are regulars at your pub or club, taking the time and effort to greet them by name shows just how much a restaurant values its guests.  It makes them feel special.

  1. KNOWING THE MENU

Service staff who are well-versed in their menu offerings are better equipped to provide better service. Knowing the full scope of ingredients, how the dish is prepared and how it tastes provides servers with the knowledge to recommend something that’s best suited to the customer’s personal preferences.

  1. KNOWING THE WINES

Any restaurant environment from casual to fine dining can benefit from improved wine service. Customers that order wine, whether or not they are educated wine aficionados, usually appreciate professional wine service. It makes a statement, demonstrating to the guest that the servers know what they are doing, are knowledgeable about what they are serving, and knows how to care for the customer in the appropriate manner.  (NOTE: Don’t forget to check out our WINE SCHOOL WORKSHOP in February – it’s FREE for Drop Members >>)

  1. PROVIDE DIFFERENT SEATING SECTIONS FOR DINERS WITH CHILDREN

Let’s face it. If you’re taking a date out for a romantic dinner or just want to enjoy a conversation with friends over a meal, the last thing you want is to be seated near a table of screaming kids and overwrought parents. Experienced restaurants with good foresight should ensure that provisions are made for seating families with children in a special area away from those without.

  1. ALERTING CUSTOMERS TO CURRENT DISCOUNTS AND OFFERS

Who wouldn’t appreciate service staff who actively assists in helping them save money? Alerting a customer to the restaurant’s specials or promotional offers shows the customer that you care about them.

  1. BE GENEROUS WITH COMPLIMENTARY FOOD AND DRINKS

Show appreciation, especially to regular customers, by offering complimentary food and drinks. It could be a bowl of olives whilst patrons are considering their menu options, a complimentary side dish to accompany their meal choice, a free coffee top up or petite fours/chocolates at the end of their meal.  Offering complimentary small ticket items is a small price to pay to work your way into a customer’s heart, and they will remember you for it.

  1. THANK THEM FOR COMING

Service staff can make or break an experience, and that doesn’t end with the food service.  Even if we greet our guests, it’s rare for a restaurant to farewell diners and thank them for sharing their evening with them.  This is the time to genuinely asking for feedback.   Take all comments on board and share with the team. If it’s negative, show empathy and be professional when handling complaints.  Make sure feedback is shared with the team and address any issues.

  1. COLLECT THEIR CONTACT DETAILS

Make every effort to compile a data base of diners. Record email and mobile numbers through you booking set-up, and when settling the bill, ask if diners would like to be on your mailing list for offers and special events.