As restaurateurs, you know that there is more to a thriving food establishment than just having tasty, delicious dishes. People go out to have a good time and enjoy themselves. If they don’t achieve this happiness because of the type of service offered, then those customers wouldn’t convert into regulars. The front of the house is an integral part of the whole experience. Sadly, it’s also often neglected because too much focus is put on the menu offerings.
In addition, because we live in the age of social media, one bad review on food service can quickly go viral and have detrimental effects on the sustainability of a restaurant. That has happened a lot of times in hospitality industry, and it can very well be the story of your business if you don’t take any action.
So, here are five areas you can focus on in ensuring that your food service is top-notch.
Gather your staff in a meeting to talk about what an excellent service looks like. Get the perspective of people who are involved in service every day, like the waitstaff. Ask them what qualities that those in charge of the dining hall should have. Collect and take note of their insights and create guidelines or a manual that they can refer to and be used by new hires.
Doing these huddles is not only great for information-gathering, but it lets the crew feel like they are important voices in the business too. It shows them that you, as the owner, value them and their input. When people feel valued, they become happier – and this happiness can extend to the way they do their work.
It’s your responsibility as the establishment owner to provide the necessary training to the workers. You can have your chefs alongside you as you teach them about every item in the menu – what ingredients they contain, the cooking techniques used, and if they have any typical allergens. Waiters and waitresses must be prepared for any questions that a customer may ask, so cover as much ground as you can in terms of the menu.
Additionally, go beyond what the law requires as standard training. Teach proper etiquette, good manners and have practice with them before the start of service. You can also provide techniques on how to communicate better and anticipate the needs of the diner, so they can easily take action – for instance, bringing extra napkins or refilling water before customers even ask for it.
Your restaurant can have a good lasting impression on your patrons through the way your waitstaff interacts with them. So, tell those handling the main dining area to be always friendly, ready to offer a smile and a warm greeting to anyone they pass by. But be cautious that you’re not too invasive or chummy that the diners become uncomfortable.
Before the customers give their orders, go the extra mile and ask first if any of them have allergies, so you can help them make better choices. Be honest and sincere when answering their questions, such as what’s still available in the menu, how long they can expect their meals to arrive, etc.
All sections of the restaurant must be functioning well to provide good food service. When all parts work together hand-in-hand, you can be confident that operations will run smoothly like a well-oiled machine.
Ensure that the communication lines between the kitchen staff and waitstaff are open and reliable. Encourage being clear and straightforward, mainly where orders are concerned, so that the right ones arrive at the correct table. It also builds camaraderie and unites your crew towards one goal, which is to give the customers a great time.
There are programs available that can make food service run better and more efficiently, so utilise these as much as you can. There are different types of software you can use to take reservations and punch in orders, which can then be directly passed on to the kitchen. You can also look for an app that can show accurate wait times and let customers leave their feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Technology can help speed things up so that more people can dine in your restaurant. It helps lift the pressure off your shoulders too, so make sure that any tech you have is updated and functioning correctly.
To have a successful restaurant where you can attract and retain loyal customers, it’s important to put your focus on the food service. In the end, it should be on par with the quality of food that your restaurant offers in order to retain your customers.