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Waitress delivering restaurant customer service

Ask a restaurateur the inspiration for opening a restaurant and you’ll probably get answers related to a lifelong love of food, cooking with grandma, or a love of local ingredients. You probably won’t hear a lot of mentions of restaurant customer service – with restaurant reputation management being so hard to control and all.

The reality is that restaurant customer service can be as much of a part of daily operations as cooking and mixing drinks. How do you get your staff on board to deliver the type of customer service you demand? You train them on it.

Here are 3 restaurant customer service training tips to integrate into your operations.

1- Make customer service a part of an organized restaurant training system.

Every restaurant needs an organized system in place to train all new hires. This helps assure that each new server is trained exactly the same way, and your expectations are clearly defined for all new employees. As part of your system, include the type of customer service you expect to be delivered. Demonstrate how you want customers greeted and spoken to. Give examples of how you expect questions to be answered and establish a clear protocol for how problems are to be handled.

Restaurant staff taking order customer service

2- Encourage lots of questions.

Training sessions are unique in that it’s one of the only times that you will have one-on-one time with an employee, so take advantage of this time. Encourage new hires to ask a lot of questions, and always answer them clearly and respectfully. Customer service expectations can vary widely from restaurant to restaurant, so take the time to make it clear how you expect it done in your restaurant. Don’t forget to ask them questions also. Take the time throughout training to ask them how they would answer a different question from a customer.

3- Be each other’s shadows.

Each new hire should start out by having a chance to shadow one of your top servers. They should learn the proper way you expect them to interact with your guests and they are able to pay attention to the types of questions being asked and see them answered. Likewise, before you set them free to fly solo, turn the tables and shadow your new hire for a couple of shifts. Be sure they are feeling confident, are fully prepared and are ready to deliver the type of service you demand before setting them free.

Quality restaurant customer service can make the difference between being a good meal out or a memorable meal out, and likewise a 5-star online review, or no review at all. Be sure everyone on your staff knows the type of service you expect, and train them to deliver that every time.

Written by
Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.