Winter Holiday Restaurant

The holidays are fast approaching.

Few times are more important for restaurant owners and managers. The holidays can not only make your financial year a huge success, but it’s also a prime opportunity to gain new customers who will return year-round.

'We all know the customer isn’t always right. But they remain the customer.' -Nancy FriedmanClick To Tweet

However, if your employees fail at customer service and are not helpful, knowledgeable, or unpleasant, you not only lose customers and lose future sales, but you also risk the chance of getting slammed on social media.

So what can owners and managers do to encourage excellent customer service during the beyond the holiday season? Here are five tips that will help up your game and provide customer service that will generate holiday sales and repeat customers in the new year.

Holiday restaurant

Train

Start some sort of training now, before your holiday diners arrive. If you have some customer service training in place, review with your employees and those seasonal workers you are hiring for the holidays. If you don’t have a customer service plan in place, hire an experienced expert to spend a day training your staff. And if you have no time to train, remind your employees that “thank you for dining with us”; or “we appreciate your business” or “Have a wonderful holiday” go a long way, costs nothing and leaves a positive lasting impression.

Review

Meet with your staff at the end of each day. Discuss went wrong and what went right? Make sure any customer service concerns are addressed immediately and solutions are made so customers walk away satisfied.

Loyal regulars spend 67% more at restaurants than new guests do. With effective guest communication, you can make every guest a loyal regular.

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Suit Up

Prepare your employees with a “mental” suit of armor. Make sure they’re aware all customers won’t be so nice and some will be difficult. Your employees will be on the front lines of occasional customer abuse. Warn them in advance, and make sure that when those incidents happen that your employees will still treat the customer with politeness and respect. We all know the customer isn’t always right. But they remain the customer.

Focus

Your employees need to care. While knowledge of a product is important, it’s just as vital that your employees show they care, and want to help the customer with a purchase. A friend of mine walked into a restaurant only to find the hostess busy texting. She was more concerned with her phone than properly greeting the diner. Not good! Greet each customer as if they were bringing a million dollars of business to your restaurant.

Smile

The most important customer service win: smile! Don’t let your employees greet diners without a smile. A smile leaves a positive, friendly first impression.

Champagne holiday celebrate restaurant staff
So as the holidays quickly approach, in addition to hiring seasonal workers and planning for big sales, also remember that if you don’t provide excellent customer service and leave a pleasant experience with your customers, you’ll lose an opportunity to gain and retain valued customers forever.

Written by

Nancy Friedman (www.nancyfriedman.com) is one of the country’s top customer service experts and the President of The Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Inc. in St. Louis, MO. Friedman helps businesses improve their consumer relations by training them to communicate better with their customers and co-workers.