We all know that local restaurant, deli or cafe that we like to visit. We have a tendency to go to places we like based on our overall experience. It always seems that in most areas there are many food service operations to choose from. Food service operators all seem to have a little food critic in them. If you do not, we believe you should pay attention to all details of the establishment you are visiting. Make mental notes of good or bad on things that are obvious to the first glance. Understanding what you have learned by experienced, you as an operator want the public to be choosing your place as one of their preferred dining experiences. We could talk about menu, quality of food or price point but this topic is about turning first time patrons into full time diners. How does this happen? Think about all of your dining experiences, are there any that fit one of these scenarios?
Great food but poor wait staff experience.
Good table service but excessive seating times.
Good table service but unprofessional staff appearance or habits.
It is understandable that good wait staff can earn great tips by providing quality table service. Often patrons may prefer one staff member over others working the same shift. There is a reason, they work harder, do the right thing & have a friendly professional & courteous attitude. They are there to serve the needs of others. they see customers as a valuable part of their income. If they fail at their duties, their customer base will shrink along with the tips. Their employer may suffer losses due to the example they are setting for new waitstaff. Your lead staff should be know about keeping customers happy, about getting them to return often & speak well about your restaurant to make a buzz around the community. We know of locations that have people flock to it because of quality word of mouth. With out a doubt wait staff that cares will take care of you & your business. Wait staff that is careless - could care less about the consequences of their habits. Managers are the responsible leaders that should focus the staff on the important goals. Managers should consider the following:
Proper training regarding courtesy, etequite.
Standards of dress & attire that meets the needs of the business.
Training in communication skills to remember names, clearly take orders, up sell specials, thank customers & ask them to come back soon.
Teach staff to keep personal issues at home & to avoid gossip, cell phone use, etc.
Don't forget to look for ways of helping staff get orders out quickly. It is difficult on even experienced staff if the kitchen is backed up in any area. It might be something simple if you have a non productive piece of equipment or a poorly organized wait stations. Give the staff the right tools to do their job. Make sure they take care of them too.
If you have a great wait staff you will know about it! If you have a bad wait staff you will know about it. If you change staff you need to keep an eye on things to assure they are learning the right procedures. Managers should also walk the floor & greet patrons & ask if all is OK. Even as a restaurant supply we experience the same advantage of having a friendly helpful staff. Some customers will drive past other dealers to get to us because they prefer the atmosphere & staff.
Atmosphere can be everything to a patron.
The idea is pretty simple:
Good staff - welcomes them in, keeps them happy & brings them back over & over for years to come.
Poor staff - is cold, unconcerned for others, & can quickly reduce customer base or run them off completely.
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