Dining out is an experience for people to enjoy food while spending quality time with their family, friends, or colleagues. Full-service restaurants are certainly more attractive to diners, and table-service restaurants can’t possibly match that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create an everlasting impression on your customers for them to keep coming back for more.
The tips shared in this blog can help you seize multiple opportunities to offer outstanding customer experiences, even if you run a counter-service restaurant model. After all, small things make the most significant difference.
Let’s dive into why customer service at your quick service restaurant is crucial for the overall guest experience. Also, learn how you can improve your offerings without breaking the bank.
Why offering good restaurant customer service is crucial?
Though the COVID-19 pandemic impacted restaurant sales, a recent study shows that sales for quick service restaurants are almost close to pre-pandemic times. Same-store sales increased by 17% in Q2 of 2022 compared to Q1 of 2022.
It’s necessary to deliver an exceptional experience to make them keep coming back for more since people are venturing back to restaurants now.
It’s not called the service industry for nothing. Guests that regularly dine in at restaurants expect more than just good food — they want an exceptional customer service experience. The restaurant customer retention rate is about 30%, meaning almost 70% of diners don’t come back to the same restaurant the second time.
Besides, ServiceBell’s insights show that 89% of businesses claim that customer service is the top factor in their company’s retention rates. So it’s pretty clear that the customer service the guests receive decides whether or not they’ll come back or tell others about your restaurant.
𝟒 𝐓𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐓𝐨 𝐃𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐄𝐱𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐂𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐀𝐭 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐐𝐮𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐎𝐫 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭
The variety and quality of food at your restaurant will grab every diner’s attention, but your customer service will decide if they’ll come back or not. Follow the tips below to deliver superb customer service even when you don’t have table service.
𝟏. 𝐄𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐟𝐟 𝐈𝐬 𝐖𝐞𝐥𝐥-𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝 & 𝐀𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥
There’s no doubt that happier staff equals happier guests. Finding and keeping employees happy, especially when there’s a labor crunch, can be a challenge. The average turnover rate for the restaurant industry before the pandemic was 75% — a number that jumped to 85% in 2021.
A key factor is to make your employees feel confident, comfortable, and well-equipped from the beginning. To ensure this, offer a thorough onboarding and training process for all employees. Use resources such as a restaurant training manual template. It can help your employees to get familiar with everything they need to know to deliver services successfully.
Another critical factor to drive your staff’s happiness is to focus on your restaurant’s work culture and benefits. You may not be able to provide a retirement plan for your team as a small business owner. However, you’re responsible for creating a safe and positive work environment.
Most restaurant owners agree that staff retention in the restaurant industry is complicated. However, not retaining them is also expensive.
But remember, acknowledging your staff’s efforts can help you retain them and grow as a team. With a positive work culture, employees will feel motivated to come to work.
Therefore, your counter-service restaurant will be capable of delivering a much better guest experience when the server behind the counter is enjoying too!
𝟐. 𝐅𝐨𝐜𝐮𝐬 𝐎𝐧 𝐃𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞
A server may not have the same opportunity to chat with the guest at a table as a full-service restaurant. It doesn’t mean your QSR can’t offer a personalized service to customers.
One of the best and most creative ways to do this is to attach handwritten notes with bags or receipts. Imagine the smile they will put on the faces of the guests, leaving them delighted to share the experience with others.
Many counter-service cafes are already practicing this, and it has been helping them get more business. Their customers get so ecstatic that they click pictures of the notes and share them on their social media.
This user-generated content is great for restaurant marketing to repost to the official social media accounts and grab more people’s attention. Think of this like customer testimonials that help get more customers to order from your restaurant.
These small gestures can go a long way in building trusting customer-business relationships. Small, subtle personalizing experiences for your guests can help grow a loyal customer base for your restaurant.
𝟑. 𝐂𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐀 𝐂𝐨𝐳𝐲 & 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐀𝐭𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞
This one’s more indirect as there’s no one-on-one interaction between your restaurant and the customer. Most guests are likely to walk in, order food, and take it away to eat the food off premises. And then some folks may want to hang out and relax for a while.
Having comforting interiors and designs can make your guests feel more welcomed. They’ll stick around and even come back again in the future.
Ensure to choose furniture for your quick service restaurant that has utility and not just aesthetics. You don’t want chairs that look fun but are difficult to sit on. The last thing you want your guests to feel is uncomfortable while waiting for their order.
It doesn’t mean you can’t add fun elements to your decor. Think of putting neon signs, props, or customized artwork that resonates with your brand identity. You can create a photo-worthy spot with your brand name and logo in the background. You can’t overlook the importance of social media marketing for restaurants in this age where if people like something, they click and post it online.
𝟒. 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐈𝐧 𝐓𝐨𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐖𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐆𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐎𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞
Who says that delivering good customer service only exists within the four walls of your restaurant? Engaging with your customers on social media is a terrific way to build better and more trusting relationships.
Almost all restaurants use social media to promote their brands, get more orders, and expand services. So don’t focus on sharing just posts every day.
Reply to people’s comments, or thank those who reposted your content on their social media. Google reviews are indeed critical for your business to thrive. Don’t forget to respond to those who took the time to write about their experiences.
Don’t limit yourself to replying to only positive customer feedback, as this will make potential diners skeptical of your customer service. In fact, 94% of restaurant diners in America report that online reviews impact their dining decisions. So make sure you take customer complaints seriously and address them before they start affecting your business negatively.
The Final Thoughts
Restaurant owners usually have a lot on their plates, but implementing these tips and tricks can help create more happy customers. It can show them that you are willing to go the extra mile to offer exceptional customer service.
Having talked earlier, social media marketing for restaurants is crucial to building brand awareness and growing business. But it’s not so easy to manage your business and social media marketing simultaneously.
Don’t you have the best chefs to serve delicious food to your customers? Similarly, you need the best social media marketing app to create an impactful online presence. Hiring a restaurant marketing agency can be expensive, but not when you use a low-cost tool like Practina.
Automate your social media marketing with Practina, the world’s only software where you can set it and forget it. It can automatically create and publish posts relevant to your business to get more engagement and attention.
What’s more? Practina gallery allows you to upload your images, and it will turn them into beautiful social media posts automatically. Besides, Practina’s Smart Ads feature can help you create a Google, Facebook, or Instagram ad in under 5 minutes.
Explore more about Practina by downloading the app now to grow your restaurant’s social media marketing like never before.