3 Restaurant Service Mistakes to Avoid

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When running a restaurant, the way you carry out your services plays a significant role in how your customers feel about your business. While the quality of your food is sure to influence customer perception, even cuisine of exceptional quality can’t withstand the adverse impacts of poor service practices.

Restaurant service is a skill that can be built on over time. With the right employees and staff, you can create an environment that is welcoming, accommodating, and efficient for your customers. With several competitors in the market, restaurant customer satisfaction is more important than ever in helping your business grow.

Here are some restaurant service mistakes you must avoid in order to help your business flourish. 

1. Poor Customer Service

There is a big reason behind why this poor customer service tops our list. Poor customer service will cause even the most interested customer to leave with a bad perception of your restaurant. Failure to serve on time, mistakes in taking the order, or an inability to guide customers on what the menu contains are all reasons for customers to reconsider returning to your restaurant again.

Even if you are dealing with customers online or on your app, you should be willing to listen to their concerns and ensure that they are able to voice their complaints. Everyone makes mistakes. However, if you do not have an effective strategy for accepting your mistakes and accommodating the customers who have been affected—they will be left resentful and upset.

Some polite customer service practices include offering to refill customer’s glasses, waving hello and goodbye when customers enter and leave, and greeting everyone with a smile. If you have senior citizens dining in, walking them to their cars is another way to go above and beyond—and to build rapport with your customers. 

Common customer service mistakes:

When a waiter interacts with guests, they should be able to leave them with a pleasant experience and a sense of comfort. Some mistakes that a server may make when dealing with guests are:

Not knowing what the popular items on the menu are:

guests are often conflicted about what to order and look to the server to help guide them. They need recommendations on popular items and how different items on the menu are received by other customers.

Another mistake is when servers do not know what each dish is. For example, if a server gives a false reassurance to a guest about the ingredients used in a particular food—it can lead to serious repercussions.
All your servers should know exactly what kind of items you serve—and what their ingredients are.

Taking too long to bring the orders:

even on a busy day, your restaurant should be able to handle multiple orders without making guests wait for an exceptionally long time. Failure to serve on time, and then a lack of apology is a recipe for disaster.

Inability to guide customers with the online platform:

now that most customers prefer ordering from an app or website—your employees should know exactly how to guide them. They should also know how to interpret the system when an order comes in—as online ordering can become much more hectic and confusing than regular orders.

If an employee doesn’t understand how the system works, it can lead to a serious backlog and could result in incorrect orders being sent out.

Not being available for guests to call:

several restaurants do not discuss with their servers how to deal with guests on the floor. Many servers stand too far off in the corner, where a guest cannot call out to them or they are too far away to see someone needing assistance.

Other times, servers stand too close to a guest’s table—making them uncomfortable and unable to enjoy their meal. Your servers should be close enough to approach a guest if they ask for something and not leave them waiting for someone to notice.

Not having a host who greets the customers:

many restaurants have hosts who are responsible for the task of welcoming guests, asking them how many people are dining, and finding them a place to sit. A warm welcome can make a major difference in how guests feel.

A host who can find them a place based on whether they want a smoking/non-smoking area and where they are comfortable is essential to good customer service.

2. Not Appreciating Regular Customers

Almost every restaurant, be it fast food or fine dining has a strategy for making their loyal customers feel appreciated. You can have certain additions in your app—such as allowing delivery anywhere for customers who frequently use your services.

Or you can offer deals and discounts as well as regularly sending those customers updates on new additions to the menu or deals that they might want to avail.

A loyalty program is essential in the modern restaurant industry. Without one, you won’t be able to retain customers in the long run—an advantage that your competitors will have over you.

3. Clumsy Staff

While it’s true that your staff is probably dealing with multiple orders and managing several tasks at once, a guest is at your restaurant to have a pleasant time. They do not appreciate being interrupted by a waiter who takes their glass away from the table to refill or holds the glass from the rim.
They also appreciate servers who represent the clean, hygienic environment that your restaurant stands for.

Ensure that all your staff is properly trained with regards to how to handle plates and glasses. Make sure that they all wear presentable uniforms and are on their best behaviour when interacting with guests.

Final Words

Restaurant management is a challenging task and requires immense responsibility. Consider getting in touch with a restaurant consultant to help you with figuring out how to hire reliable and well-trained staff.
Remember, your restaurant’s image is created via multiple factors—and restaurant service is one of the most important ones—right alongside the quality of your food. 

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About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.