Service really begins the moment your customer approaches your restaurant. Before you even begin training your staff to serve and sell, be sure you look at your place through your customer’s eyes…
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Your customer is coming in for more than just the food….
“I knew absolutely nothing about the business that I got into… so again I mentioned the business of a thousand details and one by one call it the school of hard knocks you know back in the early days it felt as though I was falling from a tree and hitting every branch on the way down. I made a lot of mistakes, I lost a lot of money before I created the systems that then turn things around and moved my business forward. And ultimately I was able to dominate my competition for about 18 of those 20 years that I was in the business ”
Your restaurant’s patrons appreciate inside knowledge, personal recommendations, and glowing descriptions. By training your service team to creatively use ‘Theatre of the mind’, you’ll soon be watching your customers smile, the cash register ring and online reviews bring in new and repeat business. Now, that’s a true competitive advantage.
There are so many reasons people run restaurants. Many of us first got into the business because of passion. Maybe you started working in restaurants and really oved the personal side, camaraderie with staff and customers alike. Perhpas you are drawn to the high-energy. Possibly, you were a chef with a loyal following of raving fans, or you just saw an opportunity and took the plunge. But that was years ago. Are you still passionate and committed to run a top-notch operation?
Every day before your doors open for business, gather your team for a motivational huddle and go beyond the typical tasting of the night’s specials. Discuss exceeding guest expectations and a strategy for the service to come. One of my most effective exercises was actually based on a popular game that everyone has played – BINGO! Much like the real thing my version of the game is easy to execute in your restaurant. Here’s the idea…
I work with many restaurants and collaborate with other professionals across the hospitality industry. One thing I continually see and hear about are the sheer numbers of operators not taking regular inventory or closely analyzing food, beverage and labor costs. It doesn’t seem to matter if the restaurant is just starting out or has been around for years, the trend is evident. This is crazy! It’s like feeding hundred dollar bills into your shredder several times per week.
Labor will always be any businesses’ biggest challenge, but you can turn the tables so to speak with a simple system or plan B, that becomes your restaurant’s strongest competitive advantage.
Our recent travel experiences differed greatly at a variety of businesses. Whether they were resort hotels, a hip modern motel, high end restaurants, Chinese take-out, the local bagel shop and a bowling alley; the lessons learned are the same. Regardless of the price of your menu or service provided, hospitality is either present or noticeable absent.
Whether you’re new to this business or a seasoned operator please read on. When you start a business of any significance, you pour your heart, your passion, your dreams and your hard-fought sweat into your venture everyday because your present, your future, your kids futures, literally everything is on the line. So this is why I am surprised with the all too common belief that “If you build it…”.
Arguably, restaurants are one of the most challenging of all businesses and require a “hands-on” approach. No-one can deny the high failure rate, and marginal operations quickly become new statistics.
When I receive exemplary service in a restaurant, it’s not only unexpected, but absolutely astounding… Recent service went above and beyond any expectation I had for dinner this particular evening.
Given that the restaurant business is a performance, your guest experience is ultimately determined by how you as owner or manager set the stage. Discuss these 8 great things with your staff today…
When I ran restaurants, I approached service from the customers point of view. That is at least twice a week, I was a customer in my own restaurant. Doing so gives you a really good understanding of what I call the “3 Most Important Attributes of any Successful Restaurant… Food, Service & Ambiance”.
I’ve always believed that dining out in any restaurant should be an “event” and this is certainly what I look for when I dine out in anyplace USA or really anywhere in the world. A restaurant should provide endless reasons to dazzle the customer, invite them back and create “affinity” with each customer.
As restaurateurs, you dine out frequently and when you do I assume you have a critical eye on other’s operations. If you’re anything like me, you analyze the curb appeal, overall ambiance and above all else, that restaurant’s service and food and beverage quality.
These are some of my biggest pet peeves...
I visit restaurants across the USA and around the globe, 9 times out of 10, the servers I get are making serious mistakes…mistakes that cost restaurants money and customers!
I have always believed that great service is about taking the guests on a magical journey of everything the restaurant is about. Because let’s face it, guests are often first time visitors to restaurants and they don’t know what they’re going to enjoy or what’s exiting about the restaurant.
It’s really up to the entire service team – not just the wait staff, but also the host, the busser and the bartender. Every part of the service experience should be delivered by a choreographed team.
I spent 20 years starting and operating restaurants. When I first began, I had virtually no experience, so I needed to give myself every advantage. The biggest advantage (I called it my "Secret Weapon") was systems. I knew instinctively that creating systems would make all the difference between succeeding or becoming another statistic.
From the get-go, I decided to work on my business now so I could decide how I would work in my business later. This took some serious work up-front in creating the systems, but this ultimately led to freedom. Now, I could manage from afar (so many operators are so close to their restaurants, they’re missing a fresh perspective) and look at the big picture from 30,000 feet. These systems exploded sales, built my “Dream Team” staff, and created a dominant powerful brand that crushed my competition. They also allowed me to pay great people to run my business as “their own business,” taking “ownership” of the results. You have a system when you can leave your business for a week, a month, or a year, and it will be just as successful—or more so—when you return. I can show you how...
We ordered drinks and they were expertly prepared, poured into appealing glassware and properly garnished. After enjoying our first drink and their gracious service, we decided to stay for dinner and move to the dining room to join two additional friends. That’s where the experience dramatically shifted and fell short.