Ensuring your guests have a great experience when they visit your restaurant is one of the most important factors in creating a fantastic business with loads of repeat custom. Even one bad review can change the opinion of your restaurant and prevent customers from choosing your establishment over other nearby options. Thriving restaurants manage to avoid bad reviews; they don’t settle for simply having the good reviews outweigh the bad. While this may seem like an impossible feat, honing some of the important factors can be all it takes to ensure you’re providing the optimal experience for your diners.
When making sure the guests in your restaurant leave thinking they’ve had a truly wonderful experience, there are a few important features which can make or break their opinion. So you need to focus on getting these exactly right. We’re going to outline what makes a great guest experience in a restaurant and how you can go about its delivery.
The factors for creating the best guest experience are:
- Menu Flexibility
- Knowledgeable Staff
- Being Upfront and Setting Expectations
- Providing A Good Waiting Area Experience
- Feasibility Of Splitting Cheques
One of the most important aspects for customer satisfaction is your menu flexibility. If someone who is allergic to lactose or gluten is taken to your restaurant on a date or for a business lunch, will you have options for them? Multiple options, not a single dish. The same goes for vegetarians and vegans. You need to make sure that everyone who comes to your restaurant to eat is given a range of choices, so plan your menus accordingly.
Hopefully, your kitchen and wait staff are able to offer some degree of flexibility with your menu, too. This means they can allow guests to request a certain item without onions, or without tomatoes, or cheese, or x item, probably something they don’t like or are allergic to. This is one of the best ways to create a great guest experience.
If they ask for a removal or a substitution, you should be able to accommodate all reasonable requests. And if you can’t make them your caesar salad minus the tomatoes, then your guest is likely to feel that your restaurant is offering sub-standard customer experience. So make sure your employees know that they can be flexible with menus to a reasonable degree.
One of the most important things which creates the ‘above and beyond’ experience for your guests is having informed staff who are well-versed in your restaurant and your menu. This means being able to suggest wine pairings for certain dishes, being able to say how the meal is prepared; roasted, grilled, fried, etc., as well as knowing about the health information to do with a dish.
A guest might need to know if a dish has dairy or eggs in it, as they might be allergic. Your servers should be able to tell them this, without making them wait for 10 minutes to go in the kitchen and check, which creates a sub-par guest experience. Having knowledgeable waiters really helps to create an amazing environment for your guests and give them a fantastic experience as it ensures they have all the knowledge and helpful guidance they need to enjoy their meal 100%.
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. You and your staff are only human, they can’t be expected to get things right 100% of the time. If something’s gone awry, then be upfront about it. Let your guests know that there’s a problem and let them know exactly what it is. Maybe one of the grills has stopped working or one of the waiters hasn’t come in because of a family emergency and someone is coming to fill-in but in the meantime, it’s going to be a little slower than usual. If you’re upfront, your guests know what they’re getting themselves in for and will accommodate the slower service or longer wait times, without leaving a horrible review.
This honesty helps set realistic expectations, too. Sometimes guests can have slightly unrealistic ideas of how fast they will be seated or how long it will take to cook a 5-person sharing platter. It’s OK to have your waiters explain anything that you feel your guests would want to know, to avoid them feeling disappointed. For example, when someone orders a mixed grill, let them know it’s around 20 mins for that dish. Then if they’re eager they can choose something else or they’ll say that’s fine, and they’ll have a realistic idea of how long it’s going to take. Again, you’ll dodge a bad review for something outside your control. Honesty is always the best policy, and especially so for your guests and creating a great dining experience for them.
If your guests haven’t made a reservation and it’s peak time, they’re likely going to have to wait for a seat. Be honest with how long it’ll be for a table and they’ll make the decision as to whether they want to wait. Even with honesty on waiting times, guests can get agitated and give up anyway if the waiting facilities are poor.
Don’t have them waiting outside or standing in cold foyers, it needs to be within the cosy, warm atmosphere of your restaurant. Having a seating area for waiting guests where they can also have a drink and maybe even a starter makes for a great experience for your guests. If it’s a busy time, most restaurants will have waiting times to be seated and guests would rather wait somewhere like this than elsewhere, so it can help bring in more business, as well as keep your diners happy.
Going out with big groups of friends has proven to be a real pain in some restaurants. Taking 20 minutes to sort out the bill really dampers the whole dining experience, too. Having procedures in place which make it super easy for guests to split the bill is a fantastic way of creating that optimal guest experience.
Having a function on your POS system which automatically splits the bill between however many people, and allows them to pay individually by card or cash, is a fantastic way to help soothe this often awkward and uncomfortable time. Some restaurants even have the ability to itemise the bill by guest, so you can know the total for guest 1, guest 2, and so forth, so someone who ordered an inexpensive burger and a glass of water isn’t paying a portion of the bill of the person who ordered a steak and a bottle of wine. Either of these options are perfect for delivering the best experience possible.
How Else Can You Provide A Great Guest Experience?
In order to provide the best experience possible for your guests, you need to make sure your staff are protected from slipping. Having a waiter slip and spill a glass of coke all over a guest will be almost impossible to work your way back from. If a chef slips and ruins the dish they were working on, preparation times and waiting times are increased, causing a terrible guest experience. But how can you prevent your staff from slipping?
SHOES FOR CREWS (EUROPE), LTD. offer an extensive range of slip-resistant shoes for restaurants. Their specially-designed technology means your staff are safe from injury and your guests are delivered with the best experience possible.
Designed Beyond Standards
Our slip-resistant shoes have been tested in order to prove that they’re up for the task of securing your staff in the restaurant and getting them home safely, too. Not only do they meet the highest European Standards, but many of our popular styles double (and some quadruple) the minimum ISO standard requirements for slip resistance. Don’t just take our word for it, check out the results to see for yourself what our slip-resistant shoes can do for you.