How To Improve Restaurant Customer Service in 2023

Restaurants, along with other industries, are turning confidently toward new ways to improve their customer service indoors. In this post, we show you six easy methods to bring under your wing, to boost the quality of your restaurant’s interaction with guests.

Use Positive Language in Customer Communications

Restaurant customers are not only sensitive to the food they eat: they are also sensitive to the things they hear. Generally speaking, your language in the restaurant matters. Customers are sensitive to the words you use, from start to finish, from taking their seats to paying the bill.

In terms of how to improve restaurant customer service, simple words and phrases can make a positive change at your venue. It is important to use words openly and honestly. A recent BBC report discovered that today’s customers now react negatively to ready-made response techniques from businesses. 

Blanket statements, for instance, are explanations that lack specificity, and if anything goes wrong in your restaurant, such statements will fail to directly address the issue at hand. Let’s say a customer is unhappy about a meal. If you use a blanket statement such as “because of Covid”, some guests will find it inadequate.

Customer service phrases are slight but important. The best way to make a quick change is to challenge everyone in a restaurant’s team to speak in positives — that is, never dwell on negative statements.

If managing a busy queue system, your restaurant team can invite new customers at a quieter time, informing them with information on best value situations. This way your team affirms a positive situation for the customer to use. Compare this with a negative response: “Sorry, we have no tables available. We cannot guarantee you a seat, but come again later.”

In a reservations scenario, you may have a fully booked schedule. If customers approach you with an inquiry on what’s available, try to reclaim the situation. It’s impossible to seat these customers, but you could always use positives — i.e., “We’re fully booked — but what can we do for you now?” 

If in doubt, always compare the words you use with negative phrases. “Sorry we’re unavailable right now” is a rejection, showing the customer the door. 

courtesy of Dogancan Ozturan via Unsplash

Treat Restaurant No-Shows Differently

No-shows cost restaurants money. Empty tables can be a painful reality for everyone — especially if a booking made months in advance suddenly cancels at the last minute, leaving behind an unsold table for the restaurant.

Such situations are frustrating. Thankfully techniques exist to lessen the impact of restaurant no-shows, saving venues money. 

Granted: a sudden cancellation causes damage and chips away at yearly revenue. However at times it is dangerous for restaurants to ignore the reality of no-shows — indeed, some no-shows are genuine mistakes or misunderstandings.

Become interested in why certain bookings fail to show up. Many restaurants miss a prime opportunity to reach out, to connect, with customers who could have otherwise made it to their tables. 

The point is to practice customer-focused thinking. Cheryl Bachelder is currently the CEO of Popeyes, a multinational restaurant chain in the USA. She has written about the recent successes of the chain, primarily owing it to a company culture that values customer concerns over everything else. 

“We are in service to others,” she has said. Her words are a crucial reminder to the industry, hoping to improve customer service in restaurants.

Embrace Changes in Your Customer Base

Over the years, restaurants worldwide have rode waves of change, surfing their hardships with resilience. With the advent of new innovations in the industry (e.g. restaurant meal kit boxes, sophisticated digital takeaway services), restaurants have had to quickly adapt. The trick is to keep doing so.

Demand remains strong among restaurant goers, but their needs are always changing. For instance, many now expect restaurants to deliver on the transparency of their supply chains, offer seasonal goods, and dish up sustainable meals. 

Make gradual changes to easily distribute the workload. Update your menu with seasonal dishes, bit by bit. On how to improve restaurant customer service, new diners will thank you in the years to come.

Be Smart About Restaurant Ingredients 

Unsurprisingly, today’s restaurant guests want to know more about the source of your restaurant’s ingredients. Food blogs, Instagram reviews, and other sources have influenced this interest.

Seasonal menus listing ingredients, foods, and spices appropriate for the time of year, are a great way to fulfill the demands of new guests. As customers care increasingly about sustainable practices, use local ingredients to adapt to growing customer awareness.

This also means matching sustainable practices with affordability. Your customers will know immediately if you’re cutting corners on quality. 

For help on anticipating current demand and improving customer services in restaurants, various industry bodies like UK Hospitality offer support and information on best practices for today’s restaurants.

Recognise Loyalty in Restaurant Customers

Getting personal with guests is something that everyone in the industry should consider. However, operating on a high table turnover, this may seem an impossible task for some venues.

Thankfully there are ways around this. For instance, small rewards can get customers talking about your restaurant. Offer a free dessert for instance if a guest brings someone they know to the table. Small things like this will help your restaurant engage in referral traffic — a method that promotes guest loyalty without doing that much.

On how to improve restaurant customer service, a digital system allows restaurants to see their frequent arrivals and assess top customers at a glance. Strategically discover the best guests, get to know them well, and ensure a steady stream of revenue at your restaurant.

Improve Customer Services in Your Restaurant With Just An App

One of the best ways to sufficiently and speedily improve customer service in restaurants is this: to download a restaurant guestlist app.

Carbonara App is specifically designed to help restaurants perform efficiently with customers. 

If you use a pen-and-paper waitlist, Carbonara App helps restaurants beat long waiting times and create a more effective queue management system, all with the trusty use of a handheld smartphone.

The team behind Carbonara App have worked closely with restaurants to develop specialist techniques to maximise business. Standby seating, for instance, allows restaurants to promptly seat more guests, including:

  • Eliminating disappointment with seating arrangements
  • Reducing waiting times for tables
  • Boosting table turnover rates

Carbonara App provides for reservation restaurants too, providing a quick and simple array of features, including:

  • Table management features
  • Two-way communication inbox
  • Digital reservation diary

Still wondering how to improve restaurant customer service? Learn more and try Carbonara App.