5 Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Service at Your Restaurant

Deliver Excellent Customer Service

Treat customers right, and they’ll come back to your restaurant again and again

As a restaurant owner, great customer service is essential to your success. How do you deliver excellent customer service at your restaurant? First, let’s define it: customer service is the assistance and advice you provide to your diners.

Customer service is equal parts communication and genuine attention to your diners. (tweet this) When guests visit your restaurant, you want them to feel welcome. When you treat them with care and respect while providing an excellent meal, they’ll come back to your restaurant again and again.

Satisfied customers are integral to your business model. According to a Harvard Business School study on Starbucks, customer satisfaction has a massive impact on your revenue. Regarding Starbucks, they found that the satisfied customer visits 4.3 times per month, spends $4.06 and is a customer for 4.4 years. They went on to find that the highly satisfied customer visits 7.2 times per month, spends $4.42 and is a customer for 8.3 years.

That’s great, but what happens when you have a dissatisfied customer? In a Customer Experience Report, researchers found that the #1 reason customers abandon a brand is due to poor quality and rude customer service. These items were cited 18% more often than slow or untimely service.

Combined, these two studies describe the importance of excellent customer service. They suggest that great customer service can make or break your restaurant. So, in this blog post, we’re going to discuss five ways to deliver excellent customer service at your restaurant.

1. Do It Right From the Start

While food quality is incredibly important, it is the experience diners have from the minute they walk in the door to the minute they exit that counts. Restaurants should remember to keep the customer’s needs at the forefront of every dining experience. Here are a few tips for accomplishing this:

Speak Appropriately

  • Greet your diners the minute they walk in the door.
  • Use respectful titles – sir, ma’am and miss work well.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Listen intently and pay attention to what they want.
  • Be thoroughly versed on your menu. Ask questions and repeat their orders to make sure you get it right.

Etiquette Matters

While the etiquette often depends on the restaurant type, proper etiquette may be maintained in pizza parlors as well as fine-dining restaurants.

  • Who do you serve first? If there’s a guest of honor, serve them. If not, begin with the women, then men, then children.
  • Serve and clear food from the diner’s left. If you have to reach in or interrupt, be polite.
  • Serve, pour and refill drinks from the right.
  • When serving food, have a system so you know which plates go to which diner. Don’t call out entrées if possible.
  • Never make diners feel like you want them to leave. The server’s tip is not more important than the diners’ comfort.
  • Don’t make your diners ask for the check. Clear plates, bring the check and process it in a timely manner.

2. Don’t Make Them Wait

If your diners have to wait too long for their first round of drinks, appetizer or meal, it really won’t matter to them that your bartender makes the best martini or the chef prepared the best steak. Your diner is already irritated and hungry.

You can call this the negative turning point. Remember that it can be hard to win back your disappointed customer. Avoid disappointing them at all costs. Make sure you have enough staff on hand so they never have to wait too long. If your diner orders a meal that takes a bit longer to cook, let them know in advance. Be forthcoming and informative.

You’ve probably heard the term speed of service. You might even have a speed of service goal built into your policies. Speed of service is vital to a good dining experience no matter your restaurant type. Your diners probably have expectations about how long they’ll have to wait. Serving tacos? They’ll expect those quickly. Serving steak? They may mentally grant you extra time to prepare it.

Your goal is to accommodate your diners with exactly the same quality food and service every day and at every time of day. (tweet this)

Customer Service

A happy customer is one whose problem was solved quickly and satisfactorily.

3. Fix Problems Immediately

Your third step in delivering excellent customer service is your finesse at dealing with customer problems and complaints. No matter how hard you try, something is going to go amiss some time or another. Whatever the problem, your goal is to please the customer.

It is vitally important that you deal with problems immediately. Don’t let your customer’s anger linger while waiting to work his way up the management chain. Here are a few tips for dealing with customer problems:

  • Listen intently to their problem without interrupting.
  • Own the mistake. Acknowledge that, yes, there is a problem. Let them know you are very sorry.
  • Stay calm, especially if you don’t agree with your customer.
  • Maintain eye contact and watch your body language. Make sure your body isn’t telling a different story than your words.
  • Ask your customer what they’d like. Try to negotiate a solution that is acceptable to both of you.
  • Always empathize, don’t blame.
  • Apologize again!
  • Solve the problem quickly and without drama.

4. Use Customer Comment Cards

Show your diners you value their opinion. Exceptionally effective restaurants want their customer’s opinions – the good, the bad and the in-between.

When you give them the opportunity to leave a comment, you show them that you care and are always looking for ways to improve your food and your service. Your customer’s comments can help you learn about areas that need improvement. The comments can also show you where you are excelling. You’ll see what your customers see and in the end be able to provide them even better service.

You’ll build better customer relationships and enhance your restaurant at the same time.

5. Incorporate Technology

Lastly, we’ll discuss an out-of-the-box way to deliver excellent customer service at your restaurant. Incorporating technology will, of course, depend on your restaurant type, but some form of technology can be worked into many restaurant business models.

Online Ordering

The ability to instantly order from your online menu provides easy access for your customers. It allows them to conveniently browse and then order from your menu. Oftentimes they’ll spend more money ordering online as they’ll be tempted to try more. You can use prominent calls to action to encourage a larger order.

Don’t forget the mobile-friendly responsive website. If your customer can’t order online with ease on their mobile phone, it’s time for a new website.

Table and/or Kiosk Ordering

Your casual dining customers will find this ordering system quick and easy. They’ll also appreciate the convenience and the speed.

Offer Free Wi-Fi

According to research from industry data and analysis firm Technomic Inc., 65% of consumers in 2014 expected restaurants in the quick-service segment to offer free access to Wi-Fi in their restaurants.

Games at the Table

Parents of young children are often exhausted after a long day at work. Give the parents a break while occupying their children. Consider handheld gaming devices at the table, a TV/media room for kids (and the old stand-by – coloring books).

At Restaurant Engine, we create great, responsive websites. You can also count on us to create a website that enhances your customer service. Let us help you create the perfect site that draws customers in, improves your conversion rate, and enables you to grow your business! Ready to take the plunge and get a new website? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Thomas Hawk and Viewminder

36 responses to “5 Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Service at Your Restaurant”

  1. Jarom Linton says:

    I love your idea to greet every guest at the door, even if it’s just a “hello”. My family is coming over this week and we want to visit a local buffet. We need to make sure they follow a lot of this advice so that we have a good experience there.

  2. rena says:

    Your tips are very helpful for a novice like me.

  3. cami says:

    I have read your blog it’s really good

  4. I completely agree with what you said in about incorporating technology in your restaurant. Going online and partnering with food delivery partners will improve your customer service ten fold. Thank you for sharing this resourceful article.

  5. Alicia Byrne says:

    I didn’t know that customer service is the number one reason customers abandon a brand! My friend is interested in starting a restaurant selling burgers. I will let him know about the importance of customer services and advise him to have training for his staff, especially on customer service.

  6. Lucienne says:

    I was very happy to discover this web site. I want
    to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!!
    I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new information in your blog.

  7. I love that you talked about simply greeting people at the door so they feel welcomed. My cousin is trying to open up a new restaurant later this year and she needs help. I’ll try to share this article with her so that at least she will have great customer service for the people that come in.

  8. That’s a good idea to try and fix problems right away. I could see how the longer the customer has an issue, the more upset they will get. I should take a look into getting someone to help all the employees work on that if I decide to start a business, so I could make sure that the customers stay as happy as possible.

  9. Pintoo says:

    This is Pintoo B Panchal from Gujarat Ahmedabad
    I m brand owner of wooddy Jhones Pizza
    It’s an Italian unlimited pizza restaurants.
    It’s very helpful and important things.it helps us to make good and best service to my customers.
    Thank you

  10. It was helpful when you explained the importance of greeting the guests at a restaurant as soon as they come through the front door. In my opinion, it would also be beneficial to invest in faux wood or leather covers for the menus to give diners the impression of professionalism from the moment they’re seated. The info you discussed here will be helpful to anyone looking to open a restaurant, so thanks for taking the time to share!

  11. Alina says:

    It was very helpful. As the restaurant industry is moving towards the online space, it is necessary to meet convenience and customer expectation there as well. https://orderstack.io would be a good reference point.

  12. tbh says:

    nice article shared.

  13. Abdelghani says:

    First of all thank you for the rich information. It will help me in me alot in my new job a restaurant.

  14. Maria thomas says:

    Yes customer service is most important if you want to grow your restaurant business. Always treat your customers like a welcoming guest so that they get best experience.

  15. Bryson Owens says:

    My son is trying to open up a cafe because that’s always been his dream. He needs to learn more about customer service though because that isn’t his strong suit. I think it’s a great idea to always greet your customers as soon as they walk in.

  16. Joh says:

    I would like to know if there is a correct way to carry a pepper grinder to the table
    I have heard under your arm is not on?

  17. I like what you said about giving your customers the opportunity to leave comments in order to provide better customer service. My brother has been telling me about how he wants to open a restaurant next year. I’ll share this information with him so that he can look into his options for doing so.

  18. Akash Sheth says:

    Yes, you are absolutely right. If you are giving this type of service to your customers then, they feel good. And prefer your restaurant frequently.

  19. Liz Hudson says:

    I agree that you shouldn’t make customers ask for the check. Whenever I go to a restaurant, even if I stay to chat for a while, I prefer to pay the check soon after eating so I can focus on my conversation. Most people don’t want to wait around for the check.

  20. cain mark says:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing tips for restaurants. I really found it very useful and informative. Keep up the good work.

  21. I liked that you said that good customer service is crucial for the success of a restaurant. I would agree that greeting your customers at the door will create a polite and welcoming environment for them to eat in. I would be sure to train my employees to your good customer service in order to have customers return.

  22. I like that you suggest giving customers the option to order remotely or have an online menu that they can look at before coming to the restaurant. My brother owns a small diner in our hometown and he wants to attract more customers. I will send him this information so he can look for a customer experience strategy management company that can help him set up a good system.

  23. Presentation of food is also a very important part of excellence customer service

  24. Saumya Sah says:


    The article seems very useful, prominent and easy to understand. It talks of everything a restaurant owner should know about customer service. I specially loved the content under Incorporate Technology. We can even incorporate the strategy of Follow Up at Regular Intervals.

  25. Apart from variety of menu and food quality, customers make repeat visit to their favorite food joints or do take away because of the excellent customer service and behavior of the brand people.

  26. What strategy has worked best for you when it comes to accepting quality Feedback? With offline data collection, Brew Survey lets you get feedback about food, ambiance, service and more.

  27. sara says:

    thank you
    high quality customer services to survive in global competitive market place.

  28. Sachin says:

    i am offering free wifi, but local customers are not getting attracted.

  29. nice one…keep moving on with good stuff

  30. Michael R says:

    No matter what type of restaurant, read your table, feel them out. If they are very friendly and talkative with you, do the same. NEVER using profanity. If they are short and to the point, do the same, in a polite manner. Fit in with the script that they are writing. You are on stage. So give your best performance.

  31. suryaprakash dc says:


  32. Yes most of the restaurants was lacking that but if you have clean and green with friendly culture defiantly the customer will come back again.. Nice points mentioned in the post

  33. Customers come back not only because of the taste of the food, but also because of the service you provided. Remember, they can get good food anywhere but only few restaurants give decent customer service.

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