4 tips to improve your restaurant’s service quality (part 1)
Everyone in the restaurant industry can agree on one thing: Service is extremely important. Diners want to be treated well. And restaurateurs want them to keep returning. Here are some tips for impressing and retaining your customers.
1. Have the right attitude
“One of the things I really dislike about restaurants is when they make you feel you’re lucky to be there,” chef-owner Vittorio Ettore of Bistro 5 in West Medford shares. “I make sure servers understand that here the attitude is contrary. We are lucky to have you here tonight. You’ve chosen us vs. a ton of other restaurants.’’
Bistro 5 in West Medford, Boston. Image source: Boston Art Life
They demonstrate this attitude by doing everything from altering dishes to splitting orders. And if only one person at the table wants to do a tasting menu, that’s just fine. “If I order six courses and you order one entree, I think you understand you’re going to have to wait around,’’ he says.
When restaurants refuse to do such things, he says, “at the end of day it’s for the comfort and laziness of the chef. I’m sorry. Some chefs’ egos are just too big.’’
2. Do apologize
Big egos don’t mesh with hospitality. Mark D’Alessandro, general manager of Mistral Bistro, stresses the importance of taking responsibility. “People want an experience where they feel like they’re being treated well,’’ he says. “If something goes wrong, there has to be an acknowledgement from the restaurant. If you make a mistake, don’t try to hide it or make excuses.’’
Mistral Bistro in Sherman Oaks, California. Image source: Cooks Journey.
Even with the most challenging guests, a bad situation can usually be smoothed over. “I’ve stood in front of a guest and said, ‘Why don’t we start over? I know this has not been a good experience for you,’ ’’ D’Alessandro says. “Honesty and sincerity go a long way. The most important thing is listening.’’