Everyone talks about the Customer Journey, but what is it and how can you use it to ensure that your customers are getting the very best experience in your restaurant?
Working with restaurants right across the dining spectrum, we know that everyone has their own idea of perfection depending on what they offer. After all, there would be little point in having formal service and starched aprons in a beach bar setting. So, the first thing to do is to understand what your version of “good service” actually is and how you want to be perceived by your customers.
Whether you are offering a fine dining or casual experience, the journey is very similar and each step of that journey should have clearly defined expectations for your staff.
Exterior of the venue – is it inviting and clean? Are your windows sparkling and your plants lush and green?
Welcome – how are your customers welcomed into the premises and how quickly? Does it create the right first impression for your venue?
Seating – are customers shown to a table or are they free to pick where they want to go? Are the tables clean and properly set for the next guest?
Ordering – are the menus clean? Are the specials explained? Do you offer water for the table? Are your staff required to offer any upgrades or recommend dishes? Do they know the provenance of your ingredients, if it’s important to your brand? What other things do you expect of your staff at this engagement point?
Service – how long does it take for the meal to be delivered to the table? Do the customers have the correct cutlery for the food that they ordered? Are the staff polite and engaging or working on auto?
Food – no matter how great your service is and how gorgeous the surroundings, if the food isn’t up to scratch you won’t get repeat business or great reviews on the socials.
Check back – it’s always good practice to ensure that your diners are happy with their meal once they have received it. Try and time it so they haven’t just put a great big forkful in when you ask them though!
More service – there is nothing worse than finishing your meal and then sitting with an empty plate in front of you for aaaaages. Are staff made aware of the importance of clearing plates within a few minutes of all of the party finishing their meal? Or is it super casual and plates are taken when the tables are vacated?
Payment – if service is included, are your staff able to react appropriately if customers ask for it to be taken off the bill? It’s sometimes a real turn off for customers if staff are very obviously disgruntled by this; it’s important to remember though, not all customers believe service should be automatically added onto the bill.
Cheerio! – do your staff ensure that they say goodbye and thank you to everyone as they are leaving the premises? Simple touches like this make all the difference when it comes to your customers feeling valued and appreciated.
It’s good to review your own customer journey and check that everyone involved knows what’s expected of them each step of the way. This way you can also spot any issues you weren’t aware of and quickly root them out. Chances are, by the end of it, you’ll have a journey your customers are more than happy to take.
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