I love to dine out frequently and with every dining experience, an expectation is set to receive good, bad or average service. However based on the skills and training provided to the service staff, the results vary. According to Restaurant Training University, service is an important part of the dining experience, and 71% of customers return to a restaurant because of the service they received.
How can service make or break a restaurant? The team at Restaurant Training University state it pretty simple, “Success is all about consistency and doing the right thing every time,” and inconsistency is a service killer.
Several months ago, I visited a locally owned breakfast spot near my home. From the moment I entered the dimly lit restaurant, I found the greeting and service was flawless. The twirling umbrellas rigged from the ceiling stole my attention, but the delicious smells from the open kitchen was the game-changer, I was pleased before I ever sat down.
What a difference a few months can make.
My most recent experience was also quite remarkable, in a completely different way. For this visit, I decided to place an order on the phone, which was my first mistake. The server on the other end didn’t seem as familiar with the menu as I was, and couldn’t commit to a time when I could pick up my food. This person didn’t even collect payment from me (although restaurant policy was to collect payment at the time of the order), and I hung up feeling as if I’d taken away their time and unexpectedly inconvenienced them?
Training and “skilling up” the first point of contact to any restaurant is critical. It’s also important to script servers in proper language to better help and serve their customers. One easy way to do this, as Restaurant Training University would teach, “there is a difference between an order taker and a successful server-seller.” An order taker asks questions like “Are you ready to order?” A server-seller guides the consumer and says, “May I recommend…?” Even in a local “hole in the wall” diner, there can be a level of “5 star service” appropriate for that venue, just as there is appropriate levels of service for a Michelin starred restaurant.
Any restaurant’s foundation must be built upon the concept; you’re only as strong as your weakest link. How is your experience if your server-seller is an A-Player, but your hostess is occupying space as a summer gig? When a restaurant gives a horrible first impression, they’re unlikely to receive a second chance at success or recompensing a bad-dining experience. There are simply too many dining options today. Every role of a restaurant, from phone service and wait staff to food prep, must work together to create a level of high quality for the entire establishment.
Traditional training in most restaurant jobs relies on the “shadow method” during live service hours, resulting in hundreds of dollars per employee, an impractical expense in a growing business. As technology advances in the field of virtual training, preparation for bussers, servers, & maitre d’s will be immediately accessible. With “VT” platforms like Restaurant Training University, 24 hour global access will be able to provide restaurateurs with the training their employees need to provide great service everyday to every consumer.
The competitive nature of the restaurant industry should be motivation enough to increase customer satisfaction and repeat business with top quality service. New technology now makes training easier than ever to ensure a staff’s ability to deliver the highest quality service.
So how was my meal? I wish I could tell you. I never did pick up my food. About an hour after I placed my order, I received a “courtesy” call from a restaurant. As it turns out, the server said my food was ready and waiting for me, and I never turned up to get it. It ended up being my fault all along. “Its now past expiration,” he said. “Have a great day.”
Needless to say, my local restaurant experience is one I’ll remember for a long time. I’ll also continue to tell others about it, not only here, but also in person, and on my social media accounts. If restaurateurs think the cost of live training, VT platforms or any kind of training is too expensive, what’s the cost of a dissatisfied customer.
If every restaurant owner started implementing virtual training programs like Restaurant Training University, 5 star service would become the norm – even in the most unique “hole in the wall” restaurant you could ever find.
And chances are you’d be willing to share that story with just about everyone.
— Alex Williams