Great Customer Service Makes Happy CustomersThese days it’s no longer enough to serve great food and expect your customers to keep coming back. Modern diners are seeking new food-experiences, and going the extra mile to provide all- round great service is just as important as the dishes you serve.
Most business owners recognise that word-of-mouth is vital to winning loyal customers. There are countless ways to do something special for your customers in order to keep them loyal to you.
‘Service’ is not just limited to putting a dish in front of a customer, but applies to the whole dining experience. It’s not enough to simply satisfy your customers’ hunger and thirst — these days customers are looking for a restaurant offering a ‘food experience’, and every detail counts. No restaurateur or chef would argue that you can establish a good business only by providing good food; all would agree that all-round good service is essential.
Creating a good service experience can be achieved in ‘little extras’ such as adding something special to a takeaway package, like a kitsch fortune cookie, an unusually attractive presentation of a dish or a particularly pleasant waiter or delivery driver. Nothing has the potential to deter repeat custom like rude or unpleasant service. But add to that the presentation of food that does not appear perfect and you have almost certainly lost a follow up order!
Service trends to increase your sales
So what is the key to success? How can you set your restaurant apart from the others? Serving interesting, desirable and tasty food in a quick and efficient manner is certainly a good start. While there is no one-size fits all algorithm, hungryhouse has visited several international gastronomy fairs and predicts two key trends for 2015.
Trend 1: work faster with new technologies
We are living in age where technology is developing faster than ever before. These new technologies give every restaurateur the opportunity to work more quickly and effectively, thus increasing sales.
If your restaurant keeps abreast of the latest trends and understands the newest technologies you can improve service and set yourself apart from the competition. Your staff will be able to use the relevant innovations to increase productivity and your customers will appreciate the speed and efficiency with which their food arrives.
Spend some time researching the tech trends which could improve your business and you will save time in the future!
Trend 2: stand out from the crowd to win long-term success
For restaurants and delivery services, the personal touch and a unique selling point are important ways to stand out from the competition. Little service extras such as creativity, decoration or even interesting colour combinations can work wonders when you present your food.
Use the packaging best suited to each dish – no cardboard for hot, steamy dishes, as these will start to perish by the time they reach the customer, and will affect how the feel about the food itself. For dishes that are cooked in a sauce, stock up on good watertight containers.
Creativity can also be helpful when marketing the food you sell — when providing your menu to hungryhouse, be sure to include as much mouthwatering detail about each dish as possible to appeal to customers.
Tell your customers what they want!
Although the old adage says ‘the customer is always right’, when a customer orders from your restaurant, you can assume they trust your expertise. What is more, the customer is relying on you — as the expert, to know what is good, and what is not so good for them.
Although restaurants often offer a huge amount of choice with the very best of intentions, it can sometimes be overwhelming. In fact, with a smaller, but equally excellent menu, your customers should feel they are being better served, advised and guided — they will feel reassured that you know what is good for them.
Mushtaq’s in Glasgow, for example, has just ten main dishes on the menu at any one time. The restaurant sets itself apart from other Indian competitors and demonstrates its ability to create a small range of excellent dishes, serving up quality cuisine every time.
But listen to what they say in return
No matter how good you think your service already is, it can always be improved. Listen to the feedback you receive!
Although it is more difficult to monitor the reaction of diners who are not actually inside your restaurant, hungryhouse has a very active online customer community, eager to share their dining experiences with other users. Don’t forget, you are providing a service your customers need, but you can only do that if you know exactly what it is they want.
Become a good listener — read the reviews written about your restaurant and you will see the areas of the business that need to be improved. You can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can certainly try!
Ensure your delivery drivers report feedback to you. They are on the front line, coming face to face with your customers, so they are well positioned to judge the reactions you do not see. They may also be the only point of human contact your customers have with your restaurant, so their service skills are vital, and their importance should not be overlooked!
So go the extra mile
Not literally — you can keep your delivery radius as it is, but if you go a little further to give customers a real experience, they will keep coming back. Think about how you treat customers every step of the way. If your food is good and your service is top notch, you will win yourself some regular, loyal customers who will tell all their neighbours that you’re the best delivery restaurant in the postcode!
Adeel Nauyeck, Manager of Thai Thai East in London, gives his tips on providing the best service possible:
“My viewpoint is that the product is only as good as the service. You can have the best food in the world, but if it’s not delivered with a smile and gratitude, then it’s a pointless exercise. Put it straight into the nearest bin.
When dealing with hungryhouse orders it essential to keep a couple of service considerations in mind:
Remember, it’s not a competition to see how many orders you can accept, it’s how you manage to deliver, building trust with a client.
Read messages on orders and act upon them — show you care about your customer’s welfare.
Always accept orders with a realistic delivery acceptance time so you can meet a client’s expectations every time.
The customer is always right, so accept mistakes: we are merely human!”