Article: “Customer service with a snarl” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“Customer service has eroded over the past decade for a variety of reasons — low wages, lack of training, exponential growth, to name a few. Few companies have the blend of corporate culture, training and opportunities for advancement that makes employees surpass expectations…

…In the restaurant business, quality is difficult to gauge because most customers don’t complain — they simply go elsewhere. To amp up its service, Furio began a day-after-dining program to gauge customer satisfaction: The Scottsdale restaurant picks diners at random from the reservation book and contacts them about their experience.

“We look at every single comment,” says Stephanie Eglin, director of marketing for Anthem Restaurants, which owns Furio. “When somebody gives negative feedback, the owner himself makes the call if he’s able to. This type of endeavor is not costly, and we’re able to gain a lot of valuable feedback…”

source: “Customer service with a snarl” by Marija Potkonjak (East Valley Tribune, Aug.14,2006)

Article: “Lehndorff: Spell-check those menus” (Aug.2006)

excerpt:
“I should be relaxing during these dog days of summer, but big questions plague my overheated mind. I get picky, picky, picky and wonder:

Why don’t people who write restaurant menus use spell-checker or have someone proofread them before they print them? I constantly catch spelling and grammatical errors among the starters and entrees. When I see “prosciutto wrapped shrimp,” I wonder why there isn’t a hyphen connecting the modifiers, i.e., “prosciutto-wrapped.”

It makes me think there are other details that have slipped below the management’s radar…”

source: “Lehndorff: Spell-check those menus” by John Lehndorff (Rocky Mountain News, Aug.4,2006)

related link:
Resource: Customers list their restaurant pet peeves and annoyances [WaiterBell Blog]

Article: “How To Make The Crabby Customer Into The Lifetime Satisfied Patron”

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excerpt:
“Despite all of our best efforts, all restaurants face the occasional crabby customer. Regardless if the grouch is grouchy because of something we did (or didn’t do), the bottom line is that it’s our job to put them in a better mood. And most often, the whiner who can be won over will think your restaurant is a winner.

Practice responding to unhappy guests. Use real-life scenarios and role-play them with your staff. Start with the small and the mundane like “My food is cold.” That’s easy – you simply take the plate of food away and return hot food. Voila! You’re a superstar.

Move into the heavy stuff. Food is taking a long time or a table was forgotten. How do you make up for those things? Find out before you have to deal with it for real…”

source: “How To Make The Crabby Customer Into The Lifetime Satisfied Patron” by Susie Ross (The Restaurant Report)

Article: “Service with a smile? First you need the smile” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“As the economy booms across Alberta, businesses of all kinds are riding the wave and seeing new levels of prosperity. But perhaps no industry faces the kind of challenges the restaurant industry faces.

Boom times are often the stereotypical catch-22 scenario for restaurants. When the economy is doing well, people tend to eat out more often as levels of disposable income rise. It’s good business for restaurants and several across Grande Prairie have been winning national and North American awards for sales.

But the good times have also had another severe impact on the industry as the most common sight at local restaurants is not the menu, but the Help Wanted signs. Longer waits are more common, and stories abound of reduced hours and service.

Keeping up with the good times has become a full-time business in itself for some restaurants and the labour shortage is forcing some to become very creative…”

source: “Service with a smile? First you need the smile” by Darrell Winwood (Daily Herald-Tribune, Aug.1,2006)

Article: “A menu of ‘don’ts’ for restaurant servers” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“…When paying that amount of money for my Tournedos Rossini, I expect stellar service. So when the waiter came to the table and referred to me and my dining companion as “you guys,” I wanted to stuff his mouth with my very large napkin.

This brings me to this month’s topic: The Don’ts of Restaurant Service.

…5. You don’t need to come by the table every 10 minutes to find out if everything is all right. Learn to read your customers. People conducting business don’t want to be interrupted. Couples on a romantic date don’t want to be interrupted. People deep in conversation don’t want to be interrupted. If you must interrupt, be as unobtrusive as possible.”

source: “A menu of ‘don’ts’ for restaurant servers” by Pam Wischkaemper (North County Times, Jul.27,2006)

Article: “Service Timetable – A practical guide to efficient service”

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excerpt:
“Restaurants are no longer patronized by individuals who are in need of nourishment alone. People dine out for a variety of reasons and choose locations based on quality of food, atmosphere and service.

While most restaurateurs spend an extraordinary amount of time and money creating an interesting and comfortable setting for carefully prepared foods, very few spend the effort needed in training staff to perform their duties efficiently and effectively…”

source: “Service Timetable – A practical guide to efficient service” by Doug Fisher (FHGI.com)

also available from FHGI.com: “Restaurant Staff Service Tips” – a free 31 page reference guide for restaurant waitstaff that was sponsored by Visa.

More information resources for your waitstaff are available at the Tips WaiterBell blog, click here.

Advice: “Ask Danny Meyer” [re: restaurant service] (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“One of the country’s top restaurateurs on the difference between service and hospitality.

Q: I’d like my restaurant to provide great customer service, but staffers don’t seem to grasp the concept. Can it be taught?

The most important thing you can do is make the distinction between customer service and guest hospitality. You need both things to thrive, but they are completely different. Customer service entails getting the right food to the right person at the right time. Hospitality is the degree to which your customers feel that your staff is on their side…”

source: “Ask Danny Meyer” by Danny Meyer (Inc. Magazine, Jul.2006)

Web Site: Tip20! – Waiters, Waitresses, Bar Tenders and Service Industry Professionals Resource

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“Tip20!com is the internet’s number one resource for service industry information, tipping practices and industry standards. Please select the category below that suits your needs. Please feel free to browse all categories and give yourself an education in all of the different pieces that make up restaurant and bar industry.”

link: Tip20!com

Article archive includes the folliowing titles:
Scheduling Basics for Restaurant Managers
Scheduling for Slackers
Office Romance

link: Tip20.com Article Archive

Article: “Customer Profiling Makes Customers Happier” (2002)

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excerpt:
“Humans are creatures of habit. In the restaurant business, being able to distinguish between the different types of people is the key to providing them with what they want. Standardized questions are similar to old pick-up lines in that they usually don’t work.

“We found in the course of running the restaurant that not every customer responds well to suggestive selling or unnecessary questions,” Simran says. “Some customers want to place their order, get their food and go and are irritated by chatty waitresses. Customer profiling techniques, which I learned two years ago at a seminar where Gregg Rapp was a guest speaker, allow us to determine who needs special attention and who doesn’t and that makes for happier customers.”

source: “Customer Profiling Makes Customers Happier” (Pizza Marketing Quaterly, Winter 2002)

WaiterBell Angle: Although Pizza Marketing Quarterly (PMQ.com) focuses on, well, pizza, it is an incredible resource for all restaurants. The site is filled with free articles, resources, and advice. It is a site that is using the internet and power of the community to help all restaurant owners improve their operations and share knowledge.

Article: “Service Standards: The Key to Becoming Like the Businesses You Love” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“What is a service standard, exactly? One very successful business’s read: “We will endeavor to greet people in the way we want to be greeted. Once they’re with us, we will treat them with respect and the knowledge that they know our business almost as well as we do. In return, we will expect to get the kind of feedback that will allow us to continually improve and change anything that is not working in our organization.”

Many organizations already have service standards, but most don’t actually practice them even intermittently throughout the organization. Your service standards need to be a part of the business’s fabric, and those running the organization need to make the standards something their people do on a regular basis.”

source: “Service Standards: The Key to Becoming Like the Businesses You Love” by Marsha Lindquist (Pizza Marketing Quality, Jun.26,2006)

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