For many consumers, there’s more to dining out than simply having a meal — it’s the overall experience that counts. Many factors can impact that experience, including restaurant staff presentation. The appearance and attitude of your staff can be just as critical as the quality of your menu when it comes to creating experiences that result in customer loyalty.
Here are three aspects of restaurant staff presentation that can give customers the right impression of your establishment and set the tone for a great night out:
1. Proper attire and conduct
Customers expect to see a close match between a restaurant’s atmosphere and the way its staff members look and act. For example, in upscale French restaurants that feature low lighting and soft music playing in the background, diners anticipate that staff will wear black tie attire, address them formally rather than in a casual manner, and speak in soft, deferential tones. Restaurant staff presentation that included jacketless servers who greet guests informally instead of as “messieurs and madames” would make for a less-than-stellar, if not negative, customer experience.
In a Southwestern-themed restaurant, however, the “feel” is country and so is the music. Customers would feel comfortable with servers dressed in jeans and cowboy boots who interact with them in a familiar manner. A more formal presentation would detract from a good dining experience in this type of restaurant.
2. Suggestive selling in fine-dining and table service establishments
Everyone understands the importance of suggestive selling in quick-service and fast-casual restaurants; however, suggestive selling is equally essential in fine dining and table service establishments. The best customer experiences include interacting with knowledgeable servers who can not only answer diners’ questions, but incorporate subtle suggestive selling into their presentation. This may include offering recommendations and even sharing information about their own favorites or pairings from the menu.
Servers can also create positive customer experiences when they sense that diners are having difficulty negotiating the menu and offer information about the menu and provide assistance without being condescending. Skilled servers in table service and fine dining restaurants will be able to convey information and recommendations with flair, putting guests at ease and ensuring they will be happy with their choices.
The old adage that timing is everything definitely applies to restaurant staff presentation. Diners will enjoy the best customer experiences if staff members promptly transmit orders to the kitchen and serve courses in the proper order and in a timely manner. Your customers won’t be pleased with lengthy wait times between the appetizer and dinner or if a part of their meal is served and grows cold before the rest of the meal arrives.
There is a limit to how fast service should be, however. Guests who are forced to rush through their meals without ample time to enjoy each course will also be disappointed in their dining experiences.
Restaurant staff presentation is a critical ingredient in the recipe for great customer experiences. Train your staff on proper attire, how to interact with customers, and to orchestrate service so they reflect your brand and leave customers with the right impression.