Why Mashed Potatoes Give Great Customer Service in a Restaurant
Let’s face it, restaurants with beautiful looking decor, unique tasting food and an eclectic menu is great, however good customer service is one of the leading reasons why us consumers take into consideration when choosing to eat out.
I want to share with you an interesting example of good customer service in a restaurant and how a staff member turned my innocent complaint into a returning customer, whilst making me smile.
My feedback to the restaurant
After going for lunch with my friends and family one sunny afternoon in April, I left the following customer feedback for the restaurant.
Our first time eating at this restaurant:
Our Positive Experiences – Great location, lovely decor, loved the mini desert and coffee – what a great idea.
Our Negative Experiences – No vegetarian option on the carvery (just `veg`) and the plates feel grainy like they have been washed in mashed potato.”
I will always try to give praise when restaurant staff get customer service right. It’s important; and equally I give constructive feedback when people fall below my expectations.
Surely, we have a right to expect good service when we are paying for it? So often we simply `accept` the level of customer care we are given without feedback.
Response from the restaurant manager was genius
I was initially thanked for my feedback and for the positive comments.
In terms of the negatives, the manager responding told me he thought the veggie option I suggested was a great idea. To turn a negative into a positive he realised the restaurant was missing out on trade and even suggested a `veggie tart` to the head office and was awaiting feedback.
The manager replied;
We will stop washing our plates in mashed potato immediately and start using water instead.” He then went on to say, “on a serious note, I will pick that up with the team to change the water more regularly.”
Will I return to this establishment for food?
You bet I will! Here’s my reasons why:
They responded to my feedback! What impressed me most was the response was personal, it wasn’t just a `one size` fits all response that does not mean anything`. The manager had responded to my comments and provided constructive feedback on what actions would be taken.
He responded with humour and actually made me laugh! He recognised I wasn’t being nasty when I commented on mashed potato, I used it simply to describe the feeling of the plates and the manager showed me he had recognised that.
He didn’t get defensive or justify their current practice. He suggested the restaurant would act on this and thanked me for bringing it to their attention. Discover basics of customer service or view my top tips below.
My top 5 tips for how to provide excellent customer service in a restaurant
1. Customer expectations
Understand your customers’ expectations and then go the extra mile.
2. Make it personal!
Comment on their comments, make conversation, build genuine customer rapport, chat with their children, the list really is endless. Live And Learn Consultancy’s face to face 1 Day Customer Service Skills Course teaches people how to create memorable conversation in short time frames.
3. Don’t deliver `standard` or `mediocre` restaurant customer service.
Be the person YOU would want to receive service from! For example, Here at Live and Learn Consultancy, we run a highly effective training exercise called ‘if it was me’. This simply looks at your expectations and focuses on what our customers have a right to expect.
4. Have a great attitude
Start the day making a commitment with yourself that you want your customers to return home talking about you (for the right reasons). There is real satisfaction in knowing you have made someone’s day. It’s a simple thing, but a genuine smile and a thank you goes a long way in the hospitality industry.
5. When you get it wrong, put it right!
It’s ok to get it wrong; it means you have an opportunity to learn, review and come back stronger. We use a very simple model for this.
S – Stop
T – Think
A – Act
R – Review
It will have taken Lawrence, the restaurant manager moments to respond to my feedback and probably a few more minutes to send an email to HQ about a veggie target. I feel that in this short space of time he achieved all 5 of my top tips!
In closing, I challenge you all to think about your own customers, both internal and external and see if you can achieve my top tips today. If you do nothing else, make them smile.
Are you serious about improving your employees customer service standards? View our popular range of Customer Service Training Courses today.