By Ahmed Darwish – The Foodies inc.
Five golden principles for restaurant success.
Restaurants are one of the few universal industries because almost everyone has familiarity with them. This makes restaurant customer service challenging as every customer has established service expectations, which go hand-in-hand with impressions created by the physical environment.
It gets tricky in the segments of the industry that are not always clearly defined in the mind of the consumer. For instance, at a place like Brioche, customers would expect to be served better than they would be at Nino’s, but not as they would be at Nozomi. If service falls outside of these borders, problems and complaints can arise.
Restaurant experts set outstanding customer service by maintaining five essential elements.
1) Consistent Service
Inconsistent service is the vulnerable spot of the restaurant industry. Cashiers, servers, and host staff play an integral role in the dining experience. Consistency includes training all staff, from the staff at the door to the bussers.
Meez Street (Jeddah)
This Saudi concept kept the idea of a Hijazi restaurant; the staff is trained to welcome guests in the friendly manner of the Hijazi people, which has been working wonders for them.
This place won best luxury restaurant in GCC for 2016, and it’s not just because of their yellowtail sashimi. From the moment you enter until you leave, it’s a lesson on clockwork Japanese precision.
The Cuts Urban Kitchen (Sharqiya)
Very consistent with their food and service, their limited edition burgers are top notch. The staff are well-mannered and know all their regulars well.
2) Managing Wait Times
Wait time can be an issue in high-demand restaurants that don’t have a reservation policy. Tracking average table occupancy time and ensuring good communications is an integral part of making sure wait time doesn’t become hate time.
The Social Kitchen (Jeddah)
When you are a successful place, you will know your average stay on every table. When your customer knows how long they will wait, then they have a decision to either
It’s all about the “Maestro” who connects the front staff to the kitchen. They know the peak hours by branch and are well- prepared with common orders, so the food is ready to be served.
Saravana Bhavan’ (Sharqiya)
The place to go if you are looking for a quick bite. They have perfectly managed wait times, making the turnover of tables very quick so people are in and out of the restaurant in under an hour.
3) Consistency in Products
Many restaurants start perfectly then slowly slip into the pit of inconsistency. An inconsistent product quickly taints experiences. Once is often forgiven, but more mishaps result in deteriorating loyalty and brand perception.
Section B (Jeddah)
This place doesn’t joke around when serving the same quality each time. This comes from perfecting the bun recipe and the patty by outsourcing the same beef and getting it right to the gram and grill temperature.
Smokey Beards (Riyadh)
A new player in town when Riyadh is saturated with smoke houses, but endless queues and sold-out items mean they are doing something right, and that’s giving you perfect ribs and brisket each and every time without fail.
A food truck that has maintained their standards serving an amazing Philly Cheese Steak, they are now part
of Riyadh Season, extending their excellence beyond the Eastern Province.
4) Effective Communication
It is not enough to just communicate; the staff needs to be trained to communicate effectively and professionally. A smile goes a long way and it’s free!
Medd Cafe (Jeddah)
It wasn’t just the coffee but also the amazing staff. They not only served but they educated about coffee, roasting, and taste.
Sicilias Pizza Cuts (Riyadh)
Imagine an Italian place with over 12 types of pizza, and 10 hand-crafted sandwiches. If your staff can’t explain the menu to a confused customer, you won’t succeed.
Parkers Restaurant (Sharqiya)
Most restaurants don’t train their staff well enough for them to explain items on the menu. The staff that you encounter at Parkers are able to convey in great detail, the items they serve.
If a restaurant has a reputation for excellent food and service, customers will come expecting the same. Branding, marketing communication, and decor are all factors that affect what a customer would expect.
Street 56 (Jeddah)
This family-run restaurant marketed itself as “Far East Asia Street Food.” With a small shop and simple décor, they set the expectations for decent Asian.
food with moderate prices. Tokyo (Riyadh) Labeled “the best Japanese food in Riyadh,” they set the expectation that you would get amazing, authentic sushi and Japanese dishes, matched with decent décor and great service.
This place serves delicious, garlicky shawarmas. There isn’t much to the menu, but you know you get a perfectly good shawarma for a bargain every time you visit.
From restaurant cleanliness to brand management, running a restaurant necessitates a holistic experience that hits the customers on many levels.
By focusing on the five service principles, restaurant owners in the Kingdom can make sure that their business will prosper and their customers will come again and again.