The Cycle of Service in Restaurants: Making Guest Feel Welcome

February 23, 2018

Today’s blog is based on the fantastic learning library at Service That Sells. This trove of online training resources is one of the best places you can visit to help develop the service, sales, and management skills of you and your employees. Visit their site to learn more about The Cycle of Service workshops. While this series is directed specifically at restaurants, the information is applicable to any business, so please take the time to consider these points even if you’re in a different industry.

First up in The Cycle of Service is “Making Guests Feel Welcome”. There are several important key points that are explained in the video embedded in the aforementioned webpage, so let’s cover those concepts in detail here.

For diners, the first moment of truth occurs even before they enter your establishment. What impression does your parking lot and entryway leave your guests with? If the parking lot is littered with trash and you have burned-out light bulbs on your signage or in your foyer, it’s safe to say that it’s not a good one. As the old adage says, you never get a second chance to make a first impression; if a restaurant can’t even be bothered to take pride in its external appearance, can it be trusted to take pride in anything else?

The second moment of truth is at the table. (And really, the surrounding tables as well.) Are the tables bussed and wiped down? Are napkins and utensils ready to go? Are condiments clean and full? Are the menus in good shape? And, as the video cites, are the tables physically stable? Servers should check their tables prior to their shifts (and throughout) to make sure they are steady. The same goes for chairs.

Next up is the restroom. Another old adage says that cleanliness is next to godliness—and this is true especially in dining establishments. Restrooms are a critical area to get right, lest you kill your diners’ appetites. Now, each restaurant may have a different policy on whose responsibility it is to clean them, but it is incumbent upon every employee to alert whomever that is to any problem that arises. Restrooms must be well cleaned and well stocked at all times. As the video sagely suggests, if the restroom grosses you out, it’ll also gross out your customers.

The final moment of truth in Making Guests Feel Welcome is the appearance of the server (and the hosts, bussers, and floor managers, too). Many of the facets we’ve covered today relate to hygiene in some way, and this is an equally critical point to make about employees: everything from looking presentable with the right attire and nametag to the personal grooming must be on point. The video goes on to even mention piercings and tattoos, but those elements are going to be seen differently depending on the area and type of establishment.

The outward appearance of the building and parking lot, the state of the dining area and the bathroom, and the grooming of the employees are all about taking pride in your product and in your service. There’s a lot more to learn, but those early impressions will define how your guests see your business.

Be sure to check out Service That Sells to learn more about these workshops, and stay tuned to us at The Brandt Group as we continue our overview of The Cycle of Service. Not only can we help your business develop its standards, we can also help you test them regularly through mystery dining. Reach out to us to learn more.

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