Diners look forward to great customer service as well as a delicious meal when they come to your restaurant, so it’s important to treat them right. It can be hard, however, to find the right balance between staying on track with table turnover rate and providing customer experiences that are comfortable and enjoyable. You don’t want diners to feel rushed, but letting people linger too long means less throughput and fewer tips for staff. The right timing, usually turning tables once every 90 minutes for casual dining, keeps a restaurant operating at maximum efficiency and results inacceptable wait times, satisfied customers and higher profits and staff gratuities.
There are subtle ways to move diners along, whether your eatery is a casual stop or a chic dining destination. Here are three ways guest and table management tactics can help your staff provide memorable customer service without rushing.
1. Organized seating:
If your restaurant accepts reservations, use a reservation software system. This technology allows you to easily manage customer seating and table service. Heartland’s Digital Dining’s restaurant reservation system and table management modules work together and are completely integrated with the point of sale (POS) system, allowing hosts to control table availability and give guests prompt attention.
Train staff members, especially servers and hosts, to communicate closely with each other so they know when tables will open and start gathering the party to be seated next for faster table turnover. Table and guest management solutions can also assist hosts in assigning tables to diners as they arrive, informing the host as soon as the table opens. The quality of customer service often determines whether a customer will return to your establishment to dine again, so make sure staff can keep wait times reasonable and politely keep parties informed when they ask, “How much longer?”
2. Course timing:
Customers who feel like they were forgotten or let their food get cold while waiting for everyone at their table to be served are unlikely to come back. Guest and table management solutions such as Dinerware include coursing management capabilities, which allows severs to send orders to the kitchen in pieces or group them into courses so the dishes come out at the appropriate times. It’s not enjoyable for a diner to receive their appetizer and dinner at the same time, or for everyone to be eating at different times, so a coursing manager paces the flow checks into the kitchen. This helps avoid kitchen backups or having courses come out too close together, so diners never feel rushed.
3. Integrating technology into your restaurant:
Long waits are unpleasant but asking people who have a reservation to wait is even more frustrating and sets a sour tone. Avoid having to ask your employees to work faster or rush guests. Instead, quickly and efficiently serve customers by incorporating technology into your operation. Guest and table management software helps ensure wait times are always short and people are served quickly and efficiently. These restaurant solutions can handle table transfers, split checks, coursing, happy hour pricing, tabs, and in-house communication so processes are streamlined and you can accommodate guests promptly. Good service in a restaurant matters — it’s not enough to have delicious food. The Front-of-house needs to operate efficiently throughout the entire day. Diners appreciate more attentive customer service and meals that are perfectly timed. Introducing table and guest management solutions to facilitate wait times, seating, coursing, and more will help shave minutes off each table turn without making people feel rushed, so first-time diners become high-value, repeat customers.