5 MORE Critical Points of Contact in Your Restaurant*

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Labor, Operations, Training

*From FohBoh my FohBohist contribution for this week.

By David Scott Peters

In an article I wrote for my June member newsletter, I offered five critical points of contact in every restaurant. Each point of contact revolves around the idea that you only get one chance to impress a customer. Then you have to keep impressing them every time they come back.

The first five points of contact were:

1. First impression outside your restaurant, such as advertising
2. Facilities
3. Greeting customers
4. Bussers
5. Servers

These five areas set up your guests’ expectation of you and give them an experience they will come back for again and again.

Here I’d like to highlight five MORE critical points of contact.

6. Managers: They spend a lot of time on the floor, touching tables and managing your staff. They set the tone for the shift, influencing the ebbs and flows. Make sure they’re on the floor, checking in with customers, supporting the bussers and the servers. The question shouldn’t be, “How is everything?”, but more specific. For example, “How was your steak? Was it cooked to your liking? Is this your first time here? What brought you back?” Managers have to show interest and sincerity in your guests. They are an extension of you.

7. Kitchen and food arrangement: Servers must turn in their food orders with which position at the table each plate goes to. Have you ever seen a server auctioning off drinks or entrees to the highest bidder? “Who had the spaghetti?” Repeat what the item is and if there were any special preparations, then present it to the proper guest. Show you care and that you listen.

8. Bathrooms: Make sure the bathrooms are clean and are on a cleaning schedule. The bathrooms are a direct reflection on your kitchen. If you don’t want to go in there, then neither does your guest.

9. Presentation of the check: This has everything to do with the server’s tip and the guests’ experience. Don’t let the server drop the check and then disappear. Pay attention to the cues at the table. If it takes too long for the check to dropped off and/or picked up for payment, it can literally flush a good experience down the drain.

10. Thank you and invite back: This step is just as important as the greeting. In fact, I think it might be more important considering they just spent their money in your establishment. I would rather be yelled at from the back of the restaurant than ignored or not even noticed as I leave.

Test it out for yourself. Visit a few restaurants and take note of those who do all five of these (10 including the steps above) correctly. There won’t be many that score a perfect 10. Challenge yourself to do all 10 and see how successful you can be and how much it improves your guests’ experiences.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, coach, trainer and speaker, specializing in systems for independent restaurant owners. He is the nationally acclaimed restaurant coach whose unique “SMART Systems” approach to boosting profits has earned him the title of, “The man who can walk into any restaurant in America and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door – Guaranteed!” Visit www.TheRestaurantExpert.com for more.

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