How to Improve Restaurant Service Quality: 10 Methods | ResDiary

How to Improve Restaurant Service Quality: 10 Methods | ResDiary

At the heart of every restaurant is the customer. Every restaurant owner, manager and staff member hopes to ensure diners have the best possible experience. That is what service quality is all about.

While this may feel like an intangible goal, there are plenty of simple, actionable steps you can take to achieve better service quality in your restaurant. In our complete guide, we will explain the benefits of improving service quality in your restaurant and 10 strategies to implement in your quest to do so.

What is restaurant service quality?

Service quality refers to the overall elements of the customer experience. That includes customer service, the look and feel of the restaurant, and the service of food. Service quality is where all elements of your restaurant come together to deliver the best possible experience for your customer.

Benefits of improving service quality in a restaurant

Customers are at the heart of the restaurant industry, and excellent service quality creates more satisfied customers. This offers myriad benefits, including better word of mouth about your restaurant (including online reviews), more repeat customers and better morale among employees.

Outstanding service quality can also be a relatively low-cost way to position your restaurant as a more premium experience. Features like delivering excellent customer service and low wait times for food will help your customers perceive your restaurant in a more positive light.

10 ways to improve service quality in restaurant

You now understand why outstanding service quality in your restaurant is immensely important for your restaurant. Thankfully, it does not take excessive time or money to upgrade your restaurant business in this area.

These 10 tips offer simple, low-cost ways to improve your restaurant's service quality and the overall experience of your customers.

1. Train your staff

Staff training can go a long way when working to improve restaurant customer service. It is the perfect way to bring your staff all onto the same page and provide a boost to everyone’s skills.

Here are a few areas to consider honing in on for your staff training:

  • Greetings: The old adage is true: There is no second chance to make a first impression. Customer greetings play an important role in setting the tone for overall good customer service. You can find more tips in our complete guide to customer greetings.
  • Menu knowledge: Staff who are educated on your menu can deliver far better insight for curious customers. Allow your staff to taste the menu and be talked through it by your chefs. Then, teach them how to best impart this knowledge to customers.
  • Teamwork: Teamwork is crucial for smooth restaurant operations, and therefore service quality. Some of the core tenets of teamwork are clear communication and defined roles within the restaurant. Organising team bonding activities can also be a major help here.

2. Solicit customer feedback

Customer feedback is an exceptional reservoir of knowledge about your restaurant. Your diners are likely brimming with ideas to improve your venue. Acquiring and enacting this feedback will not only improve your restaurant, it will also help your customers feel more valued.

When soliciting customer feedback, you should offer the opportunity for customers to privately communicate with your restaurant. This might include Google Forms or simply starting a conversation with them about how they would improve your venue.

You can also encourage customers to share online reviews for your business. This not only allows you to gain knowledge from customer feedback but to enjoy other benefits including better word-of-mouth about your business and increased visibility in search engines.

3. Handle customer complaints

You should develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) for dealing with customer complaints, and train your staff on how to enact it. Teach your staff how to listen and empathise with complaints, and to apologise when appropriate.

Staff members should also be aware of when it is appropriate to involve management in a customer complaint. When you are involved in a complaint as a restaurant manager, aim to clearly understand and empathise with the issue raised.

When handling complaints, it is important to direct the conversation into finding a resolution to the issue. If appropriate, you could also offer some kind of free products or services to the customer in an attempt to make amends.

Also be sure to follow up with the customer, and inform them of any changes you have made in response to the issues they have raised.

4. Effectively utilise technology

If you are not going the extra mile to utilise technology in your restaurant, you risk falling behind your competition. Technological developments provide a plethora of opportunities to improve processes in your restaurant and deliver superior service quality.

Here are a few ways you should consider incorporating technology into your restaurant:

  • Table management systems: Digital table management systems such as ResDiary can vastly improve service quality in your restaurant. Digital management of reservations is simply superior to analogue alternatives, while an automated phone service in ResPhone makes taking reservations even easier. This improves service quality from the very beginning of your customer’s interaction with your business. It also frees up time for staff to focus on diners on the floor.
  • EPOS: Electronic point-of-sale systems seem to be a prerequisite in restaurants these days, but are you taking advantage of the best of the best? Among ResDiary's 60 integrations are a range of excellent EPOS systems. Failures in your POS system can cause major frustration for customers and impact their perception of service quality.
  • AI: Want to get really creative with the use of technology in your restaurant? Why not incorporate AI tools such as ChatGPT into your venue? For example, you could use it to create menu descriptions. This could enable your customers to be more engaged by your menu and make a more satisfying choice of dish. This helps to prevent disappointment and ensure your customer is always thrilled with their choice of dish.

5.  Add a personal touch

Superior service quality is all about making your customers feel valued, and nothing makes us feel more valued than personalisation.

This starts with a greeting. Your front of house staff should use reservation data and their personal knowledge of returning customers to address incoming diners by name wherever possible.

Maybe your customers have come in to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday. You could mark this with a free dish or drink or by having staff members address it. Consider ideas like writing "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations" on a dish in melted chocolate to finish the meal.

These strategies and more help your customers to feel valued and special when they dine in your restaurant. Exceptional customer service is all about exceeding expectations and personalisation is the perfect way to do just that.

6. Optimise kitchen operations

A great kitchen is crucial to the operation of a successful restaurant. Layout, workflows and well-trained staff all help to improve service quality in your restaurant.

Perhaps most significantly, optimised kitchen operations will lead to more delicious and well-presented food in your restaurant. This is an often-overlooked aspect of service quality, but it is crucial. Naturally, menu items served to customers play a major role in their perception of the restaurant experience.

Optimised kitchen operations allow your back of house to consistently deliver brilliant food to customers. It helps to reduce wait times and different meals being served at the same time at one table. These are important features of a premium restaurant experience.

7. Provide accurate wait times, and stick to them

Long wait times can have a seriously negative impact on a customer's perception of your restaurant. Nobody likes waiting a long time for their meal, and people especially hate when inaccurate wait times are provided.

Research has found that providing pessimistic suggestions of wait times and over-delivering helps improve the customer experience. It is also helpful to provide more frequent progress updates.

In addition to ensuring your kitchen is as efficient as possible, the front of house has a role to play in wait times. Firstly, it is important that they are capable of providing accurate wait times to customers upon request. This should be a feature of your restaurant's customer service training.

Communication plays an important role in wait times, as front of house staff must promptly inform the kitchen of the orders. Any miscommunications in this area can majorly impact wait times. Chefs must be aware of the wait times that customers expect so they can work towards them.

8. Improve your decor

When looking to achieve superior service quality in your restaurant, go beyond the obvious elements of working to improve customer service and food. Decor, from your walls to your dining equipment, plays a major role in a customer's perception of service quality.

One way to ensure your decor and dining equipment is up to scratch is by using the services of a professional interior designer. If you would rather attempt this on your own, there is a wealth of knowledge available via the Internet and other resources to help guide you.

Research has indicated that customers find extensive wait times less disturbing and stressful when they are in an environment they find to be pleasant. Putting serious time and effort into the decor of your restaurant can pay dividends in many ways.

Here are a few quick interior design tips for restaurants:

  • Start with your floor plan: Many restaurants do not give their floor plans the proper attention they deserve. Check out our guide with 6 floor plan ideas to help you discover the best one for your venue.
  • Consider lighting: Lighting plays a critical role in interior design, affecting the mood of an area, changing the perception of your diners and highlighting different areas of a room. For example, consider the difference between candles and LED lighting. You need to ponder your choice of lighting to hit the right notes in your restaurant.
  • Choose colours carefully: Colours are another critical feature in the mood and aesthetic of a particular space. For example, warm colours can feel inviting and comforting, while cooler colours can project relaxation and tranquillity. Finding the right colour palette for your venue is a crucial factor in interior design.

9. Prioritise cleanliness

Needless to say, customers expect a clean, hygienic restaurant experience. There is no overstating how much it can hurt the perception of your restaurant if you fail to meet these expectations.

Restaurant owners and managers should be well aware of the relevant hygiene standards for their jurisdiction. You should also seek to exceed these regulations.

Some tips for ensuring your restaurant is clean at all times include:

  • Establish a clear cleaning schedule and ensure it is rigorously adhered to.
  • Ensure that all linens in your venue are clean at all times. This may include serviettes, tablecloths and curtains.
  • Make sure your staff are frequently washing their hands and following other regular hygiene procedures.
  • Deep clean your restaurant on a regular basis.

10. Borrow from your peers

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. When you go out to eat yourself and find an idea you believe could translate into your own venue, note it down and implement it.

Don't set your sights too low when deciding on your "peers". If you find yourself at a critically acclaimed restaurant run by a world-famous chef, soak up every possible detail you can and consider how you can implement them in your restaurant.

You might notice particular behaviours of the waitstaff which give the restaurant a premium feel. Perhaps the restaurant has a unique approach to dinnerware that you can incorporate in your own venue. Bringing together these concepts will allow you to develop the best possible hospitality venue of your own.

Improve service quality in your restaurant with ResDiary

ResDiary aims to help your restaurant to function properly in a wide variety of ways, from streamlining your reservation systems to offering integrations including EPOS and property management systems.

We also offer assistance in areas including marketing and loyalty programs. This means you and your team get to focus on delivering better customer service and delicious food while we help take care of other facets of your venue.

ResDiary is the perfect partner to help elevate your restaurant and reach new levels of customer satisfaction. Book a demo today and discover how we can deliver what your restaurant needs to thrive.