Service Please

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Ah, the age old problem of customer service. From rude waiters to unhelpful managers, sometimes customers feel as if their trip to a restaurant is more of an ordeal than an evening out. However, some members of the hospitality sector are working hard to change the face of customer service from a negative image to a significantly more positive one.

An article on website bon appetit  is proof of this. The article focuses in on the first ever Welcome Conference in which an inspiring talk by Gabe Stulman of West Village restaurants was the topic of conversation for many. At the conference, Stulman went as far as to suggest that restaurants give out dishes for free to diners for no apparent reason other than pure niceness.  He also revealed that he encourages his staff to hug customers as an approach to calming them down if they are impatient or complaining.

Although Stulman’s approach may be unconventional it has gathered momentum in the hospitality sector. An example of one restaurateur who is going to take on Stulman’s advice is Yuen, of Mission Chinese Food, who tweeted  ”Already used @gabrielstulman’s idea of giving an extra dish to a normal diner. One of many ideas from @welcome_nyc

Other advocates of such professional service within the hospitality sector are few and far between. However, we have done a bit of research and found that extraordinary customer care can be found if you are willing to look hard enough.

Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurants in Hawaii are an international example of supreme customer care. Renowned for their Hawaiian hospitality, they incorporate the legendary ”Aloha” spirit into their customers dining experience. They use techniques such as inviting customers into the kitchen to see how meals are prepared, giving them complementary starters or desserts, and taking photos of staff alongside customers to make sure that an evening spent at Roy’s is memorable and enjoyable. Through smart marketing and authentic ideas, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion cuisine has built up a reputation worldwide for the presence of exceptional customer experience.

Social media is constantly upping the stakes of customer service. With customers constantly tweeting or posting on Facebook and Instagram about restaurants they’ve visited and the experience they encountered there, it is little wonder that many food establishments monitor their social media carefully to get an idea of ways to improve their customer service. One example of the clever use of social media in relation to providing customer service was demonstrated by Morton’s Steakhouse, a steakhouse franchise in the USA. When social media expert Peter Shankman tweeted Morton’s Twitter account saying that he would love a steak when he arrived off the flight he was about to embark on, he didn’t expect that a representative from Morton’s would meet him at the airport alongside the steak he requested! Naturally, Peter then promoted Morton’s exceptional customer service to his extensive social media followers, resulting in more business for them. Now that’s what we call knowing how to play the game!

These are more drastic measures to take to ensure successful customer service but nearly all restaurants can take a few simple steps towards improving their customer’s experience. For example, ensuring that all customers are welcomed into the establishment in a friendly yet appropriate way, making sure that their order is taken and their food delivered in a timely manner, and especially by the staff being cheerful and courteous throughout all customer interaction, no matter what requests/problems the customer may have. These baby steps could be the building blocks towards a glowing reputation for customer service which would benefit everybody!


bon appetit







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