Personalize the Dining Experience

July 17, 2014 - 5 minutes read

What keeps your guests coming back time and again? Perhaps it’s your daily specials, menu or location. Maybe they appreciate how your staff personalizes the dining experience and the way they make each guest feel like the valued individual they are. No matter what type of restaurant you run, grab your guests’ attention with the following tips and keep them coming back for more with a personalized approach to guest service.

Get to Know Your Guests

Your staff won’t know names of first-time guests, but when the guests become regulars, not only can your staff remember their names, but also where they prefer to sit. Remember how they take their coffee or what they did on their recent vacation. Use whatever techniques you need to ensure your staff knows the guests, and your friendliness, rapport and relationship will ensure loyalty.

Keep it Comfortable

Have you ever tried to visit with friends while sitting in a cluttered space or on the world’s hardest chair? It’s not an experience that keeps you coming back. So, sit on your restaurant’s chairs, pull up to the table, try out the lobby benches and look around at the walls. If you’re comfortable, your guests will be comfortable, and they’re more likely to return.

Create an Intimate Dining Experience

Every life event from birthdays to anniversaries and everything in-between includes food, and you’re going to have guests who are celebrating, mourning, reconnecting and engaging with loved ones. Make them feel at home even during your busiest and noisiest hours as your staff creates an intimate dining experience for your guests.

*Greet guests with a smile and try to get them to smile.

*Limit clutter on the tables.

*Anticipate needs for beverages, extra napkins or the check before customers ask.

Care About the Community

Whether you run a franchise or locally-owned restaurant, you’re part of the neighborhood. Be part of your guests’ lives and show them that you care about the community when you:

*Buy produce from local farmers.

*Participate in the local block party.

*Celebrate local traditions, cultures and holidays with relevant specials.

*Support community fundraisers.

Clean the Bathrooms

The bathrooms are not the first thing your customers see, but they are an important part of the dining experience. Are the bathrooms clean, neat and tidy? Do all the doors to the stalls lock? Are the dispensers fully stocked? Do you have plenty of protective liners for the baby changing stations? Your guests shouldn’t have to track someone down for toilet paper or avoid the bathrooms because they look grimy. Pay attention to these details, and your customers will be happy. Remember that in the guests’ eyes, your bathrooms are a reflection of how clean your kitchen may or may not be.

Stay Active on Social Media

You can’t rely on Facebook, Twitter or your blog to keep revenue flowing, but your customers do value hearing about new specials, seeing pictures of employees in action and learning more about your community involvement. Even more importantly, they want you to be genuine. Go ahead and post a favorite poem about food, issue a public apology for mixing up an order and respond with grace to a negative review. Your activity on social media can and should be personal as you connect to people instead of trying solely to sell your product.
Staying personal in an impersonal age challenges most restaurant owners. You can do it right, though, and grow your business when you implement these tips. What other ways can you think of to make your business personal?

About the author:

ezr-adlerEzra Adler is the Ecommerce Marketing Director for Culinary Depot Inc., located in Monsey, NY. As a leading online retailer for kitchen equipment and supplies, the company has a large selection of products for your commercial kitchen or restaurant.




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