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Holiday Season Edition: A Restaurant’s Checklist for Great Experience

Now that Halloween is over and daylight savings has ended, it is now time to think about the holiday season. With Thanksgiving less than four weeks away, it’s time to anticipate the holiday crowd, the influx of (hungry) shoppers, and the increase of holiday party catering orders.

As restaurant owners, managers, freelance chefs, and caterers, it is vital to ensure patrons and clients are receiving the utmost service and experience while engaging with your business.

This time of year, presents wonderful opportunities for you to debut new dishes, promote specials, return seasonal items, launch new programs but most importantly bring introduce your brand to new patrons/clients.

Here's the Checklist for a Great User Experience:

1) Clear Messaging

It’s important to have clear messaging between the business and your target audience, management and staff, front house and back house staff, and lastly between your front house staff and patrons. For freelancers and caterers no matter the platform of communicating to your client the message must be the same. This ensures consistency in your brand story and in the overall product or service you are sharing.

2) Front of the House (FOH) Coordination and Customer Service

Actions speak louder than words, saying “Hello, welcome to…” with a sour face, lack of eye contact or smile doesn’t have the same effect as it would with a smile. The front of the house staff is the first point of contact, it sets the tone for your patron’s experience and ensuring the pre-shift huddles emphasize the importance of this. Provide staff training to prepare staff on how to deal with the not-so-nice patrons, this way they have the tools needed and also are empowered to approach problems with professionalism and confidence. In the case of freelancers and caterers this may be a potential client or a current client that is dissatisfied with services or lack of service – being conscious that nothing is personal and de-escalating the problem with without confrontation.

3) Reservation System

Small or large restaurants should have a reservation system in place -– people hate to wait! Having a efficient reservation system especially during the busy season to streamline and organize operations, allows patrons to manage their time, and personalizes the experience. Freelancers and caterers this mean making having an appointment system and for inquiries, communicating the timeframe they should contact you and when you will respond. Doing this sets the tone time management and communication.

4) Personalize the Experience

One of the simplest ways to make a person feel at home is to call them by their name. We all connect through some form of emotion, having the reservation provide the patron’s name or when your waiter introduces themselves ask for the patron’s name(s). For restaurants, freelancers and caterers this means making patrons feel important, creating an inviting atmosphere they’ll want to return to, and listening carefully to what they are expressing. Customer feedback is important to improvement and the overall success of the business.

5) Know Menu Items and Services

Are your waiters able to provide information on catering, any special programs that should be mentioned for discounts, or any upcoming events? Patrons want a knowledgeable waiter that knows specials and any other information about programs or initiatives the restaurant is offering. It’s important that staff learn everything about menu items, services and other products that are sold at the restaurant, so they are better equipped to answer questions.

6) Consistency

Lastly, consistency! In order to curate a unique experience that includes the essence of what your restaurant represents cannot be done once or twice - it must be consistent to ensure success. This means having uniformity of speed, quality and courtesy in delivering the service to the patrons, regardless of time and occasion. The tone has been set and it is an expectation and your responsibility greet your patrons with this to when they enter your establishment or requests your services.

Tis the season to curate your own custom experience!

You Are Your Own PR

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