Restaurant management all over the world initiate impressive approaches to improve their customer services. However, the realization part comes when these approaches have to be fully agreed upon by the employees who are essentially responsible for their implementation. The history of restaurant business reveals that policy making for customer service has been a. painless effort, but attaining employee acceptance to the same for making it operational is the more challenging area. This impracticability of customer services' policies in restaurant management has led most strategies to failure from their initiation.
This failure in policy implementation has been a persistent reason for perplexity and disappointment to top managements of restaurants. Restaurant managements suppose that when they have disclosed a certain policy for customer service, employees will comprehend the strategy behind it with the same frame of mind wherewith it was framed. Additionally they presume that the launched customer service program would be put into operation in such a manner that an improved level of customer service would be noticeable for customers.
Unfortunately, these assumptions are incorrect, proving to be a failure cause. Top managements in the restaurant industry overlook the fact that customer service is very closely related to employee commitment to the restaurant. Policy implementation in this negligence does not only worsen the sales trends and service quality, but also decline employee morale who suppose that the management is inconsiderate of their work input, hence giving inadequate returns.
The following paper primarily describes the concept of customer service in restaurant management. Thereafter, it shows how the improvement of customer services in restaurant management depends upon the management's and the employee's approach towards each other, the establishment and the services. It also provides research findings on the subject and recommendations that can help improve customer service in restaurant management.
Defining Customer Service in Restaurant Management
To most people, customer service is an unquantifiable attribute, only understood by experiencing. Some may say that it is about giving the treatment the way a customer wants in a restaurant, while others suppose it to give a domesticated feeling of home to the customers. In whichever words the concept may be defined, customer service is said to exist whenever there is a contact between a restaurant's staff and its customer. Upon contact, one of the two possible outcomes occurs:
It results in a clash that renders the customer annoyed and discouraged by the restaurant management, or It results in a contented and enjoyable meeting that makes a lasting impression on the customer who is keen to visit the restaurant place again.
For illustration, poor examples of customer service can be experienced in a restaurant when an individual is ignored by a waiter; the restaurant's staff is found to prioritize contact with each other over customer contact; or the host at the restaurant door offers an anesthetized response instead of a warm, gratuitous welcome.
Bearing the elaboration mentioned above in mind, customer service in a restaurant management can be defined as a contact between a customer and a restaurant, whether active or passive, which results in a customer's positive or negative opinion of the restaurant company. Apart from the service offered by the restaurant, this opinion is also determined by the expectations that a customer has with the restaurant representative that he comes in contact with. If the service exceeds his expectations the customer is satisfied, while if the services fall short of his expectations, the customer is disappointed.
The Restaurant Management Approach
The Industrial Era's school of thought was established on the notion that employees were not at all bothered to provide quality service since they abhorred working. They were given directives like any automated machine is directed a set of instructions. With the exception of employee collapses that included wounds or ailment, tasks were reluctantly accomplished.
In most cases, restaurant managements decline to the ideology of the U.S. Industrial Era wherein employees were regarded as a constituent of manufacture process, no different than any mechanized paraphernalia. Intentionally or unintentionally, they disregard the fact that implementation of all programs, policies and strategies though ultimately affect customer satisfaction, but revolve around the internal public of the restaurant organization.
In order to effectively implement a strategy for improved customer service, it is imperative for a restaurant management to primarily initiate a favorable environment that develops employee self-esteem and a drive to improve service quality. It is unquestionably proven that customer service is a long-term commitment on a daily basis. Realization of its significance and the belief therein is very crucial for every employee in the restaurant industry. If a restaurant management fails to instill this realization, employees consider every program for customer service development to be another whim and fancy of the management that shall disappear gradually after a pithy session of activities. Employees see initiation of many such programs, but without their belief in them, a program's success is not possible.
The Restaurant Employee Approach
Research findings as well as history ascertain persistently that employees do not hate to work. Employees joining the restaurant service industry have the free choice whereby they choose the profession and join therein, apart from their needs of livelihood. Not only are employees willing to work, they take pleasure in it. Employees' reluctance towards work depends on their dissatisfaction with the restaurant management policies. An employee can only work for the customer service improvement in a restaurant if the restaurant management works for the satisfaction of his needs and comfort. Research proves that once a restaurant has attained the satisfaction of its employees, their conscience towards the quality of their work increases as it becomes an essential for their self-respect, significance and individual happiness.
In order to exemplify the disparity in attitudes of employees one can reflect on the following allegory:
Mr. X has two friends, Mr. Y and Mr. Z, working in the restaurant industry on the same posts in different organizations. Upon inquiring about their service, Mr. Y remarked, "I'm wasting my skills on an underpaid job for inconsiderate owners." On the other hand, Mr. Z says, "I am managing the entire buffet for the restaurant's branch."
The distinction in employee attitudes reveals two types of employee approaches. The first one is an employee who was simply part of the manufacturing process as a gear, while the second is a dedicated one who considers restaurant project as his own. Consequently, the former works to merely satisfy his livelihood needs while the latter considers him as a part of the restaurant management. However, these approaches heavily depend on the management approach that determines them.
Principles of Customer Service
The following are the basic principles necessary for effective customer service in a restaurant management:
Commitment to the service, with due regard of its importance as the source of restaurant's thrive. Upon achievement, it should be realized, cherished, retained, and adequately rewarded.
Realize that it is not the food product that the restaurant is merely selling. The major part of customers' payments is for the services they expect from the restaurant.
Adding quality to the services, the restaurant is not only selling the usage of its employees; it sells its employees for the particular time to its customers.
All strategies and policies developed for improving customer services should keep the restaurant employees, who are primarily responsible for their implementation, in mind.
The marketing activities should not only give emphasis to the restaurant's products, but also its employees.
The restaurant employees should be given the feeling that they are an important component of a privileged group of individuals.
Customer services and sales figures are directly proportional to the employee morale and self-esteem. If the latter are amplified, the former will automatically be boosted.
Ascertain that all restaurant employees that are directly concerned with customer contacts have self-sufficiency in obliging their customers. If it demands adjusting against a restaurant's policy, the bent should not be hesitated.
Restaurant policies that have demanded relaxation in order to accommodate customers should be closely observed and noted for amendments or a total abandonment.
Always have an edge over the competitor by knowing him. An easy way to do this is to let the key employees of one's establishment intermingle with those at the competitor's restaurant. This provides a good understanding of what works and what doesn't
Before allowing free intermingling between one's employees and those of the competitor, he should ascertain that their loyalty with the company is stronger than their individual relationships.
Conclusively, the restaurant management should keep its focus on its employees and customers alike. They both constitute the restaurant's business. Negligence towards any of the two can result in a bust
Attaining Customer Satisfaction with Difficult Customers
Difficult customers are an indispensable part of the restaurant business. Such customers cause exhaustion of restaurant staff, reduced employee drive, parting of individuals from the restaurant industry completely. Additionally, the word of mouth from discontented customers can cause heavy losses to a restaurant's repute in its market. However, such adverse circumstances and customers can be…