UnderCover Waitress: Good Customer Service Means Staying Open

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Good Customer Service Means Staying Open

Restaurants go under when employees don't obey the cardinal rule: good customer service means staying open to serve the customers.

The kitchen and the waitstaff are ready to serve meals at 5:00, but not everyone wants to start in on a three course meal by 5:30. Even people who are seated at 7:00 may wish to linger and enjoy themselves, not be booted out the door at 8:45. Still others may not wish to be seated until 8:45, and any customers who feel that they are imposing on the employees simply won't come back.

Working a dinner shift means being there for the long haul. The absolute worst things a restaurant employee can do include:
  • vacuuming while patrons are still in the dining room
  • clearing things diners are not finished with
  • turning up music, or turning off music
  • turning off most of the lights 
  • putting chairs on tables while guests are still in the restaurant. 
I actually worked for a restaurant in which the chef would start bullying wait staff to get people through so he could close up the kitchen at 9:00. That place lasted less than a year. 

Its hard enough to make ends meet for restaurant owners. Why shoot yourself in the foot? Hire people who either want to be there late into the evening, or at least are willing to pretend that they do. Make customers feel welcome; they will come back and the restaurant will turn a profit.  

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