A restaurant experience is just that – an experience. While the food plays a big part, a good restaurant meal can be found many places. It’s every detail combined that makes it a true experience worth remembering, sharing and returning. This is especially true on special occasions for many restaurant guests.
How can your restaurant make that experience memorable, sharable, and worth the return? Make it personal:
If it’s important to them, it should be important to you:
If a customer tells you something, it’s important to them, even if they don’t make a big deal of it. If they casually mention it’s an anniversary, or perhaps their first night out leaving a new baby, they’ve said it out loud because it’s on their mind and important to them. If it’s important to them, it should be important to you.
A complimentary glass of champagne goes a long way, but may not be the most memorable part of the night. A server that smiles, asks how many years you’ve been married, or offers to keep a close eye in case you get a call from that first-time babysitter and need to leave in a rush, can make a lasting impression. Caring gestures and words make a customer feel cared for on a personal level – it’s the difference between feeling like a customer and feeling like a guest.
Pay attention to them and they’ll pay more attention to you:
You can give personal attention to your guests without getting in their personal space – not every customer will want to talk to servers or tell you why they are dining with you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give personal attention. If a customer is a familiar face, let them know you recognize them and appreciate their continued patronage. A simple “Welcome back, good to see you,” tells them you noticed, and wine suggestions based on their usual preferences tells them they are part of the “in crowd.”
If they’re not a regular, paying attention could make them one. “If you like this, then you’ll love that” type suggestions on food and wine not only show that you noticed and are interested in their preferences, but also show that your servers know and love what they are selling.
If they are foodies, consider special attention from the chef. If they are obviously into their wine, a tour of the wine cellar, an impromptu wine tasting or a complimentary glass of dessert wine that would simply go perfect with that dessert (even though they didn’t order it) are all small things that enhance an experience and give guests more to remember and share.
Make their experience and experience to remember.