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One of the simple joys in life is enjoying a meal in a restaurant with friends and family. Maintaining high standards of service is a must. So let's consider how your systems and processes can be improved for a better customer experience and gain your trust in an age of social distancing, stricter security protocols and restaurants that are subject to government service restrictions to the steady rise in COVID-19 cases reduce. Using the guest experience as the main objective and priority, let's examine how we can improve them while maximizing your company's productivity and profitability.
Innovative reservation program
As entrepreneurs, let's innovate in how we can best serve our customers and provide our teams with the solution, system, and process to help us achieve our company's goals. In a time of a global pandemic, there is a risk that people will gather, especially in large numbers, for whatever reason, including to dine in a company.
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To address this problem, both parties (consumers and businesses) can save time and effort by having a reservation system that allows customers to order and pay for their meals in advance. Given the options, they can order and pick up their take-away food and drink with the option of doing the same for their dinner experience.
When you adopt and implement this approach, your best bet is to create a fun marketing initiative that promotes the benefits of your new program to your consumers and embodies the goals of your program: 1) Ensure their wellbeing and safety by reducing the waiting time efficiently . This includes all activities that were spent in the facility during its idle time, e.g. For example, sitting and waiting for commands to put them in groups of waiting users that could leave them vulnerable to the virus. 2) Highlight the convenience of this service for working professionals where they can get their favorite dishes without worrying about being late for shift.
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As part of your online ordering system, provide guests with the ability to enter optional notes when booking their reservations, allowing them to change their meals and set meal preferences for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, business meetings, etc.
Increase table turnover rates
One result of such a service would be an increase in your table turnover rates. The front and back of the work of the house becomes more predictable as it allows for an efficient workflow that can eliminate late orders. Inventory is kept based on what customers really want to avoid when their orders are out of stock. However, before implementing such a system, create a detailed master plan that will allow you to launch this new service as seamlessly as possible.
Seat and cancellation conditions
For the success of your reservation program, it is important to establish clearly defined, written and advertised seating and cancellation conditions. Give your guests guidelines explaining the system before proceeding with reservations, orders, and payments. Staff must also be properly trained and prepared for the new system in order to guide customers and provide satisfactory service.
When preparing to go to Japan with my son a few years ago, I was surprised to learn that an all-you-can-eat restaurant we were interested in dining on on the deadlines stated, like long you could sit, eat and eat at the tables drinking. Part of the rules that I read on their website also indicated that even though you have food or a drink on the table after your allotted time, it is still all discarded.
The same practice can also be adapted to help make this program successful. Set a time limit for the duration of a reservation, keeping in mind that each table is reserved for a certain period of time to accommodate other guests, similar to scheduled doctor's appointments.
Specifying these guidelines sets expectations and removes the awkwardness of getting guests to leave at a specific time. This allows your employees to prepare for the next reservation by sanitizing and disinfecting important items and areas in your facility.
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For guests who need a longer dining experience, create a special program to respond to these requests by allowing longer reservations for special events or by having an effective means of communication that prevents you from meeting their requests.
Accountability to the restaurant and the guest
Efforts to ensure the effectiveness of an innovative system include accountability on both sides. This means your company must meet the end of the deal by serving guests right away and accurate after they are seated, making sure you have what they ordered in stock. A seamless and timely experience can be made possible by preparing all the essential items such as spices and utensils for the dining experience in advance.
While seated, each guest should receive napkins, utensils, their drinks, water, the appropriate spices, straws, etc. Pre-packaging, even of the real cutlery, is good to reduce possible contamination. Delete the tables immediately between courses and specify the appropriate settings, etc. There's no need to print a check after your meal as these have already been ordered, paid for, and hopefully tipped in advance.
Prepare popular food additives upon request. Only allow add-ons to a meal if they are simple menu items that do not require additional time to prepare, extend the meal time or interrupt the flow of services, unless they are ordered to take away. In such scenarios, you will have an updated e-check that can act as a receipt, which you can easily write, and which you can check on your cell phones to provide the payment. This reduces the number of contacts you have among each other and also gives you a backup of the servers at your terminals.
Internal communication system
Trying to find a server after you leave can be both difficult and time consuming. For example, design an internal communication system using text messaging that allows guests and servers to communicate with each other instead of waiting for their server to come back or be seen again.
Another part of this system could include a time update, just like parking meters, letting them know that their time at the table is about to run out. This will keep the guests on their scheduled schedule, but make sure you notify them politely and professionally.
Test some of these suggestions and adapt them to the specific needs of your guests and your establishment, measure your results and get feedback from your guests, management and staff. Give the program a good effort before deciding whether you will face challenges in the beginning.