The fact is, Sweden is on a mission to outlaw cash. People use cards all the time there. Swedish buses do not accept coins and notes. Nor does the Stockholm metro. Over the border, Danish people don’t like using cash either. This is probably a good thing. Because soon they might not even be able to.
Extrinsic motivation refers to external influences that impacts staff performance. External motivators can be either positive, like grades, awards or rewards, or negative like a punishment. While intrinsic factors cannot be easily influenced by the manager, extrinsic values are completely within his control. The difference between a good and bad manager often comes down to the ability to understand his staff. A good manager should know and understand his staff in order to motivate each one in one way or another, that is a raise or a bonus, or a promotion or a change of task, in order to create diversification and subsequently more focus in the new challenge.
Be kind toward your organisation. Take good care of each staff member and it will create a feeling of belongingness. A closely knit and coordinated team will always be more productive than one that is scattered. Simple team-building sessions or events like staff parties is a great way to weld the team, while also giving the team a chance to put down tensions created during long and exhausting working hours. It’s also important to remember to celebrate the small successes, to make the team feel like they can make a difference and have an impact on results.
Make sure you look professional by keeping your uniform nice and tidy. It is really important to keep in mind that as a waiter, you are the face of your restaurant. In order to do that, sometimes you need to forget what is going on in your private life and try not to bring your problems with you to work. Keep up with your personal hygiene, look sharp, subtle make-up for the waitresses and freshly trimmed beards for the men are a big plus.
2. Be nice and kind
Greet your guests with a big smile, and try to keep smiling throughout the evening, even during the most stressful times. This gives your customers the impression that they are welcome, that everything is fine and that they have nothing to worry about. At the same time, try to understand your guests and what they need. Some guests like to be talked to whereas others want peace and quiet while they order. Keep this in mind and try to match their needs. This becomes truly challenging when your guests are unpleasant or rude, bringing us straight to the next point.
3. Treat everyone equally
This one is probably the hardest one. It is really easy to deal with good and polite customers but, unluckily, these are not the only kinds of guests to enter your restaurant. You have to rely on your own self-control to stay calm and maintain a positive attitude. If you succeed, you will provide a good service even to the most nasty customer, who might reward your hard work with a bonus in the form of a tip.
4. Be a storyteller
Although this point can vary depending on different factors, including what kind of restaurant you are part of, you can improve the experience of yours guests by telling the story of both your restaurant and the food they eat. Explaining where the food comes from, how it’s made and other small anecdotes can be part of what makes it a memorable dining experience. You can strengthen your service with small facts about the food, the wine or history about the restaurant. Again, it is important to read the situation and evaluate what your customers would find interesting to hear about. If asked, you can also talk about yourself, answering their questions, but always keep in mind that they came to have a comfortable and relaxed experience – do not reflect onto them your stress or problems! These small talks can contribute to the overall environment for the clients, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
5. Anticipate the needs
Try to read all the different situations and do not wait for your guest to ask you. If you see that they finished their drinks, approach the table and ask if they need some more. After a few bites, ask them how their food is. Try and be smart about how and when you approach your guests – if a couple is having a romantic candlelit dinner, it is more likely that they want to be left alone to focus on each other rather than the waiter. A bigger group of friends may be more likely to listen to small talk.
6. Sharing is caring
If customers are coming to your restaurant, especially if it’s not for the first time, it is doubtful that they do it only for the service or the food. It is a combination of the varied elements that makes the overall experience memorable. Even though it may feel like a punch to the stomach to share your hard-earned tips with your colleagues, it creates a good atmosphere amongst the staff. You never know when you are about to have a bad day, and good colleagues (who like you) are more likely to help you get through your shift.
7. Something to keep in mind
We would like to give you a couple of guidelines that can sum up basically all of the above.
First, try to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Understand their frustrations, their excitement. Think about what it takes to create a good environment to dine in from their perspective and how you would like to be treated.
Secondly, go the extra mile for your customer. They will notice the effort and reward you for making their night special. If you do something out of the ordinary for them, meeting their needs and guiding them through their dining experience, they will most likely express their gratitude by giving you tips.
It’s a common belief that the life of a restaurant is in the hands of the chef behind the stove. And while the chef’s abilities to create tasty gastronomic goods are a vital part of any place that serves food, there is another position in the restaurant that holds the same amount of responsibilities, and is equally responsible for its success – namely the restaurant manager.
Whereas the chef is mostly occupied with what happens behind-the-scenes and in the kitchen, the responsibilities of the restaurant manager are different. This person is tasked with looking into every single aspect of the day-to-day operations – from marketing the restaurant, to the quality of the food.
Managers need to work hand in hand with chefs to come up with the right formula to bring in guests. According to Zea Proukou, these are the most important traits for a successful restaurant manager to have.
1. Profitable Thinking
The ultimate goal of a restaurant manager is to make profit for the restaurant and its’ owners. No one likes to be the one who has to consider price and profitability in every new dish or drink, but a good restaurant manager is painfully aware of the components of his products. At the same time, it is equally important that the manager keeps in mind that the most valuable resource in the restaurant is in fact the customers.
Without them, a business has no reason to exist, and a manager should be conscious of it. Sometimes making a calculated decision to not prioritize profit can fix an unpleasant situation or provide value to the customer that ensures he comes back for another visit. A satisfied customer will come again and/or recommend it to friends, family, coworkers. Nowadays, most restaurants are not just selling meals but a whole experience. Creating the atmosphere, storytelling and staging up a show for the clients can make a difference between a bad restaurant and a successful one.
2. Physical Stamina
The best managers can stay on their feet all day long. Customers may not think about it, but being a manager in a busy restaurant can be both mentally and physically taxing. Healthy habits are required to be able to run around a restaurant daily and make sure that everyone provides great service. Sure, there’s no need to be a body-builder – but standing on your feet (almost) all day is different from a regular office job where you sit comfortable on your blue ergonomic chair from nine to five. Furthermore, during the high season, it can be mentally draining.
For a manager, it is really important to know and recognize his own limits, paying attention to the different signals that his mind is sending, avoiding a breakdown. In order to reach a better mindfulness of himself, a manager should find time for some physical activity. Besides a good workout, physical activity will act as a mental reset and a break from the hassle and stress of the restaurant. Meditation can also be a good method, not only to distract from the stress of the workplace, but also increasing self-awareness. A good rule to keep in mind is “the more you work with your mind, the less you work with your legs!”.
It’s tiring in a lot of ways. Certainly it’s physically draining, because when it’s hectic you run, run, run. I used to actually use a pedometer on my busier shifts just to see. You walk a lot, and blow through shoes. I used to work at a place where we would also have crazy parties and we’d be hoisting trays and plates, people were always blown away by how many plates I can carry on my arms. I’m like, “I’ve got ten years under my belt, guys. My right arm is super strong.”
Marie, restaurant manager in New York.
3. Thinking on your feet
No matter how good you are at your job, there will always be challenges and unexpected issues when you work in the service industry. When dealing with people on a daily basis, you can never completely guard yourself against all possible scenarios. For this reason, the ability to think on your feet and react accordingly is exceptionally important for a restaurant manager. He is the face of the restaurant and has to deal with all customer related issues. Besides customer complaints, his work also extends to other management related tasks such as marketing, logistics and managing his staff.
Furthermore, a manager has to be able to adapt to the different situations and challenges that he faces every day. Most of the time, similar scenarios have different solutions, and the signals are not always clear, especially for the inexperienced. Composure and the ability to keep cool in stressful situations are traits that cannot be underestimated in a restaurant manager. It is important to remember as much as possible about the people you are serving. Some people have special needs or requests, while some menus can be tricky to remember. Some customers like to be talked to, others want to be left alone – it is up to the waiter or manager to recognize the difference.
In this case, the best way to train your skills, is just work. Experience and dedication to give a great service to the clients is what will make the difference.
4. Customer service savviness
The restaurant business is full of surprises and difficult, annoying customers. Some of them may have dietary concerns like allergies. Some may need a place to hold their lunch meetings at the last minute. A large group made a reservation that can barely fit in any of the dining areas. Or a group of people comes in 2 minutes before closing and orders the longest item to cook that’s available on the menu. All these can rattle an inexperienced manager.
For these reasons, a good manager needs to have the skills to read people. Not only clients, but also staff members, in order to create an environment that that encourages good service and a warm atmosphere. He knows that happy and collaborative staff can deliver a great service. One of the challenges of being a manager is also the mediation. While unsatisfied consumers can be turned around using a mix of psychology, charm and, if possible, something on the house, impartial mediation and talkative skills will maintain a good working environment even when tension arise, especially in stressful situations. As a leader, he must lead by example, understand the concerns of his staff and help them out as much as possible. Working in the restaurant industry can be mentally draining, and it’s important to have a manager who can assemble the troops and motivate his employees to produce their best work. It is really important, especially for a manager, to be able and willing to go the extra mile for both clients and colleagues.
5. Strong interpersonal skills
A tired wait staff and a super stressed kitchen crew are common things that a manager faces on a daily basis. He must have the right personality to counter and balance these challenges. He must be able to combine a pleasant way of talking to the staff with a results-driven approach to the business. When chaos happens, he must have the skill to gather everyone to work as a team, while simultaneously smiling and appearing to have everything under control in the eyes of the customer. Communication and collaboration are the most powerful weapons to restaurant staff.
6. The Golden Skill
The hospitality industry is both challenging and stressful. Decisions have to be made in a short amount of time, all the while trying to please as many people as possible. Therefore, a manager must be able to exploit all the skills mentioned above, pushing himself to the limit and raising the bar. To make everything easier for everyone, a restaurant manager must be armed with common sense. Being a master of the rational art will ease everyone else’s job – and that is the true goal of the restaurant manager.
Mediate with unsatisfied customers, recognizing the problems before they will become too hard to handle, not only with the patrons but also between the staff and try to fix aspects of the service are only few of the daily challenges that a restaurant manager have to face on a daily base and being rational and logical will give the solution to a many, if not all, of the problems.
Even though most of us understand what it is and why loyalty is important, there are still many companies that don’t succeed in getting the best out of their customers. Loyal customers can be the definitive difference between success and failure for your company – not only do they spend more money in your store than the average customer, they will also recommend your company to their network of friends and family and become a marketing channel by themselves. It will always be cheaper and more profitable to have loyal customers than first-time visitors, and in fact research claims that loyal customers, throughout their lifetime, can earn your company 10 times more. We’ve made a list of a few easy tips to keep in mind when dealing with your customers.
”Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless” – Jeffret Gitomer
1. Know your customers!
If you don’t know who your customers are, you will never be able to provide the value they require to become loyal customers. Not greeting a returning customer with the recognition they expect will be a missed opportunity to make them feel valued. We all know the feeling – it sucks when someone doesn’t remember your name, and you feel like you haven’t made an impression. If you don’t learn to appreciate these customers, your competitors will happily take over. Statistics show that only about 4% of your customers will actually tell you why they are upset – the rest switch companies without telling you, and are lost. This should illustrate how important it is to listen to the needs of your customers.
Make use of a database. Depending on the type of business you run, there are countless ways to do so. Some companies can make use of CRM (Customer Relationshop Management) tools that keep track of your customers sales data, others can benefits from a modern POS (Point Of Sale) system that gives access to sales data right at your fingertips. For example, large hotel chains will know exactly when you last visited, what you purchased, your room preferences and your allergies, thus allowing them to personalize your experience and creating more value than initially provided by the hotel room.
”Make a customer, not a sale” – Katherine Barchetti
2. Spoil your customers and give them a REASON to be loyal!
Once you know who your customers are and have access to contact information and sales data, you can improve the customer experience in countless ways. Create targeted campaigns for those customers that have visited your business several times, give a discount on the 10th visit or send them important information directly. There is most likely 100 companies who can do almost the same as you do, so make sure to do something your competitors don’t and put it in the extra effort. Is the customer on your website for the first time? Offer them free delivery of their purchase. Did someone buy a pair of shoes that didn’t live up to expectations? Give them a pair of shoelaces for free. While these all represent costs for your business, they should rather be regarded as an investment in the future. It is very easy to forget to go the extra mile when sales and business today revolves around speed and efficiency, but the small things are what can set your business apart from the rest. It is important to motivate the customer to keep coming back to YOUR store. The ’extra mile’ is very different depending on the business you operate and the type of customers you have. For some, a smile might be enough whereas others appreciate status and benefits (for example, bonus cards and airline memberships). Try and put yourself in your customers shoes and think about what they would appreciate.
Remember that loyal and satisfied customers will recommend your business to their friends and network, so even though you spent money on a free cup of coffee, the 4 friends they bring next time will quickly make up for the cost. Happy customers are without a doubt your most efficient and cheap form of advertising you can get for your business. In a world where marketing and paid advertisements have gotten out of control, personal experiences and recommendations are becoming increasingly valuable.
3. Technology is important, but service is more important
Technological innovations and new, smart solutions have opened the door for new communication channels and with them, the opportunity to create customer loyalty. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that technology is simply a tool, and one that is easy to hide behind. As has always been the case, a good customer experience is dependant on good service and the value you provide for your customers. Technological advancements, like modern, smart POS systems that give you immediate access to data, only make it easier to provide good service – they don’t create results and loyal customers in themselves, unless you learn how to use them properly. Take advantage of the data available to you, but don’t assume the job is done just by recording data in itself.
”If you make a sale, you can make a living. If you make an investment of time and good service in a customer, you can make a fortune” – Jim Rohn.
4. Train staff and make it EASY to provide good service!
Make sure there is nothing holding your employees back when it comes to providing good service. Avoid overly complicated sales systems and instead use something your staff knows how to use to avoid them standing around and wasting time in front of the cash-register during a sale. Your employees will mostly know how to provide a high level of service, but many are held back by complicated routines and other wasteful activities that don’t add value to the customer experience or simply because they are not given the trust and freedom required to make their own decisions.
It may sound simple, but in order to create a bond with your customer, your employees must be able to act like human beings and have their personality shine through. For this to happen, they must be allowed to make decisions based on the needs and demands of the individual customer rather than operate based on a fixed routine. We are all customers at some point, and most employees are perfectly able to understand the problems your customers are facing. With a greater understanding, they are also able to serve the customer better. A tablet POS is both faster and cheaper than traditional POS systems, and are also mobile and can be moved around so you can meet your customers on their terms rather than always at a fixed counter. In the end, it comes down to freeing up your employees time so they in turn can spend their time creating a memorable customer experience.
Unfortunately it is not rare today to see marketing take the center stage while service is forgotten at the waist side. Yes, it is extremely important to market yourself and get customers through the front door, but it is the service, support and overall customer experience that makes them come back for another visit. According to Accenture, 83% of customers who switched to a competitor feel that better support was a decisive factor in their decision. Stop viewing service as a cost, and start seeing it as an investment in the future.