The Cycle of Service is perhaps the single most important aspect of running a restaurant. It refers to the sum of all interactions between the management of a restaurant and the guests that dine there.
It goes without saying that a restaurant is as good as finished if it is not able to keep up a healthy stream of guests coming in daily, to which the Cycle of Service is vital, and therefore deserves more attention from managers than the mechanics of running a restaurant (setting the tables, fancy glassware, etc.). So, how do you go about using the Cycle of Service to your advantage?
Subtle interactions are key
You might not realize it, but your customer’s communication with you begins the moment he enters through your doors, even if you two never actually communicate. Keeping this in mind, it is important to constantly make your guest feel comfortable and confident in your services.
You need to do this by exhibiting confidence yourself and using subtle interactions to your advantage: Pass over their table to occasionally check on them, and if you make eye-contact, let them know you’re there to help if needed by a quick nod, smile or hand gesture. All of these things will leave a positive impact on your customers.
Opportunities to interact
There are countless opportunities for you to interact with your guests during their visit to your restaurant, starting from the moment they enter your restaurant and are seated by you, to the time you present them with the check and see them to the door.
You can interact with them every time they ask for the menu, every time you serve them some food, while they’re eating, offering them dessert, and the list goes on. What’s important is that you use every single opportunity that presents itself to provide your help to them, focusing entirely on making their visit to your restaurant a memorable experience.
A good strategy of having a positive impact on your guests is by showing interest in them, be it in their activities, jobs, hobbies, lifestyle, etc. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you quickly and easily become interested in anything your guests have to say, asking them for further details if they feel like the ones that enjoy such interactions.
Showing interest is especially effective since it makes your guest feel important and wanted, and thus more likely to revisit your establishment in the future.
There are also some other ways to interact with your guests. Offer instant appetizers, amuse bouche, some surprise, unexpected treat or delicacy you can provide quickly to enhance the experience.
You should also train your staff to be friendly and uniquely interactive towards your guests, instead of just mechanically going through the motions of their job. Above all, strive to be unique and memorable in your dealings with any guests, especially when thanking them when they leave.