How Diners Can Improve the Restaurant Experience
Everywhere you look these days restaurant experts are talking about guest experience. They are reminding restaurant owners and managers that diners rank their overall experience as very important when deciding whether or not to return to a restaurant. Rightly so, owners and managers are responding by asking how to improve the experience they offer.
That is all well and good. But if you dig a little deeper, you discover that diners actually have a role to play in their own experiences. From the moment they enter a restaurant to the moment they leave, how guests behave will influence what they experience throughout.
Guest experience in a restaurant setting is a lot like your own experience at work. Take a minute and think about your workplace and coworkers. Is there someone in your office who always seems to be in a bad mood? If so, you know from experience that negativity breeds more negativity. It only takes one employee in a bad mood to ruin everyone’s day. Negative diners have that same power.
Responding to Hosts and Servers
Creating an enjoyable restaurant experience is a collaborative effort among everyone involved. It begins the moment a guest comes in contact with the restaurant host. It continues as the guest is seated and has that first interaction with the server.
What you might not know is that both hosts and servers rely on their initial contacts to gauge the temperature of the situation. They want to know if guests are friendly and outgoing or more private and reserved. They want to know if guests seem to be in a good mood. This suggests that diners can do themselves a favor by smiling, responding politely, and even trying to show a bit of enthusiasm.
Familiarity with the Cuisine
A big part of the positive dining experience is good food. And a big part of good food is familiarity. Diners trying a particular type of cuisine for the first time are probably going to be a bit cautious. Such caution does not have to be a stumbling block to a good experience.
Unfamiliarity with the cuisine presents a wonderful opportunity to ask the server for recommendations. It is an opportunity to show your server that you trust him or her. Likewise, a guest’s unfamiliarity acts as a guide to the server. He or she will be more sensitive to the fact that the guest may not walk away truly satisfied even if the food was cooked to perfection.
Showing Proper Respect
Nothing ruins the guest experience quite like failing to show proper respect for others. Again, this starts with hosts and servers. Despite their employment, they are also human beings with hopes, dreams, etc. They have bills to pay and families to feed. They are not inferior to their guests simply because they work in the restaurant industry.
Diners can improve their own experiences by treating hosts and servers with respect and dignity. Likewise, showing proper respect to other diners goes a long way too. It is really nothing more than putting the golden rule into practice when you are dining out.
If you ask the owners of Taqueria27 in Salt Lake City, Utah, they will tell you that a good customer experience is all about building relationships. Restaurant owners and staff go out of their way to make sure relationships with customers are built on gratitude, respect, and a desire to please. When guests reciprocate, their experiences are commensurately positive.
Yes, guests have a role to play in creating a positive dining experience. Restaurant owners and staff members cannot do it by themselves.