We have all had that experience where you walk into a place and no one greets you. They are all too busy. It feels like you entered a saloon in the old west. Everyone looks at you, but no one says hello.
The waiters are running around frantically tracking down appropriate glassware for the wine the customer just ordered, the bus boy is hustling to get tables reset, the host/manager is off somewhere doing god-knows-what.
The all-important first impression
You have one chance to make that first impression a positive one. We all know how important the first impression is, so don’t blow it!
In fact, it starts before they even walk through that door. It starts before they call to make a reservation. It actually starts when they check you out on the internet. I guess, actually, that there are three first impressions, and it important to get every one of them right. Every time.
So make sure your website (you must have one) is easy to navigate. I think it is important that when they google you, all the necessary info pops up on that google heading. Without another click, they should be able to see where you are located, your hours of operation, and your phone number. They should also be able to press that ‘call’ button without having to go to your website. We live in a short attention span world, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to reach you. And for heaven’s sake, if you change your menu regularly, change it on your website, too. Turns out customers will be disappointed when they come to dine at your restaurant and you don’t have that one dish they were looking forward to because no one updated your website.
Then make sure your phones are manned at all hours of operation. Pick that phone up quickly, and by someone who is friendly. I don’t care how inconvenient it might be when they call–that phone is your lifeline. I worked at a place where customers would actually tell me that they wouldn’t be back because of how rude the person was who answered the phone. Yikes! Why on earth would you have someone like that be the first impression of the restaurant? You work so hard to get people to come through those doors, why ruin it before it even gets started?
It is possible to ruin a guest’s experience before they step one foot in the place. Don’t let this happen to you.
And then they come in
Customers are often very insecure patrons. The front door greeting is probably the most important element of the entire experience. So when they do walk in, make it pleasant. Have someone say hello with a big smile right away.
Don’t let this happen to you
Think about it: You can set that customer up for a wonderful evening by just being nice , or you can destroy it before they even sit down with a crabby attitude. A pleasant experience at the door makes all the difference. You have a unique opportunity to really get that customer in the mood to have a great time. The greeting at the door is that one chance to make it happen. Make it as memorable as the food they are about to eat.