Even with all of our technology, the phone is still an important part of your restaurant. Make sure to properly train those answering the phone.
Even if you use Open Table
Maybe you are using an online reservation system. People are still going to call with questions. Or for a to-go order. Train those people to know what they are doing on that phone. How fast should you answer the phone? Shouldn’t you know directions to your place? Not everyone has a smart phone, or GPS.
Your phone answerers need to know the capacity of the place. They need to know how to ring in an order on the POS system. They need to know the nearest place to park.
No one likes to be on hold
I know you are busy. I get it. However, people on the phone are potential customers. Use the golden rule. How would you feel if you were on hold for a long time? Find a way to manage the business and the people on the phone. Sure, there is no way to avoid putting people on hold, but with a little effort you can limit the number of times you do it, and how long you do it for. Train your staff to make that effort.
A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to meet him at a new bar in town. I said sure, I would meet him there in an hour. I looked it up online to get an idea of where it was, see if they offered hard liquor, or of it was just beer and wine, see what the menu was like, etc. It prompted a couple of other questions, and when I looked for a phone number to call, I found no phone number. They don’t need a phone. How annoying. Had I been able to ask a couple of questions ahead of time, it would have saved me some trouble.
Please answer the phone
This also happens often: I can’t get anyone to answer the phone. That is a shame, because I just assume at that point that they are too busy, and I should just go somewhere else. Answer the phone! By someone who knows what they are doing. “How long is the wait for two people?” That’s all I want to know. Not all information is available on your website.
Train your staff proper phone etiquette. Answer within three rings. Don’t hang up on people, let them hang up. Ask if you can put them on hold. Don’t be rude. Know the answers to frequently asked questions. Know the menu. Know what food is better as to-go food. Know how long of a wait it is. Be nice.
Even with all of our amazing technology, that phone is still your life line. I know many people just assume do everything electronically. But not everyone! Are you going to dismiss half of the population as customers because they actually want to talk to someone on the phone first? NO! Train your staff on that phone!