When people go out, they want to see people who are happy. Other customers, the staff (obviously), and every where else they look. That is why they go out. They want to forget about their life for a few hours. They want to leave their work and home stresses far away from the establishment they find themselves in.
When they walk in to your place, they want to see the staff smiling. Restaurant employees don’t get to have a bad day at work. Even if their dog is dying, they have to somehow find a way to put that smile on.
Sorry, folks, that’s just how it is. If you said to a customer, “Yeah, my mother is in the hospital,” their response will most likely be something like, “Oh, I’m sorry, can I please get a glass of chardonnay?” And, by the way, you are lucky if you get the ‘please’.
Customers don’t care. They are out to forget their worries. To pretend, even if for just a few short hours, that everything in their universe is just fine. The way that happens is by going to places where people are happy. Where people are nice.
Make that your place
So, as I have stated many times–it’s up to you. It starts at the top. You want customers coming back to your place again and again? Make sure yours is the ‘happy’ place. Make that the norm.
Yeah, I get it, it can seem forced. Insincere. But not if you do it right. If you make sure you are hiring the right people. If you are listening to that gut feeling at the interview that tells you that this particular person is just not a good fit. If you train them properly. If you set that expectation from the start and then follow through on it every day.
Did I say every day?
Wow, I’ve never said that before. Remember. You will never have the luxury, as an owner or a manager, of telling people something once and then expecting them to A) Remember it, and/or B) Actually following through and doing it. That is what you are there for. To be that reminder.
Be that reminder
I meet with consulting clients who are famous for saying to me, “I showed them how to do it,” and then being frustrated that the employee didn’t do it properly. It just doesn’t work that way. Show them how to do it, and then be a presence to remind them on a daily basis how you want it done.