Every company that wants to remain in business must set standards and have a way to know if it is going in the right direction. Your restaurant is not an exemption. You need a solid cycle of service plan.
This plan should describe your customers' complete end experience with your restaurant, including all the contact points they'll have during the experience.
1. Online Reputation
+5 = Your online reputation is exceptional. Your website is updated, your contact information is at the top of the page where it is easily accessible, and the directions on Google Maps are accurate.
+ 3 = You need to make changes, like updating your online menu and improving your response to negative reviews.
+ 1 = You have a website but hardly post anything. Your online presence is simply nonexistent.
2. The Entrance
+ 5 = Shows you have your act together by having well-lit parking, professional landscaping, an inviting entry path, etc.
+ 3 = You need to work on a sign missing some letters or lights. Walk around the building and tend to what you have been neglecting.
+ 1 = There is little to no sign of an effort to make the entrance inviting on your part. For example, visible unsanitary conditions like trash piled up or birds droppings all over.
3. The Greeter
+ 5 = Your greeter genuinely displays a warm and positive attitude and looks professional.
+ 3 = Your greeter occasionally smiles, looks professional, maybe because of their uniform, and tends to the guests hurriedly. They could do more to show authenticity.
+ 1 = The greeter is only there because of their expected paycheck. They are cold and distant and feel like the guests are a thorn in their side. Hire a friendly, sincere, and warm person to be your first human point of contact.
4. The Dining Room/Restrooms
+ 5 = The lighting, music, temperature, décor, and colors set the tone for a memorable dining experience and match your brand and message. Your tables are correctly set, your restrooms are clean and adequately stocked, and you frequently check their condition.
+ 3 = The décor and color palette hardly match your brand. The table placement seems random, the carpet is a little worn, the restrooms wall exhibit graffiti you should paint over, and the trash needs regular dumping to avoid overflowing.
+ 1 = The tables are not as clean as they should be. There is a weird smell in the room, and the room is visibly unsanitary, with food droppings not yet tended to, or the restrooms are out of order.
5. The Team
+ 5 = Your team greets guests with genuine warmth while maintaining a smile and eye contact. The team is calm and displays teamwork. Your team is charming, friendly, professional, and brings high positive energy.
+ 3 = The team is unsure of their feelings towards guests. They fulfill orders on time but may forget at least one table's order.
+ 1 = The team hardly maintains eye contact, looks unprofessional, unsanitary, and unmotivated.
6. Food & Beverage
+ 5 = Your food is picture-worthy as guests want to remember and share it with everyone. It is well garnished and served in the correct utensils. Hot is hot, and cold is cold. Guests ask you to box up leftovers.
+3 = The guests are smiling, but the food presentation could be better. You could add a dash of garnish or serve with the correct utensils.
+ 1 = Guests hardly smile, and they leave most of the food and drinks untouched.
7. The Check-Back
+ 5 = Managers make conversations with guests, asking them about the food. The servers do not wait too long before checking on the guests. They ask them whether the food is to their liking and for any additional needs.
+ 3 = Your servers ask standard questions, like "How's everything?" and delay delivering additional refill requests.
+ 1 = The servers barely check in with the guests once they drop off orders. They refuse to accept refill requests from tables they did not serve, claiming that is not their section.
8. The Cash-Out
+ 5 = Your servers drop off checks with a smile and eye contact, and they promptly return credit cards or change and may have a mint to say thank you. Guests are enjoying the entire experience and are not pressed to leave.
+ 3 = Servers drop checks only when asked to. They stare at guests once they drop the checks and grab credit cards or cash as soon as they are on the table. They bring back the change with a smile and occasionally say thank you.
+ 1 = Your guests keep requesting the check from their servers to no avail and are forced to find the manager. When guests pay cash, incorrect change is often returned.
9. The Farewell
+ 5 = More than three members of your team give guests a warm goodbye or thank you as they leave. The greeter opens the door, the manager says a positive word to the guests to encourage them to return, and a team member offers to carry their bag or hold an umbrella if it's raining to their car.
+ 3 = A team member says goodbye but makes no eye contact, the manager smiles at the guests but says nothing, or a server sees a guest struggling with their bags but doesn't help.
+ 1 = Guests receive a non-verbal nod from the greeter or manager. They often feel unappreciated.
Tally up Your Steps of Service Score
45 (A+): You've created a guest-oriented culture! You are keen to detail and leave nothing to chance at every contact point. You consistently train your team to make them better performers and improve yourself to become a better leader.
36-44 (B): You're gradually improving and are in the middle of the market. You have a great guest experience and a constant stream of regular guests.
27-35 (C): You experience good and bad days in terms of customer experience. Your team is trained, though not constantly, so they tend to fall short in service. But you are average and strive to keep your market share.
18-26 (D): You get more complaints and struggle daily to maintain a positive attitude. There is less teamwork, and the morale is low.
9-17 (F): You are on the brink of crashing and burning. You depend on first-time visitors as repeat guests are few. You have primarily negative online reviews from your bad food or grouchy staff.
You should treat every contact point along the service cycle as a game you need to win. This is what will make you outstanding and different from the rest. So tally your score honestly and take immediate measures to improve your restaurant.