Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top 5 Restaurant Pet Peeves: Tips for Restaurant Owners

Breakfast In The Sun
We love to dine out! Some consider it a treat while others dine out on a daily basis to well, eat. Whether it's the latter or not, we dine out expecting to come in hungry and leave full (familiar quote?). But there are just special times that it is more than just the food but rather, about the actual experience. Here are top 5 pet peeves that most people can relate to and where restaurant owners can read on to see where they can improve. Little details that they don't know can annoy customers and prevent them from coming back.

1) Sprayers to bus out tables
We understand that it can be more annoying to see dirty tables going uncleaned. The pet peeve mentioned here are those staff that use the sprayers (like the image above). They usually put liquid soap plus maybe some other chemicals to clean the table. The problem is, when the other table is not too far away, the sprayed particles will go all around the room and the other customer's dining experience will be ruined either by the smell of it or if more sensitive, the thought of the possibility that the sprayed particles will go to their food! Another pet peeve somewhat connected to this is those automatic sprayers installed up on the walls, spraying an aromatic scent every few minutes. Nope, we do not want whatever chemical is in that thing on my food.
Rule of thumb: Do not ever start mopping, sweeping or drag trash through the dining room not until customers are gone.
Restaurant owners should train their staff to be more sensitive to customers, whether sweeping the floor or spray cleaning the tables. Tell restaurant staff to just spray it to the cloth rather than spray it all over the table. Install those automatic sprayers inside the bathroom and not where customers are dining. There are chemicals in that, edible or not.

Car Parking
2) Parking attendants (official/ unofficial attendants) expecting tips
Sometimes when coins inside the car run out and you have no small bills in the wallet, the parking attendant gives you a bad look when you leave as if he is expecting to get a tip. It is fair to give money to them as they did their part but they must understand that not all customers are willing to give. For example, a customer that has a tight budget (even though he/she has a car) might just want to have a quick snack or meal, let's say, 50 pesos from a fastfood. Giving 5 or 10 pesos to the attendant would amount to 10% of the total bill already. Tipping waiters is a different thing but tipping the parking attendants when they weren't even there when you were parking is another.

Restaurant owners should tell their security staff not to expect any tips. If given any, they can accept and appreciate. If an establishment doesn't have security and have one of those unofficial parking attendant guys around, they should remind them how to treat customers well and tell them not to expect any tips. If they won't comply, politely ask them to just leave your establishment premises because this can directly affect your business.

Restaurant Tables
3) Staff trained to not see you
Been there done that? Half-empty restaurant and they all seem to be busy but no one will actually assist you. It usually happens in restaurants that offer all-you-can-drink or eat stuff. They are so busy that no matter how high you raise your hand and feet, they still can't see you or intentionally do not see you. I'm sure you experienced this. This is not only a turn-off but it just means that your staff are not customer oriented. Remember that customers are your lifeblood and although the cliche "customer is always right" is always right, we can all agree that customers should always be treated the right way. A sign that a place is high-end either in terms of service or restaurant class is that the servers are invisible but will be there right when you need them.

Restaurant owners should remind staff to ALWAYS be looking around the room to see if a customer is in need of some service.

Half Full Glass
4) Hygiene
Honestly, this doesn't even need to be on the list because it should be a top priority! We've seen it a million times and counting. It is important that every contact point must be clean. There are ways on how to handle them correctly and as a restaurant owner, you and your staff have to be VERY sensitive about this.

For example, When a customer asks for a straw, don't just grab one and hand it over to them. Instead, get a tissue paper, grab the straw and give it to the customer or when a customer asks for a glass, hold it on the body and don't EVER let your hand/fingers touch whatever part your customer's lips will touch.

Another hygiene pet peeve we all have are the things that fall to the floor and they just act as if nothing happened. They just put it back and the next customer who might use it will never even know. This happens a lot! Chopsticks, toothpicks, tissue paper, straws and sometimes, even the food itself. Wanting to avoid the penalty of paying for the soiled food, they just act normal and serve it instead. This is not safe for the consumer and the restaurant owner because if the customer gets sick, you have there a bigger problem.

Do you know that vendo drinks and coffee machines are hard and takes a lot of effort to clean that sometimes, some don't even clean it. Some just refill it everyday and ignore any dirt. This was a confession heard from Magic89.9's morning program where the topic was, "Industry Secrets". Remind your staff that cleanliness is your utmost priority. Bathroom? Don't get me started on that. Restaurant owners, you know what to do.

Market Cafeteria 2
5) In a hurry
Although this last one is forgivable, a lot of diners do not want to feel that they are being rushed. Either the waiters ask you from time to time if it's okay to get this or that (utensils, plates, glass) as if they are running out of them. It's annoying, disruptive, and rude. This is subjective though because sometimes, if the table is filled with plates already, some customers appreciate a proactive approach. This takes more than just a straight on tip. It needs judgement.

A more offensive thing to do than this is give someone their bill even without them asking. 'Nuff said.

If we compile all the pet peeves we have, this list would be much much longer. Just remember that there is no perfect restaurant but knowing some basic stuff like the ones listed above will ensure that your customers visit you again. What are your pet peeves? Help restaurants improve by adding your complaints or pet peeves below on the comment section.

P.S. NO "MAAM-SIR" please. In any industry.

All stock images from sxc.hu

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