Five Restaurant Business Killers

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Operations, service

Here are five restaurant business killers – five critical points of contact to ignore if you want to kill your business:

1. First contact – make it count. Your guests encounter you the first time in many ways and all must be stellar. This includes your print materials such as ads, direct mail pieces and fliers, as well as your menu. Make sure your phone is answered promptly and with a smile. And whoever answers the phone better know how to answer the questions – hours of operation, games on the flat screens, directions and more.

2. Facilities – a little spit and polish can only help. Make sure the outside is clean and shiny, no cigarette butts and no employees smoking out front. Your dining room and tables should be clean tables clean and the chairs free of crumbs. Keep condiments clean and organized on the tables.

3. Greeting – If you’ve been to my workshop, you know about my GUEST philosophy. The G stands for greet and it must be done within 30 seconds. Make it a rule that someone is near the door at all times. Never fall down on this job because a guest should never have to approach you. And train your employees to all be aware of it. If they’re not sure if someone has been greeted and helped, they should ask. Even if we THINK someone has been helped, don’t ASSUME. You know what they say about what happens when you assume? It makes an ASS out of U and ME.

4. Bussers – Try to be seen and not heard. And this doesn’t just apply to bussers. It applies to anyone who busses a table, from a server walking by to managers. My mom taught me this rule: No one comes in or out of the kitchen empty handed. If you see dishes on a table, pick them up, and do so without disturbing guests. How do you train your servers to see it as their duty? Yes, this customer isn’t in your section today, but they may be in your section tomorrow. But they won’t come back to be in anyone’s section if they don’t have a WOW experience.

5. Servers – Your servers spend the most amount of time with your guests. You must train them to think like a salesperson, not an order taker. In so many restaurants I see human vending machines. Fred Langley, restaurant coach here at, trains to change their attitude. It’s not about upselling and increasing ticket averages, but improving the guest’s experience. If the server thinks the experience will be better if the customer has a premium vodka, then the server has the attitude necessary to make the suggestion. It’s not pushy. It’s about improving the guest’s experience. They need to guide the guest, show off what they know, be the expert, what they like.

You have few opportunities to keep business, but many to lose business. Every point of contact counts.

For  more ideas on how to keep people coming back to your restaurant and turn around the restaurant business killers, download our free report, Breaking Away from the Insanity: How to easily take control of your restaurant and make more moneyDownload it here

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