Ninja Tips to Improve Restaurant Customer Service

Whether you’re opening a brand-new restaurant or trying to improve your current one, providing great customer service should be a top priority. Without happy customers, no business can exist. One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors and encourage repeat visits is to provide great customer service.  

If you want to improve restaurant customer service, try some of these suggestions:

  • Personalize the experience.
  • Inform every customer of the daily deals.
  • Have your employees introduce themselves by name.
  • Don’t rush customers to make a decision.
  • Always maintain a positive atmosphere.

The goal of every restaurant should be to impress its customers beyond expectations. Even if you run an inexpensive, fast food place, you should have your employees ready to handle everything that comes their way.  

The above suggestions are a starting point to providing great service and further expanded upon below. You will also find other tips you can start TODAY to improve your customer service. Without further ado, let’s jump into it!

Personalize the Experience

Try to get to know your customers by their names. If they’re not open to the idea, then it’s safe to leave it alone. Studies have shown that people are more receptive and happy when they hear their names because it makes them feel important.

Inform Every Customer of the Daily Deals

Informing customers of all the daily and weekly deals can’t be understated. When people hear about the savings available, they feel that you’re helping them rather than trying to take as much money as possible. Alternatively, customers who find out about specials after they have already ordered often feel ill-informed and come away with a bad taste in their mouths.   

Have Employees Introduce Themselves by Name

Creating a personalized relationship with customers is the key to providing great service. One of the best ways to start this process off on the right foot is to have your employees introduce themselves by name. Train your employees to do this with all customers and make it part of your steps of service.  

Don’t Rush to Make a Decision

One of the worst mistakes that hundreds of restaurants make is that they rush tables to order. If customers feel rushed, they won’t want to come back. Even if it’s hectic inside, each customer needs to feel welcome and that they are the most important guest in the building.  

This suggestion also applies to customers who tend to stick around after finishing their meals.  

Create a Positive Atmosphere

Some of the most well-known chain restaurants around the world have found success due to their positive atmosphere. Happy employees, TVs with sports and entertainment, silly mascots, and music are just a few suggestions to brighten the mood. When everyone is working as a team to elevate the environment of the place, your restaurant is bound to improve its customer service experience.

Remember Repeat Customers

People who come back over and over should be recognized. If they’ve given you their name, start calling them by it. Repeat customers are the lifeblood of every business, especially restaurants. Welcome them when they arrive and say goodbye when it’s time for them to leave.

Engage Employees

Employees should all be on the same page before the doors open every day. If your restaurant is open 24 hours, then they should have a quick note in the backroom for them to know all of the information. If they’re not current on all of the deals and new procedures, then it’s the fault of the management crew.

Give Freebies

Don’t be afraid to offer food or drinks for free. People are often very hungry when they go to a restaurant, so a small sampler might be just what they need to come back again. Freebies could be drinks, food, or even a small game to keep them occupied while they wait for their food to arrive at their table.

When your on a wait on a busy night, fry up some appetizers and put them on frill picks to offer to the guests waiting in the lobby. Offering freebies like this goes such a long way in creating goodwill.

Bring on the Drinks!

When a customer orders a drink, you should have your employees do their best to bring it as quickly as possible. Drinks are what help people feel a bit less hungry while they wait. It’s also good to get in the habit of it since things can get a bit hectic if you forget drinks on a busy day. Your team should be trained to offer to order a new round of cocktails when they notice them getting low. Softdrinks that are less than half full should be replaced proactively. Many people equate fast refills with great service.  

Give Them Water!

Water should be offered along with every drink. Many customers ask for water because it’s free, but you should also provide water if they order anything else. Some people might even ask for water because they feel that they only have one choice. 

Have Enough Servers

Make sure that there are enough servers staffed to help customers. When your restaurant is understaffed, everyone gets overwhelmed. Your employees can’t be on their A-game when they’re running around and trying to deal with everything at once.  

Provide a Friendly Greeting

The greeting is the first thing that customers experience when they walk through the doors of your establishment. If they’re not greeted or treated specially, they’ll feel like they’re not welcome. With so much competition, a simple greeting could set you apart from the rest.

Visit Every Table

As an operator, try to visit every table at some point before they leave. Returning too often can be annoying or seen as a gimmick, but showing up to ask how their food came out is courteous.

Speed Up the Waiting Process

People shouldn’t have to wait forever to get a table. If every seat is full, try to offer them something to keep them occupied. Optimize your host stand to ensure they are seating new tables as soon as the previous guest leaves.  

Always Clean the Restaurant

Another common issue of restaurants is that they only clean at the end of the day. In addition to cleaning the tables whenever people leave, there should be sweeping around the clock. Don’t get in the way of customers, but try to maintain a clean environment.

Many customers correlate the cleanliness and sanitation of a restaurant with how well their restrooms are maintained. Set up a system to ensure your restaurants are clean at all times.

Streamline Your Service with Software

Computers streamline the process of ordering, allowing your customers to get their food much quicker. Waiters will be able to take orders, and cooks can get started without having to wait for everything to come through. Without having to read eligible handwriting or confusing abbreviations, everyone will be able to speed the process along. The best all-in-one software to accomplish this is Upserve, and I highly recommend them.

Deal with Complaints Immediately

Even if you have the best restaurant in the world, there will always be complaints. Customers have different taste pallets, requirements, and expectations. There’s no way that you can expect to have zero issues. It’s vital to deal with the complaints right away. When you recognize and sympathize with someone, they feel heard and understood.

Customer Service Surveys

Surveys are perhaps some of the best ways to know how your customers truly feel about your restaurant. If it’s possible, offer anonymity. People are much more likely to be honest if they know that you won’t be able to blame them for it. It’s the most efficient method of knowing what needs to improve and what’s working in your favor.

Set Employee Expectations

Restaurants are often home to a wide variety of employees from all walks of life. They’re entry-level or part-time jobs for some and full-time careers for chefs and managers. Regardless of how much money they’re making or how often they work, everyone should abide by the same set of standards. Make them clear, encouraging, fun, and cooperative.


Customers are the only reason that virtually any business can grow and thrive. Without them, there’d be nobody to make money from. But rather than merely seeing them as a source of revenue, create a place that you know you’d want to visit and stay for a long time.

Try to do your best to be involved in the daily tasks, including clean up and serving. Although managers and restaurant owners have their hands full, doing low-level objectives will make your staff feel like you are a part of the team. This notion goes far beyond what they expect, which will show customers that you want them to come back whenever they’d like.

Matt Roberts

A 20+ year veteran of the Restaurant Industry, Matt is the Founder and Owner of Restaurant Ninjas. He is also a giant geek of epic proportions who somehow convinced his wife to name their firstborn child Luke Skywalker.

Recent Posts