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What is restaurant customer service?

Restaurant customer service is the service and care provided by restaurants to diners. This can include everything from the actual dining experience to the long-term relationship building today’s restaurants accomplish with loyalty programs and other strategies. Since restaurants live and die by the service they provide, restaurant customer service training must be provided to any employees who directly interact with the diners. Doing so can result in more return diners and glowing reviews on social media and review sites.

Zendesk makes it easier to build long-term relationships with diners and understand how to give them great experiences that they are more likely to share with their networks.

A different approach to restaurant customer support

Customer service in the restaurant industry used to only apply to the small sliver of time between a diner entering and exiting the restaurant. People came in, ordered, ate, paid, and left, and the biggest signal that the diners enjoyed themselves was the tips they left. Now, as with many industries, the dining experience can often extend well beyond that original scope, expanding into areas like social media, loyalty programs, email marketing, and more. The result is many restaurants now focus on creating great experiences at every touch point, not just the dinner table.

This is new territory for many restaurants and can be a lot of work. But the benefits—including increases in return diners and positive reviews—are worth the effort.

Best practices for restaurant customer service

While many restaurants are aware of tried and true ways for providing great service, strategies involving newer technologies and social media require some updates:

  • Be everywhere. Some people expect to find information about restaurants on Twitter, others on Facebook. Creating profiles on these networks and keeping them up to date with things like business hours, menu changes, and specials will help you grow an audience and provide the information they need. Otherwise, they’ll use networks that are not managed by the restaurant.
  • Speaking of social media, be sure to monitor for mentions of the restaurant. This is a good way to respond to complaints or build relationships with fans.
  • Provide restaurant customer service options beyond calling the restaurant. Things can get pretty hectic at a restaurant, so the fewer customer service calls that need to be fielded by staff, the better. Offering self-service options on the website, such as the ability to make and change reservations, asking for special requests, or information about food allergies or other important things will lead to fewer phone calls.
  • Keep track of loyal customers. Since return diners are so important for restaurants, it’s important to understand their preferences and how to better serve them. Do you know they love a certain special? You can use email marketing software to let them know the next time you plan to serve it.

The right fit for your business

Not every restaurant needs to update their restaurant customer service strategies. The mom and pop shop that’s been selling pie for decades likely has a loyal following that might reject a social media presence. However, most restaurants new or old will benefit from bringing their customer service into the digital age. This can appeal to the new generation of foodies and improve the experience for their regulars.

How Zendesk helps restaurants

Zendesk bridges the gap between social media and restaurants. Now restaurants can easily respond to praise or complaints, and even keep a record of who is making them. This makes it easier to build long-term relationships with diners and understand how to give them great experiences that they are more likely to share with their networks.

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