Customer Service Skills Can Make or Break a Restaurant

17 Oct

A restaurant needs to have good customer service or they'll find themselves with a bunch of empty tables.

I can’t say that I know much of anything about the work that goes on behind-the-scenes to run a successful restaurant, because I don’t. The only things I really know are from a customer’s prospective — I want a restaurant to be clean, have good food, great ambiance, and have outstanding customer service skills. All of these factors work together to form a customer’s opinion of a restaurant, and if even one is off, it can leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Over the weekend my boyfriend and I went to the Sweetwater Grill, in Sewickley. The restaurant seemed very clean, the food was great, the ambiance was warm and inviting, but the customer service skills left me feeling a bit salty. Our server was very friendly, but it was her first night on the job, so she was understandably nervous. As a result she mistakenly put the wrong order in for me, and when our food came out it wasn’t even the item that I had ordered. I hadn’t asked for any substitutions, nothing on the side, it was simply the entirely wrong menu item

In what turned into weirdly a bit of a big ordeal, the manager asked if I would like them to take it back. Really, is this a valid question? If I wanted what they gave me, I would have actually ordered it. So they returned the grab bag dish to the kitchen and took their sweet time making what I really ordered. No rush to fix their mistake. When the salad that I had actually ordered finally came out, they were apologetic and nice about it, as they should be. Thankfully for them, I’m pretty nice, so regardless of what you might be thinking I did, I actually took the situation in stride and was very polite. By then, even though my boyfriend had been eating really, really slowly, he was almost finished, so each of us pretty much had to eat alone.

When the check came, I assumed my salad, or at least our appetizer would be discounted or even on the house, as a ‘sorry for the inconvenience,’ but no. There was nothing but a full-priced bill. I’d consider this a pretty bad display of customer service skills. I also found it odd that a restaurant would make a server’s first day a Saturday night shift, which kind of seems like a recipe for disaster. Regardless, restaurants are a dime a dozen, so when they make a mistake of this magnitude, most go out of their way to make up for it, to try to immediately correct the customer’s perception of them. One unsatisfied customer is just one person, but word spreads fast, especially when you have a blog.

Sweetwater Grille on Urbanspoon


One Response to “Customer Service Skills Can Make or Break a Restaurant”

  1. Ken October 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Hi The Jerp,
    Your first post just appeared on Urbanspoon! Check it out:

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