As restaurant consultants, we advise clients on the art, and importance, of welcoming guests to their establishments.
Good for business? Of course.
Welcoming guests to your eatery, through universal touch points such as gracious, engaging service, inviting aesthetics, and great food, is the initial step to delivering a full, enjoyable guest experience – all in an effort to capture your audience and help guarantee return business.
As these universal touch points should be part of your daily playbook, we always look for new opportunities to advise clients on ways to keep growing and widening their scope of clientele and service.
To expand upon the ideal of welcoming guests from near and far, we approached our resident global concepts guru, Vice President of Conceptual Projects Valerie Zweig, for her top suggestions for broadening and specializing your restaurant’s proverbial welcome mat.
Training is the cornerstone to providing consistently good service. While we wouldn’t recommend changing your brand to appeal to different guests, Val says, we believe in enhancing your training and education methods to help staff be adept at welcoming differentcultures, making all guests feel comfortable, and understanding that great hospitality doesn’t have a price on it.
For example, as tipping is not a general practice throughout Europe since most countries build a surcharge into the bill, a successful U.S. server should know that. Management and service staff should be trained and educated on such general restaurant industry customs such as this example, not only so they appear knowledgeable and don’t feel slighted for good service, but also to make international guests feel more comfortable if they comment.
Fostering Relationships is crucial to staying aligned to what’s happening in your area, advises Val. Fostering relationships with local hotel concierges and marketing teams or popular tour group owners and convention center directors as to when there may be an influx of guests is great business. A little information goes a long way, and guests – from near and far – will remember you next time they’re in town or recommend you if they’re made to feel special when say a server provides a warm welcome, personal connection or local area visitor insight.
The mainstay – a warm welcome is universal.
*photo: The Washington Harbour, DC