Restaurant Management Tips – St Louis Restaurant Review
We are in and out of a lot of restaurants each week. Restaurants either make a lot of money or not. What is the difference? The difference is “management.” Some managers care and take pride in their profession and others simply don’t care.
Whether we are reviewing or consulting, we take into consideration the typical topics; (1) quality of food (2) condition of kitchen (3) staff’s attitude (4) restaurant ownership pride (5) customers attitude (6) online reviews (7) staff’s attention to detail (8) quality of ingredients used to prepare the food (9) and the most important (10) cleanliness.
We are in many restaurants that have good food, but terrible service or that are just dirty. A dirty restaurant is unforgivable as far as I/we are concerned. A dirty restaurant exposes their customers to potentially serious illnesses. There are some that I simply won’t eat in after seeing the kitchen!
Frequently, we are approached by restaurant owners/managers, that are failing, that want to know how to improve their business. I encourage every restaurant owner to visit the National Restaurant Association. They have a lot of online resources that can make your job easier. You can improve a lot by simply applying some common sense – like clean your restaurant or make changes to your menu (know what sells and what doesn’t) or improve the training of your staff. We have some videos on our Scoop.it page that can be used to help with training. Your staff cannot be over-trained. Quality service is a must for any restaurant.
One thing that is certain, restaurant owners/managers have to illustrate concern for online reviews and deal with them. Negative reviews can cause serious financial harm to a restaurant. Yes, there are those customers that use online reviews to get free things. Those customers are typically easy to spot by the fact that they look for things to complain about. Some people just simply like to bitch and others want something for nothing.
I recently read a review that a customer complained that the quality of acoustics’ in the restaurant was “terrible, just terrible” and that they would not return. It’s called background music! Another one that a customer wrote that because their salad was cool, not cold, they would not return to a particular restaurant even though they noted that the food was good. So yes, as a restaurant owner/manager, you have to sort through the reviews and deal with those reviews that can be dealt with. Some customers are not worth having as customers, but you have to be realistic about the complaint as well as the customer.
We strongly encourage restaurant owners/managers to engage their customers because if you don’t the next place will. You guys know what you need to do. If your reviews are complaints about bad service, improve the training and supervision of your staff. If the complaints are about the quality of the food, improve it. There are only probably a billion recipes online. If your restaurant is failing, there is a reason and it can be corrected, but not dealing with the issues will guarantee failure.
Restaurants are more than a business, it’s a culture. People fall in love, or out of love at restaurants, people celebrate some of their most memorable moments in restaurants. Families meet to spend valuable time together at restaurants and they spend a lot of money doing so. The list of what your businesses are used for goes on and on. My point is this, if you don’t enjoy your business, find something else to do or correct the problems. If you do not correct the problems they will not go away on their own. As a restaurant owner/manager you have a social responsibility to the community to make their visit rewarding.
Start by cleaning the place up. There is no excuse for a dirty restaurant. Customers are putting their health and happiness in your hands and if they have a bad experience you get upset that they put it online. That’s just the way the world is anymore. Deal with it and deal with your customers by illustrating some ownership pride and take charge of the situation. Leverage your online presence to communicate with your customers and potential new customers.
This post was published June 27, 2014 and revised and republished on February 14, 2015.