Does a restaurant’s brand reflect in the front-of-house employees’ appearance, attitude, and guest interaction? These employees are communicating with guests from the moment the guest walks through the door and is greeted by a host. That host just made a first impression, and that hello was an opportunity to reinforce the brand. Every impression the staff makes on a guest is a reflection of a restaurant’s brand.
The following are a few guidelines to ensure employees are reinforcing the core brand values of a restaurant:
1. Appearance. Are the employee’s uniforms consistent with the company? A steak house and sports bar usually have different uniforms for a reason. Giving uniforms a more unique appearance by adding design work can make your brand stand out and reinforce the brand in the employee’s mind.
A restaurant’s logo should always be visible to the guest. This means more than just signage at the door and on the menu. Everything from the pen used to take an order or sign a credit card receipt to an after dinner mint can have a logo on it. The more times a guest sees a logo, the more likely they are to recognize it.
2. Talking to guests. All restaurant owners want their guests to feel comfortable and welcome, and try to hire friendly, personable employees to fit this need. But employees should be interacting differently in different restaurants. This can be as simple as referring to the guests by the name that was taken down with the reservation, as opposed to just “sir” or “miss”.
Remember that negative interactions between guests and staff are more memorable than those that are positive. Here is Aaron Allen’s encounter with Le Bernadin and how his experiences were broadcast to thousands of followers via social media.
Communicating expectations for how employees are expected to interact with guests can be done through proper and continuous training. Creating a brand book as part of an employee handbook is a great way to reinforce a restaurant’s brand.
3. Sales. Restaurants need sales to survive. Employees should be trained to go into specific detail about each and every item on the menu. It is much more persuasive to hear about the preparation, marinade, side dishes, and taste than it is to hear “it’s good.”
Servers with photographic memories are few and far between, so this goal may seem far-fetched. Creating an insert for the check presenter that servers take down orders with is a great way to give employees a cheat sheet.
4. Attitude. We’ve all had that tired server that seems to hate their job. That server probably affected not only your dining experience, but everyone they waited on that night, that week, or even that year. You, and everyone else that encountered that server, might have told friends, or posted a review on Yelp, or Tweeted about their experience. Many opinions were shaped and affected by one server. Companies can make certain they keep employees happy by hiring people that have similar core values, expectations, and brand vision as the company. Do you want to use your employees to your advantage in the online world? Here is a great blog on the subject!
The best employees are those that love coming to work because it doesn’t seem like work – it’s a passion. At Miss Details Design, our passions combine to create exceptional work for our clients. Remember that the employees in your restaurant are a team, and their efforts in working together are what create a memorable and enjoyable experience for your guests.
Have you had an exceptional restaurant experience lately? We’d love to hear about what stuck in your head after you left! Please share your stories.