As a hospitality business owner, your goal is likely to provide high-quality food and service that has your customers coming back for more. When you take over an already well-established business, all the hard work has been done for you, and you simply need to maintain that reputation.
However, when you’re in a new business trying to attract customers for the first time, you often need to work a little harder. As you begin to establish yourself in your local community, consider trying some of the following things to enhance your business’s reputation.
Invest in Staff Training
You may be excited about the prospect of hiring people who can learn how to provide excellent service with you as their guide. To ensure your customers can be impressed with the service they receive, make sure you invest as much time, energy, and money as possible into staff training.
Teach your new team how to carry food and beverages, take customer feedback on board, work as part of a team, and dress for success. You might also consider the value of a hospitality course for some employees who can learn how to serve drinks at a bar or become proficient waiters and waitresses.
Not only do training and upskilling opportunities benefit your business, but they can also make your team feel valued and want them to succeed in their job and future jobs.
Prioritize Your Digital Presence
Being present in the digital space can seem unimportant when you’re busy serving food and beverages. You’re managing walk-in customers, so it may seem unnecessary to engage with potential ones online that aren’t in front of you.
However, you can gain a reputation as an engaged, contemporary, and professional business if you take advantage of the many digital platforms available to you. You can set up a Google My Business account to start accepting reviews, sign up on food review websites, and even establish your own website and social media accounts.
The more you make yourself present in the online space, the more your brand and business may be recognized, referred and remembered. People may see photos of food you serve and decide to book a table, or they may realize you offer online ordering and jump at the chance to secure this convenient service.
Even something as simple as answering questions sent to you by potential customers on social media platforms may increase your reputation.
Respond to Issues
Very few restaurants and hospitality businesses, in general, have a 100% success rate with customers. Chefs and servers make mistakes, and some customers can be unhappy when orders aren’t prepared correctly or drink service is delayed.
How you respond to issues and complaints may make all the difference to your reputation, whether you’re responding in the restaurant or online. Learn how to respond to feedback and criticism with respect and professionalism, and consider training your team to do the same or requesting that they refer customers with any complaints back to you.
If you need to respond to complaints published through online reviewing platforms, refer to best practices for doing so. Some of the best approaches include expressing gratitude for bringing the issue to their attention, not getting into an argument, and being personable yet professional.
Resolve Problems Quickly
When an employee or yourself has made a mistake in your business, be quick to resolve it. Your promptness can be appreciated by disadvantaged customers and can even go a long way toward ensuring they’ll give your business a second chance in the future.
There are many ways to solve problems quickly, such as providing a free drink or meal if one wasn’t up to a customer’s expectations or seating a party at another table if they’re not happy with the location of their current one. Your willingness to go the extra mile and ensure their happiness may put you in good stead for future visits.
Treat Your Staff Well
Creating the best reputation for your business often comes down to how you treat your staff. If your team is happy in their work, they may be more likely to prioritize excellent service that leaves a lasting impression on customers.
Fortunately, there are many different ways you can promote staff happiness. A living wage is an excellent first step, with the potential for wait staff to earn tips on top of that. Keeping the lines of communication open, prioritizing mental health in the workplace, and hiring enough staff to keep working hours manageable may also be steps you consider taking.
By looking after your staff, you may have confidence in them to look after your customers. When customers are taken care of, your reputation may improve, and your bank balance with it.
Enhancing the reputation of a hospitality business is not an overnight task. It can require you to implement several changes, many of which take time, money, and energy. However, when you become a go-to eatery in your community, you may realize that your efforts paid off.