Dining out is not just about the food, it’s about the experience. Even if your guests arrive already unhappy, your goal is to delight them so they leave with a smile. We have no idea what people are going through or what happened during their day. Sometimes guests can just be straight up hangry and are looking to get their food asap. 

An excellent server will be a shining light to guests and give such excellent service, guests forget about whatever might be going on in their lives outside of the dining experience. 

De-escalate unhappy guests and turn them into repeat customers
  1. Smile and nod: Guests that are dining and unhappy may be wearing a frown or scowl. It’s important to maintain your energy and hold a strong smile. Don’t let the person affect your emotions and remember that it has nothing to do with you. Nod as you explain the menu, smile big, and maintain eye contact. Let the guest know you’re there for them. 
  2. Ask simple questions: If you notice that the guest is upset because they are in a rush, you can skip this, but if not asking questions can be beneficial. “Any special plans after dinner?” “How is your day going?” “Is today a special occasion?” If someone is dining out, it is typically because they are looking for human interaction and energy. Don’t be offended if the answers are short, the sentiment will still be appreciated.
  3. Be empathetic: It goes without saying that you shouldn’t call a guest out for being unhappy. You can however empathize with them. Having positive thoughts in your mind about others will reflect in how you treat them. Having negative thoughts about others has the same effect. Empathize that this guest may be having a bad day and that you genuinely care about them cheering up and you’ll reflect that in their experience.
  4. Surprise and Delight: If your management allows, surprise and delight your guest. Maybe you surprise them with a dessert, a free refill, or an appetizer. Remember if you can make your guest feel great when they are having a bad day, they are always going to remember your restaurant and it will make a lasting impression. This can go far as it can lead to that person telling their friends and family and sharing on social media and review sites. 
  5. Let it roll off your back: An important part of being a server is keeping your cool and continuing to provide excellent service. If these other steps do not work, and your guest is still unhappy, don’t let it affect the rest of your shift. There are many possible situations within the group they are dining with and all you can do is give your best and move onto the next table. Sometimes it’s not a reflection of your effort. As long as you’re proud of your service, you’re doing great.
Leave an outstanding impression

At Table Needs we are passionate about excellent service and making an amazing impression on guests. With our technology, the dining experience can be enhanced by a more efficient wait staff.  Table Needs reduces the number of trips back and forth to check on the table.  Our notifications reach the server before she returns to the table.  Want to learn more? 

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