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Industry insider: 5 ways to avoid bad reviews of your restaurant

Brought to you by TabletPOS

TabletPOS As many restaurant stakeholders will know too well, a bad review on social media or any online platform just isn’t good for business – and because consumers are all online practically 24/7, it’s never been easier to complain.

The best way to deal with these comments and complaints isn’t necessarily to apologise profusely and offer a free meal, but rather to pre-empt negative feedback in the first place. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

Culture Club Cheese

Culture Club Cheese. Photo supplied.

1. Train your staff thoroughly

Successful restaurants are built on consistency. Waiters are the face of the business, and should maintain the same high standard, day in and day out. One of the ways to ensure this is through a structured training regimen that benchmarks and formalises procedures and systems. Make sure staff know everything, from the daily special to what gives the tartar sauce its tang, and most importantly, how to operate the point-of-sale (POS) system correctly.

Luke Williams, owner of Culture Club Cheese in Bree Street, Cape Town, believes that the simpler the POS, the better: “When setting up my business I was promised that many things would be simple… TabletPOS was the only thing that actually was,” he says.

2. Make ordering easier

Make ordering a breeze for the customer, and leave less room for mistakes by the waiter. Modern establishments around the world invite guests to order using devices at the table. Writing things down with pen and paper, and then inputting it five minutes later wastes precious time, and errors can creep in. Tableside ordering cuts down on these errors and creates the opportunity to upsell on the spot. This mobility allows for accuracy, speed and efficiency – all key factors that can set your establishment apart.

3. Don’t break down

Sometimes elements beyond your control can affect a business, like a power cut, or when the internet goes down. While these stumbling blocks are inevitable, try to make your business shut-down proof. You could, for example, make your kitchen gas-compatible or have a generator on standby. You can keep your business systems running even when your internet connection drops with a cloud-based, truly mobile POS system that will stay up as long as your devices are running on their own power.

David Donde of Truth Coffee

David Donde of Truth Coffee. Photo supplied.

4. Don’t let customers wait… even to pay the bill

Most people will accept a short wait for their food, but when a customer asks for the bill, make sure it arrives quickly. Chances are that guests are keen to head home or out somewhere else, and even on exit, a delay could irritate them, leaving their earlier good service a distant memory. Avoid this by ensuring you have a fast and mobile payment method to close off the table.

“We use an integrated system with the TabletPOS system powered by iKentoo, allowing us to order at tableside, and portable Yoco card readers, allowing every waitron to carry a payment solution at all times,” says Truth Coffee’s David Donde. “The payment goes straight through to our system, speeding up our payment processes – it’s the single biggest impact on time for us.”

5. If you get a complaint, deal with it

No matter how good the restaurant, or how many systems you put in place to keep the customer happy, something can still go wrong. In the instant age of social media, you cannot let the customer wait for a response to a complaint. The longer they wait, the more likely they are to tweet more complaints, and have those retweeted by others. Set up alerts on your phone and tablets for all social media accounts, so you know when customers are talking to you and about you.

When a complaint comes in, try and take the conversation offline by asking if you can call them to sort out the problem immediately, rather than a back-and-forth in a public forum. Once the problem has been rectified, be sure to post an update on the comment thread of the initial complaint so that your community of followers can see you were attentive to your customer and truly value feedback – whether positive or negative.

TabletPOS is a cloud-based point-of-sale system that runs entirely on iPads, iPods and iPhones, facilitating real-time data backup to cloud. TabletPOS is integrated with Yoco, which enables staff to do tableside ordering and card payment. For more information, see tabletpos.co.za, or call 0860 TABLET (822538).

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