Savvy restaurant operators already know that a great customer experience leads to repeat customers, but now there are apps that can help. Technology won’t replace the human interactions your employees have that drive a great guest experience, but it can make those connections even more powerful.
Let’s start, as always, with your team. Your employees are your brand, and a happy employee generally delivers a better customer experience. There are a few ways technology can help your employees personally, from helping them trade shifts and estimate their earnings, to providing a place to feel recognized from other members of the team when they go above and beyond. By removing some stress and adding some delight to their workday, they can stay focused on delivering a great customer experience. Instead of worrying about finding someone to cover their shift tomorrow, they can make sure your guests are enjoying their time at your restaurant today.
Team communication is also key to a great guest experience. By making sure your whole team is on the same page, you can avoid slipups and even motivate your team to go above and beyond. There are a few key components to a great communication strategy at your restaurant: making sure your managers are communicating, making sure your broader team is communicating and making sure everyone is celebrating successes.
For managers on your team, a digital manager log book is indispensable. With a digital log book, your managers have access to a database that works kind of like a message board. They can create customizable topics like “maintenance,” “operations” and “diner notes,” where managers can add in notes and photos. Best of all, these notes are searchable, making it easy to stay on top of what needs attention. You could add in information about a private party coming in for dinner, or about a leaky faucet that needs repair.
Of course, a manager log is helpful for managers – but great hospitality happens when your whole team can communicate with each other during their shifts in real time, to make sure you exceed your guests’ expectations. Make sure your team has a way to communicate with everyone that’s a little more work-friendly than just texting and exchanging phone numbers with each other. Set up messaging groups – like separate groups for back-of-house and front-of-house teams – so that people on the team get only the most relevant messages. Plus, you can use team messaging to share relevant details about the day’s specials, what’s 86ed, and if there are any VIPs coming in that day.
And, perhaps most importantly, you need a way to recognize your team when they go above and beyond. The Homebase app includes “shout-outs,” which make it easy for team members to celebrate each other when they clock out of their shift (and they can only send one per shift, which makes the recognition extra special). It’s uniquely motivating – when your team members know they’re recognized for going above and beyond, they’re more likely to excel in the future too.
But there’s more to hospitality than happy, connected employees. It’s a tight labor market, and everyone is dealing with some turnover. So how do you continue to offer a consistent experience to your guests? With smarter employee scheduling. By using a restaurant scheduling app, you can schedule a mix of your most experienced and newest employees side by side, and rebalance as necessary, so new team members get up to speed quickly and continue to deliver a great customer experience.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. New, modern point of sale devices make it easier than ever to deliver great hospitality with integrated customer loyalty solutions. They also help you meet your customers where they are with built-in online ordering and delivering solutions, and easier ways to transfer tabs between the bar and the dining room when your diners get seated. Reservation apps like Resy also make it easy to maintain a guestbook that includes diner preferences, so everyone can feel like a regular.
But technology only goes so far. Great hospitality begins with your team. Make sure they’re empowered to deliver a great customer experience. Now it’s just a bit easier.
About Homebase: Homebase powers team management and staffing as part of CHECK® Business Tools. Homebase helps you save time, reduce costs and make hiring easier. Recruit quality candidates, track labor expenses, simplify payroll and streamline team communications with just one tool. Learn more about Homebase by visiting Simplify Staffing in CHECK Business Tools.
About the Author: Rosie Atkins is the Vice President of Product at Homebase. She has held product leadership roles at OpenTable, Groupon and Upserve. Rosie’s first hourly job was working at her family’s restaurant, The North Shore (now American Seasons), where she started as a produce cleaner at age six. Her first hourly position was a sandwich maker and she eventually worked her way up to line cook and server roles. Her experience working at restaurants and in restaurant technology leadership roles has given her valuable insights into how restaurants can use technology to tackle their biggest challenges and achieve success.
Rosie Atkins, Vice President of Product at Homebase shows off her first foodservice job experience.