- Get the guests on-side early
With this in mind, you want to get them on your side early, and a big part of this is in how you meet and greet them.
Put one or two members of staff on meet and greet duty, ensuring a great first (and last) impression. If they can’t be seated straight away then they should be escorted over to a seating area and taken care of until their table is ready.
- Communication is key
The majority of guests will understand that there might be longer waits over the festive period, but it’s essential that you tell them about any anticipated wait.
You can even turn a wait into an opportunity for a customer service win. If the guests are waiting to be seated, when you escort them over to the seating area, offer them a complimentary round of drink, if appropriate. If there’s a wait on food, offer them a complimentary amuse bouche or other small snack to tide them over.
- Keep on top of mess
At busy times your restaurant can easily fall behind in terms of cleanliness, with waiting staff in too much of a hurry to stop and pick up napkins that drop to the floor, or to ensure that every dirty glass is collected from the tables.
Assign a couple of staff members to clean-up, making sure that your usual high standards of cleanliness are kept on top of even at the most busy times of year.
- Don’t rush - or panic
As the food tickets begin to pile up it can be easy for kitchen and waiting staff to start to feel overwhelmed, and as a result start to rush what they’re doing. An understandable reaction when it seems as though you’re falling behind, but rushing is how mistakes are made. It’s important not to dawdle, but your staff should only work as quickly as is manageable.
It’s better to increase the wait than to start sending out sub-par dishes.
When your restaurant is busier, mistakes are more likely to happen, and more mistakes means more potentially unhappy guests.