Restaurant Owners: Controlling Social Media Starts With Your Hostess

First let’s teach your host staff to set the stage for sharable, branded experiences the moment they pick up the phone.

Retrain your host staff to take your restaurant viral thousands of times a night for Free. It’s easy. Here’s how…

With so many new opportunities to share your restaurant globally through your customers you need to take advantage of the enormous, free marketing opportunities you have available to you with the new connective, sharable landscape of buying and dining.

With everyone “posting” “Tweeting” and “Instagraming” pictures of your food to thousands of friends with a single click, what are you doing to take advantage? You are still training your staff to anticipate the customer’s needs when you should be training employees to create their customer’s needs.

Train your staff to give your customers reasons the easy ways to share their dining experiences with their entire network of friends.

Here is an easy way to start: From now on if your host staff doesn’t already ask whether the guest will be celebrating a special occasion please have them start! Special occasions are events you already know will be photographed and shared on the internet to sometimes hundreds of thousands of people so how can you make sure your restaurant and staff are to? Easy! Training.

When the host staff hears special occasion she should hear bells and whistles and the sound of a slot machine cashing out millions.

Why? Because the customer just gave her the opportunity to create a regular customer for life, a customer who will celebrate ALL their special occasions at your restaurant. A regular customer who will on average come in twenty one times over the next year alone!

Why? Because the customer just gave the hostess license to ask, use and share more details normal. Beyond the date and time, name of and contact phone number of a typical reservation now the hostess can ask for more detail, offer up a TON of information and set the stage to start sharing the event via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! In taking a typical reservation the hostess would have no reason to ask the name of the guest the customer would be dining with and when they arrive the hostess would have no reason to introduce the customer to the waiter who could be serving as master of ceremonies.

How: When the customer mentions a special occasion make sure your employees get and give extra details! Your hostess should say something like, “Oh this is awesome! I have a server working that night who does some really amazing things for special occasions! Is it going to be a surprise?” The hostess has now set the stage for making a reservation FULL of detail and the customer is now even more excited than when they first dialed the phone. This customer now wants to know and will probably remember their server’s name before the even arrive at the restaurant. They will know and remember because they want to know what to expect and what exactly he does to make things so special. The customer is also now contemplating “surprising” their friend when they may not have before. This usually means adding more guests to the occasion which means more sales and more pictures going more viral. That is one very powerful phone call!

How To Easily Brand Your Restaurant For Free Through Your Employees!

Why just serve food when your employees can inspire your customers to brand, post and share your restaurant to their entire network of friends thousands of times a day?

Teach your host staff to set the stage for sharable, branded experiences the moment they pick up the phone.

Retrain your host staff to take your restaurant viral thousands of times a night for Free. It’s easy. Here’s how…

With so many new opportunities to share your restaurant globally through your customers you need to take advantage of the enormous, free marketing opportunities you have available to you with the new connective, sharable landscape of buying and dining.

With everyone “posting” “Tweeting” and “Instagraming” pictures of your food to thousands of friends with a single click, what are you doing to take advantage? You are still training your staff to anticipate the customer’s needs when you should be training employees to create their customer’s needs.

Now you need your hostess to “deliver the goods” by saying something like, “Well, what is the birthday boy’s name? O.k. well when Matt arrives your server Joe will have already alerted the kitchen about the special dessert plate with Matt’s name on it but he also takes a quick video of you and he talking about Matt’s birthday dinner and how it’s going to be a special night. Then he captures Matt’s arrival, the dessert plate being delivered, maybe some words from Matt then the goodnight portion. He makes it really fun and can even capture some moment on your phone or camera if you want. He is really amazing and then edits it and sends it to you for a one of a kind gift for your friend.” Your hostess will have the complete attention of the customer who is making the reservation. The customer simply cannot create this type of experience without hiring a film crew and this hostess is offering this unique experience for free? Trust that word will get out about that.

Beyond having the customer’s full attention, she has leverage. Now she can mention that Joe can only do these “extra’s” when the restaurant isn’t super busy, “We have to make sure Joe has enough time for all of his guests after all. We have to stay in business for your next birthday or anniversary after all!” Can lead to nudging that reservation time a half hour earlier or later creating perhaps a third or fourth seating.

At this point your hostess should mention her own name in case the customer has any additional thoughts, questions or surprises to add to this amazing dinner that your hostess is now planning with your customer. The customer will want to know what else they can have, what should they be thinking or asking, does the hostess have additional thoughts or suggestion. Well… perhaps suggesting Champagne and appetizers be delivered as soon as they are seated or a special visit from the chef, a card or flowers on the table. Do they have a favorite wine, ingredient, dish or story that can somehow be incorporated into the dinner? For instance: How did the two guests meet? How old is Matt? Creating a dining experience that celebrates the relationship is as easy as knowing what geographic or historic circumstance brought them together in the first place. Or finding tie-ins to Matt’s birthplace or date are fun and easy projects for the host, wait and kitchen staff that will solidify a relationship with the restaurant for both he and the customer making the reservation. It cannot be over emphasized to your host staff that these are things that can be done if time and resources are available and Friday, Saturday nights are not those times. That being said “birthday bonuses” might be an idea to fully engage your host staff to be genuinely happy and enthusiastic to do much more work on the phones but the results will be astounding on every level I assure you. Bonuses could be as simple as the host with the most “off hour” birthday bookings can order off the menu or wins a bottle of wine. Even if the customer prefers to keep the reservation at 8:00pm on Friday night they will still be hanging up the phone and possible sharing information that is exclusive to your restaurant and in this way alone you have capitalized on the huge source of free marketing available to you using just your staff and social media!

Next Retrain Your Wait Staff To Want To Work Smarter Not Harder!

Tell your waiters to relax at the bar to increase sales and you will have their full and undivided attention. Show them that it begins with one small thing.. the customer’s name. Teach your staff how to easily get a customer’s name, make more money and work less and you may have a server for life!

Your managers are not equipped to train employees in the new app based socially connective customer service & with so many apps that share & connect globally, now is the time to create a shareable customer experience for each & every guest.

You will essentially eliminate your competition when you train your staff the easy ways to start conversations which lead to repeat regular customers, shareable photos, great tweets about your business or all of the above.

You can help your staff grow sales when you show them how important guests feel when they are acknowledged by name and then show them the easy ways to learn customer’s names by simply opening a door, helping with a package and checking them in with the hostess.

You can further demonstrate how difficult it is to get that tiny but vital piece of information once the guest is seated.

You will create an army of eager employees and the avid customer who come back requesting them when you emphasize that these customers put their stations on financial auto-pilot and save them time and energy.

Taking an order from a regular customer can be done using only eye contact and head / hand gestures from across the room. Is it recommended? No. Too much room for error in my book BUT it will buy your server some time and BOY will your customer feel like a V.I.P.! Point out that the servers could NEVER get away with “across the room order taking” while assisting a first time customer!

The best part of this is that when you point out that a waiter with a station full of repeat “regular” customers works literally half as hard as a waiter with all first time guests and earns 30% more in tips. Now every time your employees approaches a guest they won’t be satisfied with just selling him 1 steak a lifetime steaks while the server relaxes at the bar! (This is a joke but a great visual for your entire staff)

When it comes to customer service, good restaurants pay close attention to methodology, training and delivery. They constantly strive to consistently over deliver yet it seems that customer service is the number one complaint. Why? Motivation. Money is not enough of a motivator to keep employees delivering the message of your brand 100%. So what is? What would motivate an entire group of people to consistently deliver the necessary results to keep your business growing? Keep reading and discover new yet basic ideas to help you and your staff figure that out. These concepts are written in a way that both owner and employee can appreciate and learn from each others perspective.

This is a new approach to an age old problem which threatens to get worse with negative postings publicly displayed on social media giants such as Yelp. Use this information to begin bolstering your reputation, your sales and your employees even in the face of negative reviews and publicity.

Tips may not be enough to buoy someone’s enthusiasm to create superior customer experiences and sales. Read on to find out what does.

Wouldn’t you like to see your customers greeted by employees who are opening doors for, shaking their hands and treating them like old friends? Well guess what. Your customers would like that too! Here is a quick read that can help make that happen. Well read on to help your employees authentically want and appreciate your customers and see my ideas about how to train, transmit, and instill that authenticity in employees so they deliver your message 100% of the time.

Help your employees “Friend” your customers. Help them connect personally and “stick” in your customer’s mind while he is driving away, while he is at work, on vacation or buying a book. Give your employees the license to create “friends” of the business and be memorable because no matter what the vision is for your business, you need people to come back and buy again and again and they can’t do that if they don’t remember.

There is too much competition out there to think you can sell enough to one-time customers, you need them to come back and if possible bringing friends. If you are not helping your staff connect with your customers personally then you are competing on levels that other businesses can match and maybe even beat. Things like product, location, presentation & price. Relationships are the added value service that are essential to succeed and free to create to trump anything your competition may have up their sleeve.

Help your staff create friends because this is who employees will gravitate to, go above and beyond for and make sure they are coming back.

Getting these two “Friends” together is your new role or the job of the customer experience manager so stop telling your employees the same ‘ol thing, “The customer is not an interruption; he is the reason we are here.” and start showing your employees how each and every customer holds the key to their future happiness. Show them that the only way to have customers EVER interested in whether they are a budding author, student, avid car refurbisher, golfer, mom, actor or pianist etc. is through relationships. Without a relationship the customer has no way to get to know them, like them, compliment them in person and through glowing social media reviews. They can’t recommend them to friends, complement them to management and help get raises, promotions and bonuses. The customer can’t give them a holiday card with a gift inside for going above and beyond and they certainly can’t ask to buy the book the employee just published or attend the play they are staring in down the street.

Perhaps your employees are nervous about building relationships and creating connectivity for the store because it has never been the focus of product or operations training but now is the time to share your more “social” minded training with your staff and seize the lion’s share of regular customers through the friendships of your staff. Emphasize with them that you are aware your customers are out seeing plays, buying books, talking golf or motherhood outside of the store and would be thrilled if they were doing it inside of your store as well, making this the only place they feel like family.

Encourage your employees to introduce customers to other employees, managers or you in the event the employee isn’t there. Let’s face it. It is now a very social world and the more reason you give your customers to come to your store the more of the market you capture. Giving your customers “Friendship” or a really personal connection is one of those value added experiences that will have them coming back and bringing friends. It will have your employees not only opening doors for them, shaking their hands and getting them coffee.

Is it easier to teach this to tipped employees? Absolutely. The promise of cash is a great motivator but my employees are not interested in promotions, raises or gifts plus most don’t plan to be in the restaurant business long enough to care. So in that sense you have it easier in motivating hourly employees and all retail employees have to see is how friends can help and strangers can’t. It’s as easy as being on the lookout for any opportunity to get their customer’s name or give them theirs.

It’s the beginning of all relationships: The “Who are you?” part. If employees help open a door on a rainy day or help put packages aside while the customer shops they are well on their way to getting a name, a regular customer and a raise! With enough of your enthusiasm, you may find your hourly employees looking for problems to solve in order to start conversations and buying relationships even when they are off the clock!

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