Think of your experiences at your favorite restaurant. What is it that keeps you coming back? Good customer service in your food service operation is essential to maintaining customer satisfaction… great customer service can set you apart from all the others.

Beyond the taste and quality of the food served, that feeling of being welcome and treated like you and your needs matter is what keeps most people coming back to their favorite dining spots. Having those same reactions to the service in your facility will ensure your residents stay satisfied.

Here are some tips on providing great customer service in your dining rooms:

  1. Be patient. Don’t expect everyone to give an answer immediately. We work with many different individuals who might have difficulty speaking or who process information more slowly. Feeling rushed may stop individuals from asking for what it is they really want.
  2. Be knowledgeable. Know your menu and how your food service operates so when questions arise you can answer confidently.
  3. Be neat. Wear a clean uniform and have a neat appearance. You don’t want a dirty, wrinkled uniform to say something negative about your food.
  4. Use positive language. Instead of “we don’t have fresh orange slices” try “can I get you some mandarin oranges or a glass of orange juice?” Instead of “you’re just going to have to wait” say “I’m helping Mr. Smith right now but I’ll be back to help you in a minute”.
  5. Use positive body language. Crossed arms and a frown gives quite a different impression than good posture and a smile.

First step in providing great customer service is the hiring process. Look for employees who are willing to learn and be creative. Being friendly helps too!

Provide training on what is expected when interacting with residents.

Be present during meals when possible to assist and observe your staff and how they communicate with each other and with the residents.

Take corrective action when needed and remember to give kudos to employees who you observe giving great customer service.