People forget the power of a handshake, when used in the right environment or context. Or a sincere look in their customers eyes, and remembering their name.
I think people forget that the Restaurant or Bar Experience is exactly that, "an experience." A sincere handshake is just that, remembering their name is just that. It tells that person that they are important; they are significant, that they are just not another customer.
Of course, those pessimistic of this might say, "that only works for those customers you know" to which I say, "get to know your new customers."
You should be helping to develop a core staff that instinctively finds opportunities to make a personal connection to their customers. To find out their name, where they're from, and have they been to your establishment before.
By doing this, now they have made it personal, now there is an obligation between both parties involved. Naturally a customer gets better service (or is more forgiving of bad service) because the server truly cares about them, and the server gets better tips because the customer feels a sincere connection to them.
I have seen this principle work time and time again. Even tourism and convention "out- of-town customers" will return on more than one occasion during their visit, if your ‘team' are effective. Repeat business can skyrocket if customers have been given the opportunity to make a personal connection with one or more of our staff. They became obligated to return. Be sincere. Remember their name. Shake their hand. Give them an "experience." This philosophy will always be a firm foundation; it should be the philosophy that contributes to your prosperity even through the tough times.
Good LuckWayne Roby, has over 15 years experience in the hospitality industry. He has worked extensively overseas and in Australia, gathering ideas and concepts that are tried and proven to work. A large amount of this experience has been at a management level in large restaurants and cafes focused on improving service, systems, sales, and standards!www.cuisinescene.com.au