Fast food workers have many of the responsibilities of a sit-down restaurant server, but with significantly less time. They may only get two or three minutes to make an impression on the customer, so it's important to make every single one count. Whether over the phone, through drive-thru speakers or face to face, it's critical for both the business's and the employee's success that he or she has excellent customer service no matter how little time he or she gets to shine. Here are a few tips that can help employees show customers a superior fast food experience and get them to keep coming back.
Don't think of a customer as a "customer," just think of him or her as a person that you can help. Give a big smile and be friendly. Some newer employees may get nervous when taking an order or be intimidated by customers, but this can make customers feel uncomfortable too.
A happy, knowledgeable employee who can converse with customers easily, gladly and semi-casually will thrive in fast food and be beloved by repeat customers. One of the best ways to express a welcoming and happy attitude is through smiling – even over the phone, a smile can help promote a joyful tone.
Take time to clean
When things get busy around lunch, dinner, breakfast or any other time during the day, they can also get messy in the dining areas. Many employees are too busy waiting on customers and filling orders to clean during these times, but taking a few minutes to pick up and wipe down tables can mean a lot to customers. Nobody wants to eat in a dirty establishment, and an employee who clears out areas for customers to eat is making his or her company look good too. Cleanliness is one of the most important aspects of a dining establishment to customers, and it can weigh heavily on whether they'll return.
When there's more down time, employees can clean larger areas and take on bigger cleaning projects. Cleaning also promotes safety for other workers and customers. Although you may have nonslip shoes for work, customers may not, so it's important to keep the floors dry and get spills cleaned up quickly to keep customers happy.
Read the criticism
When you're looking to improve your customer service skills in a fast food restaurant, the Internet can be one of the most helpful tools. Read some criticisms and complaints that customers express about the industry or your company in particular. For example, QSR magazine pointed to long waits, messy eating areas and unhappy employees as some of the common problems of fast food restaurants.
Take these negatives and turn them into positives, work to reduce the amount of time your customers wait, clean their eating areas before they ask and show how happy you are to be working. Reading the bad press will let you know the areas where you can make an impact on customers immediately. They'll appreciate it and so will your superiors.
Think like a customer
Unlike many other restaurants, fast food customers really can include anyone regardless of their demographic. The most important thing for them is to get their food easily and exactly how they want it – just like you would if you were the customer. So try to put yourself in their heads. Anticipate their needs, be friendly and be polite. Fast Company magazine explained that manners are one of the reasons Chick-fil-A has become such a successful fast food business, because they put an emphasis on customer service and think about what customers want.
No matter your role, as a fast food employee, customer service is your greatest tool. It's the best way to help your career, your company and, most importantly, the customers.
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