Survey Results: Customer Service Survey

Survey Results: Customer Service Survey

The old adage, "the customer is always right" is a philosophy that almost every business owner believes, regardless of industry. In the restaurant business, providing good customer service is essential for success.

In our Customer Service Survey, more than 500 members shared their collective viewpoint on the impact that customer service, both good and bad, has on their restaurant. Not surprisingly, just about every respondent strongly agreed that the level of customer service they give has a direct and significant impact on their overall success.

In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10, the average respondent rated the importance at 9.5. Interestingly though, when asked to rate the quality of customer service in their own restaurant, our members reported an average rating of less than 7.5 out of 10.

The conclusion we can draw from these results is this: "Even though most restaurant operators realize the importance of providing good customer service, many feel that the level of customer service they provide needs improvement."

Factors for Creating Consistently High Levels of Customer Service


We asked operators to tell us to rate the importance of certain factors when it comes to creating a consistently high level of customer service. (Percentage shown is for respondents that listed factor as Very Important)

  • (84%) Hiring the right people

  • (73%) Treating employees well & providing a good place to work

  • (73%) Constant, ongoing reinforcement of service standards

  • (70%) Teaching employees basic social skills such as smiling, eye contact, positive attitude and conversational skills

  • (61%) Educating servers on the correlation between good service & higher tips

  • (41%) Access to good customer service training resources

Reasons Cited for Poorer Levels of Customer Service

Operators that rated their own level of customer service at 7 or below cited these reasons for not having better customer service:

  • Staff turnover

  • Inadequate management

  • Poor quality labor force.

  • Transient staff.

  • Shortage of staff

  • Uncooperative staff

  • Not a priority; too busy running the business

  • Seasonal, changing staff

  • Ownership doesn't make it a priority; or owners disagree

  • Failure to weed out "bad apples"

  • Quality of employees

  • Poor leadership

  • Complacent employees

Best Practices for Creating Consistently High Levels of Customer Service

On the other hand, many of the respondents rated their service at 8 or above. We asked our respondents to share their secrets for achieving such a high level of customer service by asking the following questions:

Question: What are you doing to achieve such high levels of customer service?



Question: Do you screen for customer service attributes before you hire employees and what do you look for?



Question: How do you teach new employees your service standards? (videos, role playing, on the job, etc.)




Question: How important is communicating your values and/or mission statement in creating a customer service culture in your restaurant?



Question: Do you believe that your employees will treat your guests the same way you treat them? If so, what are you doing with your employees that encourage them to treat your guests well?

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