Show Guests a Warm Welcome
Importance of First Impressions
Consider for a moment the best dine-in experience you’ve had. When you were first greeted at the door, was the person smiling, cheerful, or otherwise in a positive mood? The first face someone sees at a restaurant should be warm and welcoming, as this often sets the tone for the experience. There is even a term for this: the halo effect, such that a positive first impression can mask any other poor experiences a person has.
Since first impressions are so important, it is essential that the host maintains a warm and positive tone. That impression can help secure positive reviews and ensure returning customers. Likewise, a bad first impression can easily ruin an evening, regardless of how good the food is. The sheer volume of 1-star reviews on sites like Yelp can attest that many times, a low review can come from one and only one thing!
A Fine Balance
However, warmth is not the only trait people expect. Consider the formality of the restaurant and come up with a greeting appropriate for the setting. This can make a tremendous difference! For example, in a fine dining establishment, such as one that serves wine and expensive entrees, it is typical to refer to the customer as “sir” or “madam”. Take this same expression to a small burger-serving diner and the “sir” or “madam” might even come across as condescending.
A hosts job is to make the guest feel comfortable and familiarize them with the establishment. Whether on the phone or in person, they must always strike a fine balance between formal and friendly, as appropriate to the setting.