Are customers waiting too long — and vowing never to return?

Every restaurant wants to boost customer loyalty. But it evaporates instantly if guests start to feel abandoned. Fortunately, iiko has innovation that can help.

We’ve all been there … waiting an age to get served, receive the next course, or have the waiting staff call at our table so we can finally pay the bill and leave. The experience can turn a bubbly lunch or dinner into a frustrating slog and even result in a stinging online review.

Poor service appeared in the Top 5 most common customer complaints — in a report covered by issuetrack. When waiting staff are “slow, inattentive, disorganized, or outright rude, it negatively affects the dining experience and can turn an otherwise pleasant meal into a complaint-worthy affair,” says the issue-tracking software specialist.

What’s more, blaming delays on the pandemic won’t wash any more. Customers across sectors are now fed up with being told they are getting poor service “because of Covid”, according to new research reported by the BBC.

But how can restaurants make sure they always give customers the attention they need — especially when you may be short-staffed?

Innovation from iiko can help. For just one example, earlier this year, we found a simple but effective way to alert waiting staff on their screens if customers have been left on their own for too long. If the “idle time” shows as 10 minutes — or however long you feel is too much for guests — then an exclamation mark appears next to their table icon on the screen. As a result, waiting staff can avoid accidentally forgetting some guests amid the blur of a hectic lunch or evening shift.

iiko customers can ask our team about the availability of this feature.

Another game-changer is Smart Table Service, which equips your waiting staff with a handheld device and an intuitive app, so they can take orders and also accept secure payments instantly on a single device.

Because orders can be sent to the bar and the kitchen in a single click, waiting staff don’t need to disappear with orders — or go hunting for card readers. Instead, they’ve got more time to focus on customers and provide the service that makes the difference. Being attentive can result in better reviews and long-term loyalty.