How To Streamline The Guest Checkout Process In Your Restaurant

Posted: Nov 02, 2018

You're out to eat, you've had an amazing time, the service was stellar, and you're just about ready for the check.

You flag the server down successfully, only to wait an ensuing 15 minutes before you actually see the damage. Unbeknownst to you, she was double sat, one of table 111's sides went up in flames, and the bar missed her sub grapefruit on 115's mimosa.

She's naturally tied up and you're frustrated. It gets you thinking. There's got to be a way to solve this issue for both restaurants and diners... some way to make the closeout experience seamless and smooth for both guest and operator.

We’ve all been there before, and it's time someone solves it.

How Can My Restaurant Simplify The Guest Checkout Process?

Imagine how much time and stress would be saved for both guest and server if your guests could pay the bill whenever they want, however they want.

The big hold-up most restaurants are experiencing is the one happening between table and terminal. For even the most tenured front of House (FOH) staff, getting to and from a table to the point of sale (POS) can take time, leaving guests with a long wait just to close out their check.

No matter how great the meal was, a disoriented and long checkout process can leave a bad taste in a diner's mouth. For both quick and full service dining concepts, a pain-free check out process is a crucial component for diners, one that can ultimately spell the difference between a one-time and a repeat customer.

Read on to never experience the cringe of a "everything was great but it took so long to get the check" restaurant review again.

1. Incorporate Handheld Technology
You've undoubtedly witnessed a clog at one of your terminals on a busy Friday night.

The kind where one server is hurriedly entering in her tables' orders with a coworker waiting, draped over her shoulder, another anxiously tapping her foot and sighing on her right.

Adopting handhelds like Toast Go™ into your restaurant's front of house operations will unclog that problem for you and speed up your guest's checkout process. Your servers can decrease their table turn time by 46 minutes and take 2000 less steps per shift when equipped with a POS handheld device.

2. Revisit Your Employee Incentive Strategy
Your staff is the face of your restaurant brand.

Motivating them to deliver top-notch hospitality from the moment they clock in to the moment they clock out is no small feat, but it's easier with the help of an employee incentive strategy.

Incentivization is motivation, both when it comes to customer engagement and employee engagement. If you'd like to shave time off your restaurant's average table turn time, hold a contest. Rather than pitting staff member against staff member, make it a collective effort: if as a team, they can reduce your restaurant's average table turn time by 15 minutes, they get a team outing to a local restaurant or attraction.

Revive this contest once every quarter and just think of the progress you'll see by years end.

Though by and large the close out experience in restaurants is hindered by too many servers and not enough helpful technology, investing effort in motivating your staff is never a bad idea.

3. Listen To Your Guests' Feedback
Did you know that 65% of negative restaurant reviews are posted within 24 hours of a poor dining experience taking place?

Connecting with every disgruntled guest who leaves your restaurant is unlikely, though admirable; with a phone lingering at the end of diner's fingertips, how are you supposed to get in the way of a negative review blemishing your restaurant's online reputation?

With Toast's new guest feedback feature, restaurant owners and operators can receive instant notifications when a guest rates their dining experience poorly on the survey included during the payment process.

Toast Go

When a bad review is logged, the manager on duty will be prompted and given the guest's contact information from the restaurant's integrated CRM system. This affords your restaurant management the opportunity follow up with the customer afterwards, get to the root of the issue, come to a resolution, and ask for a second chance.

You now have the opportunity to fix a problem for your guests before it cements their experience, hopefully turning a dissatisfied guest into a long-time brand advocate.

Come Back Soon
Ideally, everyone who walks out of your restaurant should have had the best possible experience. Delivering delicious meals in a timely fashion and keeping the FOH moving swiftly are musts for this kind of success.

With the tips we've provided throughout the Guest Experience Bootcamp, most people will remember your restaurant long after they leave, so you'll want to take the right steps towards extending that great experience for (multiple) future visits and generating as much positive word of mouth about your brand as possible.

By Cassy Lee
November 18, 2018

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