Is Your Restaurant Management Staff Social Media Proactive or Reactive? 

Delicately handling customer service issues has always been a skill restaurant managers have had to develop to be effective in their roles. 

Comforting complainers and fixing flaws in guests’ orders put all of the skills a manager has to the test. Successful managers are the ones who have a good mixture of quick thinking, empathy and a personal touch. 

But what happens when the world of restaurant customer service goes digitized? Will you have a manager who is savvy enough to know how the world is changing online and that even a quiet dining room could be booming with customer complaints? 

Restaurants are slowly but surely getting into the social media game, some using it as the main thrust of their marketing campaigns, while others are still in the dabbling phase. But no matter what the philosophy of your business is, the managers that you hire should have their eyes on the future and at least have some understanding the role the Internet plays in customer service. 

No matter how engaged your restaurant is in the social web, don’t hire someone who doesn’t understand anything about the online world of guest service. 

A new restaurant manager, especially one who is going to deal with customers on the front line and be able to satisfy the dissatisfied, has to bring some knowledge to the table about the use of social media by consumers. 

Customers who are highly engaged in the social web are now using their phones as the No. 1 way to voice complaints about customer service. They may not say a peep about it out loud to a waiter, host or manager, but they will let their friends and followers know. And for highly influential users in small and mid-sized towns, that could blow a hole in your business that you never saw coming. 

When interviewing prospective managers, ask them what they know about not just Twitter and Facebook, but review sites like Yelp!, check-in sites like FourSquare as well as YouTube, LinkedIn and others. What you are looking for is not so much expertise, but that they have an understanding of how the web is impacting the business. If they shrug their shoulders or say that they are going to just ignore it, it could be a sign of their level of concern for seeking out and correcting any problems that their diners have. 

What they should talk about is listening. The social web is best for that, even you if your business’ level of engagement is not very active. You and your managers should be keeping their ears out for any issues that arise, whether that is from someone sending their food back to the kitchen or someone Tweeting a message about not having any napkins. 

This has been a guest post by  Brian Bruce.  Brian Bruce is Vice President and Executive Restaurant Recruiter with Premier Solutions in Oklahoma City. Author of articles published online and in industry trade publications, he has been cited in multiple news stories as an authority in Executive Restaurant Recruiting. He can be reached at 877-948-4001, by email at [email protected] , or on his blog at HeadHunterBrian.com . 

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