Some days in food service are just bad days and it's hard to control how they affect you and your staff. Bad attitudes can and typically do affect customer service. It's hard to grind through a bad day with a smile. It even harder for your employees to when they don't have as much riding on the success of your food trailer business.
Customer service is just as important as your food. No one wants to patronize a food trailer where they feel they were either given poor service or a poor attitude. The food would have to be otherworldly to return for bad service. Granted, there are probably some "Soup Natzi" type trailers and owners that know their food is that good that they do and say what they please, but most should not have a bad attitude even with excellent food. Some questions you might want to ask yourself when considering how well you approach customer service are:
- How friendly are my staff? Most food trailer customers don't care how cool your trailer or staff is. If they don't feel comfortable and welcomed they probably won't do business with you or won't do repeat business with you. Make sure your staff know the importance of a smile and try to make guests feel welcomed. They are supporting your business and need to feel appreciated.
- How approachable is my trailer? If customers like the appearance of your truck and staff they are more likely to approach the trailer review the menu and ultimately order!
- How do I personalize my eater experience? Are you taking names, writing names on boxes/bags? Eaters like the experience as much as the food. Make it a personalized experience and they will probably want to keep coming back.
- How do I use social media to take customer service to the next level? Are you re-posting positive comments and images from customers? Are you following them back? Are you inviting them to events and recognizing them for supporting you? Chances are good you are already doing this, but you would be surprised how many food trailers are not. There is no excuse for not using social media, if you're busy hire it out. Get staff on board and helping monitor and post for you. Remember to find which platforms most of oyur customers are using and get used to using that platform. No need in being a pro at them all, just the primary ones your customers are using.
So, is customer service more important that your food? This is still a tough question. I suppose it depends on the customer. Some customers are willing to put up with horrible customer service for excellent food. However, I would error on the side that most will not. Work with your staff to implement and maintain a customer service standard. The happier your staff, the happier the customer and your bottom line.
Have comments or tips to share with the food trailer community? Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact us.