Simple human to human cues to enhance a restaurant experience

Is a cue a cue when it is unnaturally deployed, or does authenticity of delivery play a role in the retrieval of that desired behaviour.

Eating in a restaurant, you want to enjoy the experience, and the restaurant wants to deliver an amazing experience back to you. A win-win dynamic exists. Anything that will aid the experience is good for both parties. I’ve been privileged to experience some great psychological cues that take place at eateries.

I know there is probably 101 other psychological nuances that make up the “restaurant” like menu colours, lighting, background music, layout, seat comfort etc, but I shall refer to some basic, person on person cues, which i encountered recently.

  • Server introducing themselves with their name

Makes the experience personal. You now have your private server, who’s name you know. This is one step short of the server asking your names.

  • Placing napkin on lap

My thinking behind the power of this action is of the 7 touch rule in building rapport. The napkin on the lap is nearly like an invasion of space, but if the server asks, “Can I?”, then you have opened and knocked down that barrier. Now you feel surprised and privileged
  • Putting the desert menu on the table rather than asking
Offering the dessert should be a thing of the past. The “I’ll leave it here just in case you change you mind”, is a great strategy for those in limbo, or those who are indulgent, or those who are tactile in the sense they like to touch things around them. And the menu would be there for them to touch.
  • Saying your name when they give you credit card for the machine 
Reading the name from the credit card and confirming that back to the guest. A classic name drop to cement the personable experience. 
  • Making it causal by saying ‘thanks guys’
Thanks guys, we’re not pushy, we hope you had a good time. We’re casual just like you, we want to show you a good time. “Feel free to drop by again”, no pressure.

Robert Cialdini takes about it in the book, how to make friends and influence people, you can focus on these cues that will drive and influence behaviour creating a better overall feeling of satisfaction and ultimately tipping more.

How it makes you feel

Thats’s all it’s about. Good endorphins must be produced throughout. I wanted to discover more about this topic, if restaurants take this into consideration or if its just part of “the restaurant biz”. I want to find out whether the science and psychology is learned and executed by restaurants teams to improve experience. For sure I believe, that a great service delivery with a smile is one half of the battle, but I’m intrigued to learn more.