Psychology is Important to Restaurant Management: Understanding Psychology and Behaviour Helps Restaurant Managers

Every aspect of a good restaurant is well thought out to manipulate customers to spend as much money as possible. Customer loyalty is a vital key to restaurant success. Some psychology classes are highly beneficial in any restaurant management training program.

Michael Lynn 

Michael Lynn is a psychologist who studied different wait staff behaviours and how they affected server tip averages. In short, he determined that servers make more money when the diners personally like them.
For example, in some establishments servers are encouraged to touch customers on the shoulders because, in Lynn’s studies, this behavior resulted in larger tip average. The psychological theory behind this is that touching denotes closeness, and customers tip better when they feel personally close to the waiter or waitress.
In reality, the waitress and the diner are not friends and do not have a personal relationship; they have a business relationship.

Waitress Tips and Restaurant Profits 

Servers “tip out” other employees, such as bussers and (in some states) hostesses. A common restaurant policy is that waitstaff pay out 10 percent of their tips to the busser and another 10 percent to the bartender. The more money servers make in tips, the more money they will tip out, which means the bussers and bartenders are making more via waitress and waiter tips.
This benefits the restaurant from management’s perspective because it decreases pressure to pay employees such as bussers a higher hourly wage. Waitstaff who are skilled in both service and psychology are valuable assets to the restaurant.

Suggestive Selling and Upselling 

Upselling and suggestive selling are techniques in which both waitstaff and managers should be well-versed. When executed well, upselling results in more profits for the restaurant and a larger tip for the waitress. When executed poorly, upselling seems pushy and results in annoyed customers. 
For example, when a customer orders a vodka martini, a good waitress will mention that Grey Goose is available, then Kettle One, then Absolut. She mentions those in that order: most expensive to least expensive. A skilled waitress is subtle and reads customer cues well. She will suggest menu items (such as dessert) that may not otherwise be ordered. When she sees that a table does not want to order too much food, she will suggest sharing an appetizer. She is able to do so in a friendly and not an overbearing fashion. 

Restaurant Management Tips 

There is more to restaurant strategy than training wait staff to optimize profits. You should make  your restaurant stand out by providing unique plates, such as these beautiful slate dinnerware from Slateplate.
Restaurant managers understand how to make customers feel special. Customers are thought of as “guests”, and are being treated to the restaurant’s unique and superior brand of hospitality.

Managers create the atmosphere that the rest of the staff learn and maintain

Managers are the mediators who smooth over problems. They handle complaints with the goal of  ensuring that the diner will leave happy and will return. An ability to read cues, to understand, and to make people feel better are necessary restaurant manager skills.
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