Good restaurants put a great deal of time, money, and energy into crafting their menu. While they may be successful in satisfying their customer's taste buds, it's the totality of the dining experience that brings back repeat patrons. This means that little things count, actually they count a lot.
Customers have many dining options these days and frankly good food often isn't enough to bring them back. According to Restaurants and Institutions New American Diner Survey nearly 43% of diners take into account all the aspects of the restaurant to determine if they'll return. Of course, that's just one sample of what's going on out there but haven't we all experienced a restaurant with good food and attractive prices but then they completely drop the ball when it comes to all the many touch points: an unfriendly server, a dirty table, a stoic hostess, dirty windows, empty condiments, a funky restroom with little soap and no paper towels. Every negative touch point will cancel out any positive effort accomplished by good food and prices.
But don't fret too soon if you think you may be in this situation. Weak spots in the touch point grid are easy to see and fix. Do all you can to hire people who believe strongly in hospitality, consider them investments, as they make a big impression in the customers mind. And that's the mind that will later be deciding if they should return. When problems arise let the customer know that you see their point of view and not only are you on their side but you're working to correct anything that's negative for them. The nice aspect about problems are that they are opportunities. Everyone knows that nothing is perfect and that things go wrong in every business sometimes, but let them see you shine as you take care of the negative no matter how little, because little is large in the customer's eyes.
Remember, everyone likes a problem solver.