Positive Impressions Start in the Parking Lot


Service doesn’t start at the table, or even at the host stand. Guests begin to form negative or positive impressions of your restaurant the moment they pull into your parking lot. The next time you show up for work, approach the restaurant from your guest’s perspective. Keep an eye out for these exterior care issues that may cause your guests to turn around before they even make it on your wait list.

  • Trash in the parking lot or entryway.
  • Poorly maintained dumpster area or visible pest traps.
  • Burned out light bulbs in your entrance or sign.
  • Poorly maintained landscaping, such as weeds in flower beds, overgrown bushes, or grass that needs trimming.
  • Water dripping from leaky gutters or snow and ice on the sidewalk.
  • Doors that stick or don’t open easily.
  • A promotional sign or poster advertising an event in the past.

Your Role in Creating Positive Impressions

As a manager, you’re in control of what your guests experience on their way into the restaurant. Make it a habit to inspect the parking lot, sidewalks, signs, and exterior areas every time you come to work. Even the smallest details about the restaurant can affect whether or not guests form positive impressions of your restaurant.

Empower and Train Your Restaurant Staff

Train your staff to also look at your restaurant, outside and inside, from the guest’s perspective. Empower them to take care of small issues themselves and reward them when they bring bigger issues to your attention. Help employees understand that when guests encounter negative things on their way to the table, it makes it that much harder to create a positive guest experience overall.

Cycle of Service Restaurant Service Training

With every guest who walks through the door, your staff should be striving to create positive impressions. The Service That Sells! Cycle of Service restaurant service training program breaks down a guest’s visit into separate steps from the moment guests pull into the parking lot until that final moment when they walk out the door. Click here to learn more or check out this preview:

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