Tips for improving phone calls between restaurant staff, guests and vendors

Mike Butts profile image December 6, 2023 | 5 min read

Communication is vital in a restaurant. From the kitchen staff working with vendors, to taking reservations and to-go orders, to getting the word out on social media, effective restaurant communications make for a thriving eatery of any size or shape.

While restaurants get a lot of publicity on social media, the simple old phone call can still make a world of difference. But how do you master your restaurant phone system? In this blog, we’ll take a look at what makes a phone call effective and how you can get there. Order up!

What makes restaurant phone calls most effective?

Let’s back up a bit and first go over what makes for an “effective” phone call. A lot of people may first learn about your restaurant through word of mouth, Yelp or viral TikToks. While that may pique interest, many people are going to want to call you first.

Your staff, whether a hostess or someone at the register, has to be able to promptly and clearly relay information to your guests in a phone call. It could be about your restaurant hours, your menu, whether they can get a reservation or if you can cater a large event.

If they can calmly and efficiently answer these questions, you have yourself an effective phone call and, more importantly, a cornerstone of restaurant communications. If they can’t, you may have a problem, including eroding any good impression your caller might have had.

How can you make telephone calls more effective?

It all starts with clear, simple language with a friendly tone. This is especially hard to do during lunch or dinner rushes. We get it, you need to serve a lot of people very quickly, but you also must clearly communicate with customers on the phone.

If there’s a lunch rush, answer the phone and politely tell your potential guest that it’s busy and you need to put them on hold. Or, get a restaurant phone system that takes care of simple requests for you. We’ll get to that in a bit. This way, you free up staff to take care of the guests in your eatery.

When you are talking with a guest, keep it calm and friendly. Answer their questions to the best of your ability. This means that your front staff, whether that be a cashier or a hostess, needs to be well versed on your restaurant. If they don’t know an answer, tell the guest they will do their best to find out.

Make great phone calls part of your organization’s culture

Great phone calls, and great communication, are a pillar of any successful organization.

When you’re hiring staff, make communication a high priority for your candidates. Ask them how they handle conflict, how they communicate, and if they can share specific moments they’ve had to practice effective communication.

Second, make it an important part of your training procedure. Create documents that can help your staff, new and old, understand how important good communication is for your guests. Train them on how to respond to upset guests and even give them scripts they can use. These scripts can be official policy, like the greeting they say when they first answer the phone, or they can be for specific scenarios, like a guest calling back because they got the wrong order.

They don’t always have to say these scripts verbatim, since that can sound a little robotic and tone is an important part of an effective phone call. You want people to be warm, empathetic and energetic. You don’t want them to sound impatient, cold and short. Think about the things you appreciate when engaging with other businesses and implement those ideas with your staff.

How to take phone calls to the next level

Clearly communicating over the phone is a great first step, but there are more tools you can use to improve how you handle those phone calls. This can make your guests feel better cared for.

Specifically, you can take advantage of technology to up your game. A VoIP phone system offers many advanced business features to not only train your staff, but foster effective phone calls with diners. Here are some of the many tools for this available in Ooma Office:

Record calls for training

Use Call Recording to better train your staff. You can record calls to review later, allowing you to hear how your staff communicates with callers, take notes and circle back with tips from real situations so they can diffuse difficult situations, calm nerves, educate and offer support.

Don’t leave callers hanging

If your front staff is busy and you don’t want your guests left hanging, Virtual Receptionist has your back. You can set it up to answer basic questions, like hours of operations or the special of the day. You can even create a call tree to quickly route your guests to the right staff member.

Stay connected on the go

Away from the restaurant? No worries. With Ooma Office, you can stay connected to your guests no matter where you are. Turn your computer into a powerful phone with the Ooma Office desktop app, and stay connected to your business on the go with the Ooma Office mobile app.

Reduce call waiting time

Want your guests to have their phone call answered quicker? With Multi-Ring, you can have phone calls ring on multiple phones and devices at the same time, allowing the first available person to answer and help.

Send important documents with eFax

Faxing is still an essential method of communication for many businesses. You can easily send a Virtual Fax, aka eFax, with just a couple taps. Administrators can access your restaurants virtual fax logs—a handy feature if you need to verify details in a faxed invoice.

Manage callers during peak hours

Don’t forget to get ready for the busy times, like weekends and holidays with Call Queuing. You can create a simple call center and automatically place guests in a virtual waiting room that can be enhanced with recorded announcements until a staff member is available to answer their questions.

Add some video to your restaurant

You don’t need to limit your communication to one-on-one phone calls. With audio conference calls and videoconferencing, you can assemble your entire staff together to discuss issues—no matter where they are.

You’re ready to improve your phone calls

Now that you’ve got the basics down, you’re ready to begin making phone calls between your restaurant staff, guests and vendors more effective. Start an action plan and implement some of the ideas and strategies we’ve talked about here. If you need an advanced, affordable business phone system to take you to the next level, Ooma can help.

Thank you!

By subscribing to Ooma’s Blog, you can expect to receive insightful emails about latest updates, helpful tips, and useful tricks.

Call us at: 866-573-0707 for any other inquiries

Unlock the full potential of your Ooma experience: Tips and Insights from the Ooma Blog

By clicking below you expressly agree to and acknowledge the statements set forth in this
link. By submitting your contact information, you are giving express written consent to receive on your telephone, mobile or other electronic device auto-dialed, pre-recorded, artificial or other automated telemarketing calls or texts (SMS & MMS) from Ooma, its marketing partners, or third parties acting on Ooma’s behalf, even if your number is a on a corporate, state or federal Do Not Call (DNC) list. Carrier fees may apply. Consent is not a condition of purchase. It also indicates that you agree to Ooma’s Privacy Policy.
Fix error