Common Restaurant Mistakes You Could Be Doing

Failure is rather prevalent in the restaurant industry, with industry averages indicating that over 60% of restaurants fail during their first year. That is why, to be successful, running a restaurant involves strategic planning as well as a great deal of hard effort.

The primary factor responsible for restaurant success is a positive customer experience. An excellent restaurant service leads to customer happiness which translates to return business. Furthermore, satisfied consumers may spread the word about your exceptional services.

However, most businesses may be unaware that the management and personnel are running a bad service restaurant that is driving away customers. In this post, we will explore restaurant service faults, why most restaurants fail, and their remedies, among other aspects.

What are the characteristics of bad service restaurants?

The following are some crucial restaurant service blunders that can transform your restaurant into a bad service restaurant, and you must avoid them at all costs for your restaurant service to be on point.

Unkempt restaurant staff

Customers want a clean workplace; thus, being attractive is critical for restaurant personnel. If your serving personnel does not adhere to sanitary standards, they will have serious doubts about what transpires in your restaurant’s kitchen. As a result, make it mandatory for servers to adhere to particular hygienic standards when on the floor.

Poor greetings

Since first impressions are so important, your servers must learn the art of greeting clients as warmly as possible. Ensure you have workers responsible for politely welcoming guests and coordinating with them to distribute tables to walk-in consumers.

Lack of eye contact

Poor eye contact equals a bad service restaurant since keeping eye contact is essential for successful conversation flow. When your servers create good eye contact, it gives your clients the impression that they are being heard and accepted.

It is critical to train your restaurant employees to maintain extended eye contact; this will make them appear more confident and keep customers interested.

Delayed service

One of the characteristics of a bad service restaurant is that guests must wait longer to receive their orders. Customers will be unsatisfied if the restaurant makes them wait for a lengthy period before providing services. Remember, minimal wait times lead to significant consumer satisfaction.

bad service restaurant

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When most individuals go out to eat, they want to spend quality time with their loved ones without interruption. An over-friendly server or host will irritate the consumer.

It is critical to communicate to your servers that they should be near the tables to provide service when needed but not hover about the client invading their privacy.

Improper handling of the glasses 

A bad service restaurant will have restaurant staff serving drinks while holding glasses from the rim, and no customer likes it. Despite knowing that servers will always have clean hands, it is frequently an incredible letdown since the edge of the glass comes in contact with the customer’s mouth.

Not having guidance 

Customers often get perplexed while ordering and tend to look for the servers’ guidance. In such cases, if the server cannot get to the guest and assist them with their order, this results in slower order-taking procedures and table turnaround time.

Additionally, assisting clients with their purchases is an excellent method to use suggestive marketing strategies and upsell high-profit margin menu items.

Paying more attention to certain quests 

Being biased in serving your customer characterizes your restaurant as a bad service restaurant. Giving attention to certain guests more than others is a common mistake that servers make. Guests sitting nearby shouldn’t think they are receiving different treatment from their server’s regular diners.

Having unprepared servers

Servers who appear careless when bringing food, such as neglecting to provide a clean knife or spoon, appear unprepared. Forgetting anything essential to the meal might spoil the entire experience for visitors.

Before serving a plate, instruct your servers to double-check that every essential condiment, piece of silverware, and dish is on their train.

Customers complaining about the firm

Never bad-mouth your restaurant to consumers since it might cost your restaurant money or lose the clients entirely.

Forgetting to use ordinary courtesy

Ignoring or failing to employ ordinary courtesy such as please and thank you characterizes your restaurant as one that provides poor service. This makes your visitors uneasy since you may appear impolite or lack etiquette.

Hanging up on irate customers

No one enjoys screams, but irate consumers may want time to vent before dealing with their issues rationally. Regardless of how upset you are, never linger with consumers.

Using technical language to customers

You may comprehend all the technical terms, particularly on the food menu, but your clients may not. When discussing menu items and restaurant regulations and procedures, it is good to use a language guests understand.

Why do so many eateries fail in their first year?

Now that you’ve identified the characteristics of a bad service restaurant, let’s look at why restaurants fail in their first year of business and how you can avoid them.

Poor location and exorbitant rent

The location of your business is a critical component that may make or ruin your restaurant. Your restaurant may be too far away from your intended demographic, or your ideal restaurant site may be too expensive. This means lower earnings and, eventually, closure.

Take a review and references from many sources before deciding where you will put up your restaurant. Visit the market for your location a couple of times to learn the spending patterns of individuals who frequent the market. If you must rent, you must guarantee that your rent does not exceed 10% of your total earnings.

 Dependent on the restaurant managers

Most restaurant owners fail because they rely only on restaurant managers to operate their businesses. Managers may end up embezzling your assets, causing your business to fall. You should constantly be aware of what is going on in your restaurant.

You must be personally present at the restaurant or utilize POS software that instantly delivers all reports, from sales data to inventory reports, to your PC. This will allow you to track your business by reviewing the daily data.

Thefts and pilferage

Inside theft and pilferage can often go undetected at your restaurant. This is one of the reasons you may fail since on-counter robberies and inventory thefts may bleed your restaurant dry in various ways.

You can use a sophisticated POS system with robust inventory management and an anti-theft system to preserve a complete record of all business transactions and inventory, which may be your only option.

Management inexperience

Opening a restaurant with the prevalent idea that there are no hurdles to entrance into the restaurant sector is far from reality. While there are no industrial obstacles, some of the reasons you might fail in the industry include bad decision-making, poor management, and a lack of financial planning, all of which demand sufficient expertise.

bad service restaurant

Author credit: By Ra Boe / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,

You can handle this by employing experienced workers and having a sound business strategy before opening a restaurant to guarantee you don’t miss out on anything vital. You should consider hiring a restaurant consultant if you are a new restaurateur.

Poor staff management

Having untrained staff can do a lot of harm to your restaurant and ultimately become the reason why your restaurant may fail. Moreover, unhappy and dissatisfied employees can seriously damage your restaurant’s reputation and drive the customers away.

The only surefire way is to ensure staff training for each employee is a must. Also, you must conduct regular communication meetings to maintain transparency within the team. A pleasant working environment will also work to your advantage in solving the issue of unhappy employees.

Poor allocation of resources

Overspending on the aspect of the restaurant that is not so important is one of the fatal mistakes you can make as a restaurateur, leading to restaurant failure. For instance, it is irrational to overspend on the furniture and ambiance when running short of resources in the inventory section.

Financial planning is vital for effectively allocating resources and is critical to the restaurant’s success. Make sure that the fundamentals of your restaurant are well-maintained. Create a restaurant business plan, allocate funds ahead of time, and spend accordingly.

Poor customer experience

A bad service restaurant guarantees that the customer will not return and often forms the basis for why most restaurants fail. Unsatisfied customers may also post a bad review of your restaurant, which can be highly damaging.

The only way to deal with this problem is to ensure you thoroughly train your staff. Despite some customers being irrational sometimes, your team needs to keep calm and deal with demanding customers. It is also paramount to analyze the reason for dissatisfied customers.

There is no reporting or analytics

Your restaurant is vulnerable to failure significantly if your management team disregards reports and analytics. If you don’t keep track of your everyday operations, you won’t know if your restaurant is profitable or in danger.

To thrive, regardless of the size of your restaurant, it is critical to document all business transactions and preserve reports. You can maintain track of your business and make informed decisions if you do this.

Complex menu

Often the reason behind the wastage of inventory items has a large and diverse menu which is tedious to maintain apart from being confusing to the customers. This undue wastage leads to high food costs, eventually shutting down losses.

The best way is to go for the simple menu to excel in what you serve. You can do this by designing your menu in such a way that you use similar and readily available ingredients in several dishes. Another excellent idea to attract customers is by using a seasonal menu.

Not having grand opening

Mistakes begin with the onset of establishing the restaurant. You only have one chance to create an impression, so skipping the grand opening is a big mistake. It is your first opportunity to make an impact and inform people that you have entered the market.

Making a good first impression may do wonders for your business by enticing guests to try your meals for free. And if they enjoy the food, they will almost always return.

Ignoring the pre-launch preparations

Typically, restaurateurs will always be eager and impatient to open a restaurant, and they make the mistake of not training the personnel. Pre-launch training is an essential factor to consider while running a restaurant.

Set up a training session for your personnel before opening the gates to clarify all of your restaurant’s specifics.

Being inconsistent

Another common mistake that restaurants make that leads to failure is maintaining consistency. It would help if you consistently gave the same level of performance. Inconsistency in food and service at your restaurant can cost you a lot of money since you risk losing clients.

No or poor marketing strategies

For newbies in the restaurant industry, without a strategic marketing plan, you are prone to failure due to stiff competition and low attention of customers and their loyalty.

Financial planning is crucial to distribute resources and ensure the restaurant’s profitability properly. Make sure that you meet your restaurant’s foundational needs. Make a financial strategy for your restaurant, allot the funds, and spend following it.

What are the most common restaurant complaints you need to address?

Examine the following most common customer complaints at a bad service restaurant and how to avoid them:

Poor quality food

It is one of the most common complaints in bad service restaurants, and restaurateurs should be aware of it. If your food is contaminated, news about it will travel quicker than you might think.

Customers will always be eager to spend money on your meals, so make sure you evaluate the quality of the cuisine. Remember that the quality of your cuisine may make or ruin your restaurant.

Overpriced food

Revenue is essential for every business, but it doesn’t mean you have to charge exorbitant costs for meals. You cannot randomly set a dish’s pricing, forcing customers to spend more on cheaper meals at other eateries.

People make a financial investment when they eat at a restaurant; therefore, you must ensure that your dish pricing is in line with your expenditures and your guests’ wallets.

Long waiting time

Nobody enjoys waiting for meals, especially when they are hungry. Long delays might cause consumers to depart before their orders are even ready. A psychological reality you should be aware of is that idle time feels longer than busy time; thus, they will undoubtedly post a negative review.

You are responsible for ensuring that long wait times and lines at your restaurant are short for a positive customer experience. If your restaurant is one of the busiest, you may improve the waiting experience by using a virtual queue system.

Strange temperature, too much light

A high temperature in your restaurant results from poor ventilation. Consider your customers eating at your restaurant when they are sweating. Too much light or dark light might ruin the notion of a dinner date, causing you to lose consumers.

As a result, while working on your restaurant’s atmosphere, maintain temperature balance through sufficient room ventilation. Also, ensure that the lighting is appropriate for both the customer experience and the interior design.

Rude wait staff

Bad service restaurants will always have unpleasant, unwelcoming, unhelpful, and hostile wait staff, which is one of the significant sources of consumer complaints about restaurant service.

Thorough training is the best method to deal with this concern. You must invest sufficiently in educating your team in all aspects of servicing your guests.

Loud and obnoxious music

Noise is one of the most prevalent restaurant visitor concerns. While some diners can bear deafening noises, many are outraged, negatively impacting a restaurant’s overall rating.

Regardless of how exciting the loud playing music at your restaurant is, you must recognize that to create a pleasant dining experience, you must know the type of music playing; filthy music is not appropriate for all visitors.

Lower table turnover rate

Customers must wait long for service due to a low table turnover rate, which has recently become one of the most prevalent restaurant complaints.

However, you may correct this by training your wait staff to drop and check before finishing the dish. Additionally, ensure your kitchen has two sections, one for room service and one for dine-in guests.

Checks are not matching

A wrong calculation may significantly influence your restaurant’s credibility since one incorrect estimate on the bill demonstrates how careless you are. Also, customers will not take it lightly if you overcharge them in the name of taxes; they may seek legal counsel.

You must carefully calculate your invoices and take care of all taxes with breakdowns and reasons.

Lack of payment alternatives

Customers dislike visiting establishments that only accept cash or have a single payment method. They will always seek more than one payment method, and failing to do so will result in complaints.

Restaurateurs must comprehend that the world has gone digital, and consumers no longer carry cash with them all the time. As a result, companies must accommodate client preferences by implementing several payment options like cards or coupons.

Inadequate seating arrangement

Regardless of how much you want to maximize your return on investment, overcrowding your establishment with tables to accommodate a large number of guests is not a good idea. You will degrade the environment through noise and overpopulation.

To prevent such typical restaurant concerns, take a proactive approach by properly spacing out your seating arrangement.


When it comes to restaurant hygiene, customers are always picky. When it comes to untidiness, the most common complaints are dirty utensils and tables, followed by poor server hygiene or appearance and lavatory cleanliness. To be exceptional, develop straightforward regular practices that tend to reduce difficulties.

Order mishaps

Order mix-ups are typical during busy hours, but they can also be due to a team member’s forgetfulness, such as providing the wrong dish or having anything missing from an order. Customers are left with a sour taste in their mouths due to this.

Use POS at your restaurant to ensure that you are serving the correct order to the right clients and avoid mix-ups since it allows you to track all orders placed by your customers.


Managing and maintaining a restaurant is a time-consuming undertaking that requires a great deal of care and attention on your side. A lot of preparation, strategy, and hard work puts those strategies for running a successful restaurant into action.

Be aware of the above failures, causes and endeavor to avoid them, so that you can run your restaurant business better.