At Red Robin, Every Meal Comes With a Side of Great Customer Service

One of the most important secrets for providing great customer service is consistency. No matter how great your customer care is, if you can’t deliver it consistently, you won’t achieve the results that you want. Day in and day out, week after week, your commitment to great customer service must always be a priority. And, you’ll need to lead by example in order to get a commitment from everyone in your organization.

I have consistently received great service from the staff at the Red Robin restaurant near my home, so I decided to interview Acting Manager Greg Smith. I wanted to find out some of his secrets for how to deliver great customer service. I’ll now share with you some of the highlights of our conversation:

Greg has been managing my neighborhood Red Robin for more than 17 years. He admits that he learned most of his leadership skills from trial and error and common sense. When I asked him how he likes working at Red Robin, he replied, “It’s Fantastic.” He embraces the guest service philosophy and mission of Red Robin and the atmosphere that it creates.

Before our interview, I sat and ate at a booth and was immediately impressed by an observation: He LOVED his job! And it showed. Also, he “led by example” – smiling when greeting guests, was visible and, therefore, readily available to customers (constantly walking around the restaurant asking guests how they liked their meal), and was helpful to his staff (serving food to help busy team members).

During our conversation, I was hard-pressed not to notice his enthusiasm. I could tell that he truly cared about his guests and staff and the success of the restaurant.  From my experience, companies are successful when the company mission and values are not only communicated to all employees, but when these ideals are demonstrated and supported by every level of the organization. That is exactly what is happening at this Red Robin location, and Greg is a big reason for its success.

I have developed the following Tips for Success from my observations and interview with Greg:

  1. Hire the right people. If you inadvertently make a hiring mistake, fix the problem immediately.
  2. Treat your employees like members of a team. Call them “team members,” so they act like team members.
  3. When you truly care about your team members, they will truly care about their jobs and their customers.  (Yes, it is that simple!)
  4. Set high standards of teamwork and customer service and hold every team member immediately accountable. Be tough, but fair.
  5. Schedule regular pre-shift meetings to keep team members updated and focused on expectations and correct behaviors.
  6. Teach your team members that they are actors on a stage and their uniforms are their theatrical wardrobe. (I love this tip! What a great way to ease your team members into the right mind set.)
  7. When team members get busy and stressed out, remember step number six.

Yes, I learned a lot from Greg. And although the list of tips may sound like hard work, it all can be boiled down to two easy concepts: Lead by example and really care about your team members. These will help you to deliver great customer service — consistently, day in and day out!

Ask yourself, “What are we serving our customers?” If the answer isn’t Great Customer Service, then implement some or all of these tips within your organization.

Please share your comments below and let me know what you think.

3 Responses to “At Red Robin, Every Meal Comes With a Side of Great Customer Service”


  1. 1 Tommie May 30, 2013 at 3:32 am

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  2. 2 healthy foods January 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm

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