Regardless of the type of restaurant you’re running, top notch customer experience is essential to its success. There are many quantitative metrics of tangible which are derivatives of the experience such as CSAT or NPS scores, or average wait & delivery times. However, there also exist non tangible qualitative metrics which are elusive to keep track of.
Now, you may ask why is this important? Simple, good customer experience leads to better customer retention. Moreover, it means good reviews and higher revenues.
Thanks to the increased competition, restaurants cannot excel based on just good food, fair prices and a clean venue. To stand out, restaurants need to offer customers an experience that is built around them. Here are key factors that are of significance to customers:
- Engagement: Interact with customers in a hospitable manner, maintain this communication even after they leave your premises. Treat them as individuals and not just transactions.
- Customization: Allow customers to avail services tailored to their needs.
- Feedback: Hear what customers have to say, respond to their suggestions and act on them.
- Gratification: Go the extra mile to give customers a memorable time.
- Recognition: Remember customers and their preferences, reward them for their patronage.
Now, let’s look at how you can improve the customer experience at your restaurant:
- Train your employees to put customer service above all.
Every employee is a representation of your brand. It is of utmost importance to ensure they are trained to reflect values and provide service worthy of your brand. They should be well versed with the items on offer and be able to suggest the same according to customer preferences. Apart from that being polite, courteous and smiling towards your customers are a must and should be part of their ethos. Lastly, ensure your staff is happy, hence keeping their attitude positive towards their job.
- Anticipate customer needs.
It goes a long way to remember customers and their preferences. A few examples of this are reserving the table and seating of their liking, preparing meals to their taste or mixing up the cocktail that uplifts their spirits. These are in addition the basics such as not to keep customers waiting for their server, filling up empty glasses of water, providing extra cutlery and more.
- Update and audit your menu.
Periodically review your menu to ensure you’re keeping and upgrading all your customer favourites. Track the popularity of all items on your menu so you can replicate successful ones and discard the non-performers. This will help you streamline your inventory, reduce food waste, and save money.
- Pay extra attention to hygiene and cleanliness
As obvious as this sounds, it is still of prime importance, especially given the ongoing state of affairs due to the pandemic. Maintain cleanliness across your restaurant, wipe the table tops and frequently used surfaces. The hygiene of the general areas are a reflection of the backroom and kitchen. Hence, these details are the differentiators in the customer perception of your food, quality and restaurant as a whole.
- Become part of customer celebrations.
People love personalized experiences and free food. What better way to enhance your customers’ experience than by giving them a treat on their special occasions?
Send them an offer via an Email or SMS, when they come back to redeem their free drink, appetizer or dessert, they’ll likely bring an entourage of family and friends with them. They’ll get a free perk, and you’ll benefit from the added sales.
- Be mindful of the timing of your service.
Often overlooked, timing is an important criteria in offering an exceptional customer experience. Ensure guests receive their food on time and aren’t left waiting for it. If customers are in a group, ensure the entire party receives their courses along with the rest.
By maintaining and improving the experience, your restaurant can beat competition and have customers lining up for a meal. Moreover, gratified customers become repeat customers who become brand evangelists. You can't afford to ignore the experience.