Excellent customer experience is the foundation of any strong and successful restaurant. It’s what sets you apart from the plethora of competitors and what drives loyalty with your customers.
Especially in a restaurant setting, going above and beyond in delivering a superior customer experience can really differentiate you. In most cases, a customer goes to a restaurant with convenience and indulgence in mind. To them, it’s an experience where they can stray away from cooking and mingle with friends and family. Therefore, your restaurant should be organizing operations and conducting service with the customer and convenience in mind.
In order to help you better understand the impact of customer service in the restaurant industry, we’ve compiled 10 statistics on customer preferences and the importance of going the extra mile to provide an excellent customer experience:
- Today, 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service. (American Express)
- A moderate increase in the Customer Experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues. (Temkin Group)
- A Harvard Business School researcher found that a one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating correlated with a 5-9% increase in revenue.
- 25 percent more people turn to consumer reviews on sites like OpenTable, Yelp, and TripAdvisor than those who rely on reviews by professional food critics. 60 percent read reviews before going out for a meal, a habit that takes precedence over getting directions to a restaurant, or looking at food photos. (OpenTable)
- Diners say that complimentary extras (69 percent) and seating preferences (65 percent) would go far in increasing customer loyalty. (OpenTable)
- Among the most important things diners say they want restaurants to know (and remember) their names (65 percent) and favorite drink (50 percent). (OpenTable)
- 75 percent of consumers will not visit or patronize a restaurant with negative reviews about its cleanliness. (Harris Poll for Cintas Corporation)
- 38% of all customer complaints are on social media and review sites. Restaurants get only 14% of all complaints. (Jay Baer, Food Service Magazine)
- In a textual analysis of more than 331,920 online reviews of more than 1,300 restaurant locations, “service” was the most frequently mentioned keyword. (ReviewTrackers)
- After one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again. (New Voice Media)
Providing excellent service is a critical component of your restaurant’s success. As proven by these statistics, not providing the expected service can really hinder your progress as a company. With these statistics in mind, here are a few ways to ensure a positive restaurant guest experience.
One of the biggest ways to provide a great experience at your restaurant is by getting on a personal level with your patrons. Building a personal connection establishes loyalty. If a customer feels more like a friend rather than just another number they’ll be more inclined to visit your restaurant again. Train your servers to use customer names in conversation or have them strike up a casual and appropriate conversation. Having casual dialogue is a great way to gain insight on that specific customer to enhance their future service, as well as help you improve the overall experience.
Use Your Best Judgement
In a restaurant setting, it’s important to check in on your guests to make sure they are enjoying their meal and the atmosphere. However, you don’t want to be overbearing by checking in on them too frequently.
Providing excellent service means using your best judgment when it comes to every aspect of the customer visit. From refills on drinks to casual conversations, reading their body language can help you determine when it is the best time to approach their table and when it is not.
Make Their Visit Effortless
The last thing a customer wants to experience when they are visiting a restaurant is a long wait time or complexity. For restaurants, customers visit your establishment to avoid the hassle of cooking, usually their intentions are to have a relaxing stay or to have fun with family and friends. This means that the experience should remain effortless.
To streamline any experience, analyze where your company needs improvement and incorporate technology where applicable. Automation is a big trend as of late and can help your team members ring orders through, explain food items, and check inventory levels to elevate the customer’s experience.
Keep Your Establishment Tidy
No one wants to eat at an establishment that has visible dust or a dirty washroom. To offer excellent customer service your restaurant should be clean and decorated with the customer in mind. Cleanliness plays a large part – as pointed out in the aforementioned statistics – in customer satisfaction.
Remember, the look and feel of your restaurant is the first impression the customer has with you. Make it a point to have employees check bathrooms as part of their daily routine or hire cleaning staff to come in every week and do a thorough clean of the entire establishment. However, you choose to do so, makes sure to have a member of management check in to see if it meets your standards.
The foundation of any strong and successful restaurant starts with providing exceptional customer service. Whether you are a large chain restaurant or a small business, going above and beyond with your customers is a tactic that will drive repeat customers and propel your revenue today, and in the future.