With hundreds of restaurants to choose from, there is no more competitive business than running a restaurant. The way to win over customers is to consistently satisfy them with the best customer experience and to continuously stay on top of the restaurant industry.
Here are the five essential elements that help ensure customer satisfaction in your restaurant:
It’s hard to overstate how important having the right staff can be. Your people will provide the human interaction your customers will have. The service must meet their expectations, Rogge says. It’s critical to constantly be on the lookout for the right people who know how to welcome and talk to customers in your restaurant. And that doesn’t necessarily mean having someone with deep experience in the restaurant business.
“You can teach someone how to bring food and put a fork in the right place, but it’s much more difficult to teach empathy and true interest and passion for what it is that they’re doing. And that translates to the guests,” Rogge says.
Customers want to know that your establishment will continuously meet or exceed their expectations. You need to understand why customers are coming to your restaurant and then deliver the experience they expect, Rogge says. In a fast-casual restaurant, your expectations are to have an elevated food experience, quickly, at a reasonable price. If there’s a mismatch—for example, the service is slow, or the food is poorly prepared or too expensive—your customers are going to be dissatisfied. It’s important to put processes in place to ensure that the experience is the same or similar each time. Cleanliness of food, reliable service, and restaurant cleanliness consistency are all ways to improve your customer's experience. Today, the name of the game is customer experience.
Rogge suggests developing processes to ensure you can standardize the experience no matter who is working on a given day or evening. For example, set a standard that all seated guests are greeted by a server within 60 seconds, and the first course arrives within 10 minutes. By tracking these benchmarks and giving servers the autonomy to handle specific situations the way they think is best, you can help your staff understand what it takes to exceed expectations, he says.
People go to restaurants to eat, drink, and celebrate, so the food and beverage quality is very important. Equipment should be well-maintained and operational to provide the best meals in the fastest time possible. Water quality should be examined to determine whether additional filtration or treatment is needed. For example, chlorine or related chemicals that municipalities add to water can affect beverage and ice taste. Routinely review food and beverage quality to ensure the taste and presentation remains the same or even better.
Customers form opinions based on the way the exterior and interior of the restaurant looks -- the décor, layout, and other aspects of its appearance. Establishments that look run down or dated may turn off diners. (For soup-to-nuts ideas on branding and décor ideas and products that won’t break your budget, visit 3M Brand You)
Floors should be clean and well-maintained to prevent slips and trips. Lighting matters, too. A January 2018 survey by restaurant review publisher Zagat’s found that three quarters of those who browse food photos on social media have chosen a restaurant based on dinner shots, so newer restaurants have invested in photo-friendly lighting. And, of course, commercial kitchen space needs to be optimized, too.
Diners are placing their trust in you that you’re keeping your establishment clean and taking proper care to prevent food-borne illnesses. They want the establishment to look clean—especially in popular open-kitchen formats, says Carolina Bautista-Brown, marketing manager, food supply business, at 3M.
“Guests consider how the ingredients are handled, how their food was prepared. If you have an open setting, it is even more important that you have a very clean kitchen,” she says. Using the right tools to easily keep the kitchen clean and grease-free helps improve its appearance and contributes to overall food handling safety.
Ensuring customer satisfaction is crucial to win your customers' loyalty. Contact 3M Expert today to find out how you can improve their restaurant experience today.
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