How To Use Customer Feedback To Improve Your Restaurant Operations
Your restaurant’s ability to thrive in a cutthroat industry hinges in great part upon your proper use of customer feedback. With research showing that over 90% of customers read online reviews before they buy food or goods, restaurant owners cannot afford to ignore customer feedback. Accordingly, restaurant managers should create a strategic plan to obtain customer reviews and use them to enhance the customer experience. Below are some tips to help you use customer feedback to improve your restaurant operations and attract new patrons.
Why Customer Feedback Is Critical to Your Restaurant’s Success
Patron feedback can be instrumental in promoting your restaurant and boosting its online visibility. Online restaurant review sites such as Yelp!, TripAdvisor and Zagat are popular resources for prospective customers in search of a great place to eat. Here are some specific reasons why customer feedback is critical to the success of restaurants:
- Customers often post their feedback online for prospective patrons to see
- Prospects often review customer feedback prior to choosing a restaurant
- Feedback can help you improve Front of the House (FOH) operations
- Potential customers will often bypass a restaurant with poor online feedback
- Customer feedback helps you improve Back of the House (BOH) operations
Seven Simple Ways Restaurants Can Obtain Customer Feedback
Clearly, customer feedback can be instrumental in helping restaurant managers optimize their success. On the other hand, failure to ignore customer feedback can spell disaster for your restaurant operations. Below are seven simple ways to obtain feedback from customers:
1) Restaurant managers should ask patrons about their dining experiences. One of the most powerful ways to seek customer feedback is for a manager to simply ask customers about their dining experiences. In addition to garnering key information, the manager’s proactive interaction helps customers feel valued.
2) Include brief written surveys with the check presenter. Short written surveys are effective because they can be completed in conjunction with review of the check. These surveys should contain no more than three to five questions in order to be most effective.
3) Servers should relay customer feedback to management. Servers are the first line of contact with customers and are the most apt to receive valuable suggestions and critiques from customers. Managers should encourage servers to always convey this feedback to management.
4) Offer customers coupons for providing their feedback. One of the best ways to incentivize customers to relay their comments is to offer coupons or gift cards for offering their feedback.
5) Post customer comments on your restaurant website. When you receive feedback from your customers, you can post it on your website. Be sure to ask your customers for their permission before posting their comments online.
6) Encourage patrons to provide online reviews on Yelp! and TripAdvisor. There are several ways to encourage your patrons to post their feedback on review sites. Two of the most popular ways are to include a written request at the bottom of the check and to train servers to verbally invite customers to post their online reviews.
7) Create an online blog that features customer stories and experiences. Blogs are powerful tools for keeping new and existing customers updated on new dishes, exciting news, and positive reviews from customers. Invite your customers to sign up to receive blog updates and encourage your best customers to become active blog participants.
How a Restaurant Profitability Specialist Can Help Your Restaurant Thrive
The best way to develop a strategic plan to utilize customer feedback is to enlist the guidance of a restaurant profitability specialist. By seeking the support of an industry expert, your management team can learn how to use customer comments to bolster your restaurant’s online reputation and maximize profit margins. Here are some ways that a profitability specialist can help your restaurant:
- Observation of your operations to identify strengths and weaknesses
- Implementation of point of sale software and hardware
- Specialized merchant services such as payroll and credit card processing services
- 24/7 support and service
With the help of a professional profitability specialist, your restaurant will enjoy improved operations and attract new customers. By receiving expert guidance and ongoing support, your business will be armed to succeed in the competitive restaurant industry.