Customer service is essential in any business. This is especially true in the restaurant industry, where boosting guest retention by just 5% can improve profits by up to 95%. Happy, engaged customers are the cornerstone of your restaurant’s success. Here are the top 5 ways you and your staff can keep every guest coming back for more.
1. The Personal Touch
Guests love to feel welcome. It’s easy to personalize their experience by remembering simple facts, like their names and order history. Find creative ways to connect with guests even when they’re not in your restaurant – by email, social media, or even a proprietary app. By saving their order history in your Point of Sale system, you can make it easy for servers to upsell them similar items they might enjoy.
2. Staff Loyalty
Customers order takeout because they love your cooking, but they come into your restaurant to enjoy the atmosphere. Make it easy for them to build a long-lasting connection with your business by keeping the same staff for as long as possible. This gives guests and employees alike the opportunity to build personal relationships with each other, making everyone feel more at home. A restaurant is more than a business; it’s a community. Foster a fun, welcoming environment to help that community thrive.
3. Put Reviews to Good Use
Don’t just read online reviews – really listen to their feedback. Every review, be it positive or negative, is an opportunity for you to improve customer service. Make changes based on your guests’ requests, and let them know you’re doing so. If someone writes about a bad experience with a menu item – soup served cold, for example – come up with a solution and write back, to let them know you’ve fixed the problem. The next time they come in, you can connect with them in person and offer them a better experience. Take customer service to the next level by showing them how much you care.
4. Marketing Means Transparency
A successful marketing strategy involves customers in the growth of your restaurant. Keep them in the loop about important changes. Whether you’re opening a second location, launching a seasonal menu, or just decorating for a holiday, you can announce every update on social media. Give your guests as many ways as possible to engage with your growing business, and give them new and exciting events to look forward to.
5. Anticipate Their Needs
A little market research goes a very long way. Keep up with your cloud-based reporting, and draw conclusions based on your guests’ changing appetites. Are your vegan items out-selling meaty dishes? If so, consider offering more fresh vegetables and investing in compostable take-out containers. Are your baked goods more profitable than ever? You might want to expand your dessert menu to appeal to even more guests. Draw correlations between your customers’ current behavior and any additional items they may enjoy. Then, when you update your menu, you can announce any changes and invite your guests in to celebrate
The customer is always right – but it’s not their job to be creative. It’s up to you to innovate. Come up with new dishes, new ways of analyzing sales data, and new employee training programs to ensure that your customers will stay happy and engaged in every season.