Great customer service is critical to restaurant success, especially since loyal customers will spend an average of 67% more than a new customer. Due to their increased spending, repeat customers contribute significantly to restaurant revenue: a recent study showed frequent customers contributed to 68% of sales at fast-casual restaurants. Without loyal customers, your restaurant’s profits may suffer.
But how do you gain and maintain loyal customers?
One way to foster customer loyalty is with excellent dining experiences. Restaurant management has the power to give service a special touch and mediate issues, which can elevate the customer experience.
Let’s take a look at a few ways owners and managers can improve customer service at their restaurant:
With a simple ‘Good evening, Susan’, a customer’s dining experience will start off on the right foot as soon as they walk through the door.
Owners and managers should make a point of greeting both new and loyal guests by their first name, if possible. This personalized service will make new customers feel warmly welcomed, and loyal customers feel like a VIP.
While it’s up to management and staff to remember customers, businesses can help personalize greetings by collecting customer data with guest manager software. Not only does this software capture reservations, names, and phone numbers, but also documents dining preferences and order histories.
This data is also useful for managers to keep track of repeat customers and special service opportunities, like anniversaries.
Accurate Wait Times
Another way to improve the customer experience at your restaurant is to quote walk-ins with accurate wait times. Unusually long or misquoted wait times are the most common reason for restaurant walkaways. Guests will appreciate if they’re seated as soon as – or even better, before – their estimated wait time is up.
Guest management software can catalog historical wait times at your restaurant, enabling hosts and management to predict with confidence how long guests will have to wait before they’re seated. With the right technology in place, restaurants can reduce customer walkaways by up to 28%.
Even if your restaurant isn’t upscale, management can use table touches to make diners’ experiences extra special. By visiting each table and checking in with guests to see how they are enjoying their evening, you are showing them that they are more than just a check.
David Scott Peters, founder of “The Restaurant Expert” suggests asking leading questions such as “Was your burger cooked to the right temperature?” or “Isn’t that special fantastic?” to get quality responses from diners. This way, if there is a problem with the meal, it can be fixed right away. If their experience has been excellent, talking about it solidifies it in their mind.
Respond to Concerns
Management should address any issues or concerns that arise while the customer is dining. Unfortunately, many complaints are now made on social media or other public review sites after the customer leaves. When a customer complains online, sometimes a response and suggested resolution from management can solve the problem.
A guest management application may allow guests to send private feedback following their dining experience, benefiting restaurants as complaints are made privately instead of on social media or other review sites.
If a customer chooses to voice their complaint through a restaurant app, managers can communicate directly and privately with guests to offer discounts and get feedback about how to improve service.
Whether a customer voices a complaint in person, on social media, or through an app, restaurants should ensure the individual ends their experience with the restaurant on a positive note.
Management can improve customer service by making sure operations are running smoothly, personalizing service, and mitigating any potential issues.
Since loyal customers are the main contributors to revenue, restaurant management should spend time and energy on the floor ensuring their guests have the best dining experience possible.
How does your restaurant’s management create great customer experiences?