The restaurant industry is incredibly competitive, and the dining landscape is changing more quickly than ever. Your restaurant needs to stand out to remain afloat – whether it is table service, quick service, inside a stadium or inside a senior living community. Prioritizing your restaurant experience online and in-person is going to help your business attract clientele and thrive.
Overall, focus on your brand identity and what makes you unique as the driving forces behind your restaurant experience strategy, while prioritizing the components below to help you deliver:
Diners prioritize delicious food when selecting a restaurant. This may seem obvious, but when a diner is visiting, they are expecting to be fed a delicious meal. They are going to find out if your food is appetizing through online reviews, word of mouth, and by trying it themselves, so serving up successful, tasty dishes is your key to success. Things to consider about your food to help ensure guest satisfaction include:
- Local ingredients: 66% of American consumers are most likely to visit a restaurant with locally sourced food items, so go local and ensure you are advertising this. Interest in local foods and supporting local vendors is growing, with consumers citing that they are eager to see local food options on the menu.
- Diversity of menu offerings: 70% of diners are more likely to choose a restaurant with healthy menu options, so even if you’re a quick-service joint specializing in wings and beer, you’ll want to incorporate something for the diners who are seeking a healthier experience.
- Pricing structure of your items: Price your items so that they bring value to your guests, while ensuring that you can stay afloat. Learn more about tracking your food costs to help you build a pricing strategy that makes sense.
Exceptional service staff
Poor service can be harder to overcome than poorly tasting food. If your staff members are inadequately trained, you risk errors on both the front lines when they are responding to questions about your menu, and errors when they are ringing in items on the POS. 86% of hospitality businesses offer less than 10 hours of ongoing training, which leads to extremely high rates of staff turnover and contributes to the cycle of low staff retention and poor customer service.
Develop an ideal staff candidate profile to help you choose the right people to build relationships with guests, provide knowledge about your menu, upsell and cross sell, and improve your restaurant experience.
Some quick tips on restaurant customer service:
- Be customer-centric, friendly and professional
- Address guests by name, where you can
- Make personalized recommendations on menu offerings based on interactions with the guest (a wine to accompany dinner, etc.)
- When things go wrong, ensure your staff know how to make it right (offer discounts, replace or remake meals at no charge if they are cold, etc.)
Attractive restaurant online persona
Restaurant experience now goes beyond the in-store ambience. A shocking 77% of people visit a restaurant’s website before they order dine-in or take out from it, so they are learning who you are before even walking through the door. 69% of diners also said that the website helps them decide if they’re going to visit, so spend some time building your online presence on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Ensure your restaurant has favourable Google reviews, as those are frequently cited by diners, as well.
30% of millennial diners said they would avoid a restaurant entirely if its online presence was weak, so get started on building yourself a good online presence.
Ambience, design & cleanliness
A few pictures leaked online of expired food or a messy food service environment can immediately destroy your reputation. Invest in your ambience, cleaning protocols, and create an environment and food that is ‘instagrammable’, as we know that millennial diners visit restaurants for this fact alone. Good lighting, appropriate music, colours that invigorate appetite and encourage a pleasant dining experience, and guest spacing are all important factors to consider when developing your restaurant’s ambience. In a post-pandemic word, guest spacing is becoming even more crucial to helping guests feel comfortable and safe while dining out.
Investing in a strong restaurant experience before, during, and after the dining occurs is key to ensuring your business gets to share your culinary creations with the world for years to come.