There’s no mystery behind what makes a restaurant successful. These businesses perform well because of the hard work, grit, and collective experience of the people who manage them.
Restaurateurs and industry pros didn’t get there overnight. It takes years to learn what works and perfect their approach.
Even when you go outside the world of restaurants, experts agree on the importance of customer feedback. Without considering their feedback, restaurants are blind to countless issues and opportunities for growth.
These insights can be invaluable if you want your business to be in it for the long run. Let’s dive into why customer feedback is so important, give tips on making it actionable, and discuss six strategies you can use to collect more in this article.
Why guest feedback is crucial for restaurant success
Guest feedback is more than just online reviews. These insights can give your restaurant a boost when taken seriously. Let's dig in to understand just why this feedback is essential.
Prioritizing continuous improvement for future growth
Pivots and flexibility are necessary ingredients to win. You're stuck in a holding pattern if you can’t fix what doesn’t work.
You should always strive for continuous improvement, or else you risk missing out on serious growth potential. A foundational concept is welcoming constructive feedback. So, let the helpful suggestions roll in and build upon them to
create a better guest experience.
Feedback is critical in enhancing your restaurant's guest experience and prioritizing growth strategies by helping you understand your strengths and what needs to change. By learning from your customers and guests, you can prevent past mistakes and ensure exceptional customer experiences by creating the best practices for your restaurant.
The impact of word of mouth
nine in 10 consumers consider reviews when making a purchase decision. The rise of digital platforms transformed customer expectations, making everyone a critic with access to an audience.
Online platforms, crucial for showcasing your restaurant's flair and flavor, underscore the importance of maintaining a top-notch presence. In today's digital world, every restaurant must engage customers in a dialogue that aims to be captivating, cheerful, and wholehearted.
A good example is
La Industria Inc. Bakery & Cafe, Miami, which maintains exceptional customer engagement with its clients on Google reviews. Whether these reviews are positive or negative, they create an authentic connection and an empathetic brand identity with their clients. 6 strategies for gathering more guest feedback
Ready to spice up your guest feedback approaches? Let’s get into six strategies to improve your feedback best practices, making them more robust and tailored to your clientele for
business growth and profit. It's all about getting the most impactful insights right from the source. 1. Tableside conversations
The secret to a perfect feedback recipe? Conversation.
Train your staff to squeeze in a breezy chat with patrons during or after their meal. This approach adds a personal touch, making feedback feel as natural as complimentary bread.
A simple: "How was the meal?" can make all the difference but encourage staff to dig in more to elicit more context.
2. Feedback cards
A tool that’s become less common is the feedback card. These are small, unassuming pieces of paper with the potential for practical insights.
The assumption is that if guests want to share their comments, they will do so in person or online. The truth is that sometimes just asking customers to submit their feedback can generate more.
Giving them another option, like a feedback card, will likely capture more than if you didn’t ask them. Design eye-catching cards that incite response and place them strategically in the check presenter, at tables, or the host's stand. 3. Digital outreach for surveys or reviews
Give your guests a gentle digital nudge after their visit. Soliciting feedback via email, text, a Google review, or other software in your
restaurant tech stack can be the cherry on top for improving the dining experience by understanding what your customers like about the food and the experience. This strategy allows your patrons to give feedback at their own pace. 4. Integrate feedback into loyalty programs
If your business has a loyalty program, explore if you can incorporate soliciting feedback into its design. Blending in feedback collection by design ensures your program can collect input from some of your most loyal guests, a group of patrons you want to keep coming back,
especially during slow seasons. 5. Incentivize contests and giveaways
By offering attractive incentives, your goal is to encourage more customers to share their honest opinions while creating a fun, interactive experience. This approach can be helpful in your pursuit of continuous improvement while also deepening the connection to your customers.
6. Take feedback on social platforms
Taking your feedback to social media is another way to engage customers while also gaining insights about their dining experiences. Interactive polls and probing questions on social media can open up the conversation, while direct interactions serve as a dialogue to foster stronger bonds.
How to act on guest feedback
So, you've gathered guest feedback. Now what?
The hard part is over, so the focus should shift towards putting these insights to good use. Let's dive into the methods of analyzing feedback alongside some examples.
The feedback feast: analysis and categorization
Take every type of feedback, whether praise, criticism, suggestion, or observation, with a kind heart and an open mind. Arrange them in categories like you'd sort ingredients for a multi-course meal.
You could arrange feedback on taste separately from comments on ambiance or service. The idea is to figure out how to spot recurring themes and develop a game plan to address them.
Pro tip: See if customers and guests comment about their experiences calling your restaurant. Phone calls can often be a blind spot for restaurants, especially when staffing needs make it challenging to give the appropriate attention. Examples of actioning feedback
After collection and analysis, it's crucial for restaurants to take actionable steps on their guest feedback.
When restaurants receive repeated feedback about a particular dish being unsatisfactory, it's an opportunity for the culinary team to reassess and refine the recipe. Similarly, suppose customers frequently comment on slow service. In that case, this should prompt a review of the service workflow, potentially leading to staff retraining or hiring additional team members to ensure a more efficient and enjoyable dining experience.
These actions demonstrate a commitment to excellence and a responsive attitude towards customer satisfaction, which can significantly enhance your reputation and customer loyalty.
Cooking up constant improvement
Never underestimate the power of guest feedback. It’s true that some guests just won’t come away with a positive experience. But there’s still a ton of value in collecting as much of this feedback as possible. When you put it to good use and creatively solve how to make improvements, you’re on your way to crafting world-class guest experiences.
The key to increasing feedback collection is to simply ask. By giving customers more methods to submit their feedback and leaning on tools to encourage sharing, you’ll collect more feedback in no time.
Are managing your phones just a pain for you and your staff? Book a 10-minute demo to see how Slang.ai can help capture more revenue and streamline your operations.