We know you want to attract patrons to your restaurant and to provide them with such a pleasing experience that they become loyal customers. But a fine dining experience is a combination of many things besides just the quality and type of food. Tasty food and good ambiance are no more the only criteria for judging a restaurant. They are just the starting points. You need to stay ahead of the competition in many ways. According to a study by Nielsen, 84% of the respondents indicated they trusted word of mouth over newspaper articles, TVCs, print ads, outdoor advertising, radio ads, and online banner ads. We tend to read reviews online before checking out a new restaurant in the town. So, make sure that your first impression doesn’t become the last one. But how do you do that?
This is a no-brainer. Nobody likes to eat at a shabby place as it reflects the overall customer service too. Cleanliness is critical in the restaurant industry for both hygiene and appeal purposes as it is the first thing that customers think of while entering the restaurant. They will notice everything. Is the exterior clean? Are the windows clean and the lights sparkling? Are the plants, if any, well-maintained? Every single detail matters. This will determine whether they will enjoy the dining experience or not. Not keeping the place clean can cost you a lot. So, make sure that not only tables but the front and back of the restaurant, restrooms, kitchen, utensils, linens, and employee areas are also clean.
Don’t assume that your customers are happy if your business is doing just fine. This can’t certainly be the case always. Asking for a feedback means you value your customers’ opinions and experience. You can hand out a short guest survey, include a link on your social media pages, or list your restaurant on sites like Zomato, Yelp, etc. and hear what they think about you. Take note of the positives and keep doing the good work. Take the negative feedback wisely and make sure to improve rather than getting defensive. The employees at The Paris Creperie constantly monitor their Yelp business page and respond to every single review with a personal response addressing the reviewer’s comments. This has created their transparent and friendly persona online.
Service staff who are familiar with the items on their menu can provide better service. How? Because well-trained and professionally dressed staff who knows the menu inside out and can make recommendations is very important. How disappointing it’d be if you ask a server to suggest something spicy, but a little bit sweet and you get a blank stare in return? Train your staff to know the menu horizontally and not only vertically. In other words, instead of memorizing the entire column of drinks or dishes on the menu, train them to learn what foods go with what drinks, and so on. By knowing the menu in detail, they can recommend to the customers based on their personal favourites.
You cannot afford to not be present online – be it a website or a social media page. Creating a sense of community by engaging with your customers via social media adds value to your business. The patrons will see your restaurant as a place to eat, greet and socialize and not a mere eating place. Offer memberships and offers specific to the members, organize trivia nights, post blogs, recipes, etc. on social media. Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio used social media to spread the word about their Eater Award nomination and directly asked patrons for their support. Clearly, it worked. So, though it takes time to build a following and a community, it’s totally worth it.
Customers love complimentary items. You can show appreciation by offering complimentary food or drinks to your guests. Giving food or drinks on the menu for free without any offers or reason is better than discounts (% or Rs. off). This small gesture will go a long way in retaining a customer. You can even offer tasting samples for some beverages before they order. Pieology Pizzeria in Irvine, CA offered exclusive coupons to their social followers when they shared a photo of their pizza on social media with the hashtag #MyPieology.
A gourmet restaurant ensures that they offer something which is not available elsewhere. Providing good service and food is nothing new. When you go out to a restaurant, you expect good service, cleanliness, and much more. Not just good food and good ambiance. You can stand out from other restaurants and create a competitive edge by incorporating one or several unique features to enhance the dining experience. There are many restaurants around the world which offer a unique experience – be it an underwater restaurant Ithaa Undersea at the Maldives, Snow Castle Restaurant in Finland where everything is made of snow or ice, or 58 Tour Eiffel situated on the first floor of Eiffel Tower.
Underwater restaurant Ithaa Undersea at the Maldives
Making your restaurant stand out isn’t always a matter of great marketing strategy. It is important to truly make efforts in improving your customers’ dining experience. Focus on how you can make your guests’ experience pleasing and enjoyable. Be genuine in offering quality food and services and don’t forget to ask for feedback and recommendations. Making your customers feel special by building a community, engaging with them, and knowing their preferences are of utmost importance in an overall dining experience. Don’t forget to check out features offered by Petpooja like our customer feedback , captain ordering app and many more .
So, what do you do to offer a great dining experience?