Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

Is Your Restaurant Meeting These 6 Guest Expectations?

Take these steps to improve your restaurant’s guest experience.

There’s no doubt that your restaurant wants to stand out from competitors. Maybe you accomplish that with unique menu items, the best value for lunch specials or with a pleasing ambience that makes guests feel great as soon as they walk through the door.

But you may have to go even further by taking steps that meet today’s restaurant customers’ expectations for what they consider a superior guest experience.

That may entail taking a closer look at where your restaurant meets or falls short of guest expectations. Maybe your service is too slow. Are your servers taking orders correctly or delivering the wrong orders to the wrong tables? Are you getting negative reviews?

“Improving the guest experience in restaurants comes down to measuring current sentiment, listening to your guests and taking action to solve the problems highlighted,” according to customer service and guest experience platform Qualtrics.

There are reasons some customers return again and again while others eat at your establishment only one or two times and then move on to another restaurant. The complete guest experience matters. Here is how to improve it.

Tips for improving your restaurant’s guest experience

“Businesses need to design the experiences guests want, and continuously improve them as attitudes and behaviors evolve if they are to remain competitive,” says Qualtrics, which offers the following tips for providing a superior customer experience.

1. Offer convenient options

If there’s one thing restaurant guests got used to during the pandemic, it’s convenience. Curbside pickup. Door Dash and other takeout delivery services. A variety of delivery and pickup options, including offering a drive-thru, may be the factors that sway customers to choose your restaurant over others.

2. Make ordering and payment processes smooth

Guests are tech-savvy and they expect restaurants to follow suit,” says Qualtrics. “All touchpoints — from the point of sale to the menu provision — should take into account the latest restaurant technology to make ordering, payment, and reviews as frictionless as possible.”

3. Keep employees engaged

When your employees are happy and satisfied, your guests feel the same way about their dining experience. Keep your employees engaged by training them properly so they can perform their jobs to your restaurant’s standards.

Show workers that you value them and what they have to offer. Offer incentives for outstanding service and perfect attendance. Post positive reviews that mention employees by name on the break room bulletin board.

Ask your employees whether their work expectations are being met and to what extent. Then use their feedback to improve the employee experience. The result will be an improved guest experience that keeps customers coming back.

4. Use digital data to improve

“It’s a good idea to use a digital-based platform for collating and processing data so you can uncover timely insights and send them to your teams for action,” says Qualtrics. “From resolving location-based issues to sorting out wider pain points across the guest experience, you can more easily see trends and take action.”

5. Provide outstanding service

Make customer service the focus for employees and management. The effort will pay off with positive reviews and repeat business. When guests are dissatisfied and leave bad online reviews, respond with empathy and an apology for their upsetting experience. Then invite them to return for a discounted meal.

6. Offer a loyalty program

Offering a loyalty program keeps guests engaged. They have motivation for returning to your restaurant regularly to earn food and drink rewards.

“How [guests] feel about your brand is important, and a loyalty program can help guests to feel as though they personally have a stake in returning for more,” says Qualtrics. “Remember to optimize the rewards based on your guests’ personal preferences for the best results.”