The absolute truth; guests hate poor service, and a restaurateur hates disappointing them. There are many ways to keep things at bay in a restaurant operation, however, the most important is to keep up with restaurant customer service and increase the number of loyal guests.
Not only do they provide a regular stream of revenue and generally out-spend newer customers, but they also serve as word-of-mouth marketers helping to build brand reputation. According to a report published by Thankx.Inc, revenue at a restaurant is highly concentrated among a small number of customers, with the top 25 percent contributing 64 percent of the total revenue.
Data suggests that a five percent increase in restaurant customer loyalty can increase the annual profits exponentially. In the highly competitive restaurant industry, especially in India, a restaurant would get only one chance to create a first impression. A study shows that if an individual dines at a different place every day in a cosmopolitan city like Delhi, it will take him/her about 20 years to cover all the restaurants. So, to bring the guests back, again and again, is tough. Well, it all starts with the guest’s experience.
Excellency in guest service: For Vikrant Batra, Founder of Café Delhi Heights, customer satisfaction has been a top priority. “We have always laid a lot of emphasis on customer feedback and based on that have always tried to offer the best experience to our customers. I think restaurants should refrain from being adamant and overconfident and should be extremely flexible on considering the feedback and work on it accordingly,” he said.
Sharing the data, Batra informed that 70 percent of the Cafe Delhi Heights customers are repeat clientele. Much of the guest’s first impression relies on the service he or she receives throughout the entire visit. To gain the trust, restaurants should do everything possible to ensure that the guests get courteous, prompt and friendly service from everyone they interact with. This means investing in skilled staff becomes crucial who can go above and beyond for the guests.
Customer is always right: According to a new analysis by SumAll, a New York-based analytics company, 25 percent to 40 percent of the total revenues of the most stable restaurant businesses come from repeat clientele. What ensures repeat clientele is how the guests are made to feel at every step of their journey from when they walk into the restaurant and till the time they leave. According to Amit Bagga, Co-Founder & CEO, Daryaganj Restaurant, one should totally refrain from arguing with the guests even if they are wrong sometimes. “Restaurant’s team needs to be patient and tolerant as there are various types of people who come into a restaurant with varied temperaments. If u listen to them carefully and assure them that u will take action on their negative feedback it would really help in getting them back again too,” he believed.
Not to compromise on food: Seems obvious, but when new customers try out a restaurant for the first time, all it takes is one poor or even mediocre food experience to prevent them from ever coming back. The quality and consistency of all the dishes should be maintained at any cost. In the food-service business it is essential that people know what they’re eating. Servers should be familiar with the ingredients and preparation methods for all dishes. Udita Bhasin, Co-owner of OTB Courtyard said that the kind of cuisines one offer makes a difference. According to him, an elaborate menu makes the guests come again because they want to try new things. “We change our menus every year and revamp at least 40-50 percent dishes, keeping a few staples the same to bring in better flavours and experience. We also work a lot on our cocktails. We try to give the usual monotonous cocktails a twist, which makes them worth a try,” he informed.
Ambience should not be overlooked: The last thing any restaurateur would want is a dirty dining area that gives guests the impression of their food being prepared in a setting straight out of ‘Kitchen Nightmares’. From plates and utensils to furniture and the restroom, cleanliness and a cosy ambience helps shape a customer's first impression. “The way you create a place to make it comfortable and they can chill is what matters. It is important to understand your market and create a product that is in demand,” Bhasin stated.
Customer retention for cloud kitchens: While a number of new restaurant formats have emerged in recent years, the current lockdown has lead to the rapid growth of cloud kitchens. With a focused strategy, cloud kitchen owners too can enhance their customer engagement and retention to make a mark in the industry. “All great companies have to stand for consistent quality and brand values and put customer service and satisfaction above all else. With 80 percent of orders coming in online, BBK uses algorithms to learn how customers are behaving online to send them personalised offers,” added Vishal Jindal, Founder of Biryani By Kilo who believed that incentivizing guests with promotional offers is a great way to upsell and make better sales. Using the database to understand how to upsell low performing items and making changes in the online menu accordingly should also be the key.
Edited by Nusra