Everybody’s gotta eat.
And they do, of course; the restaurant industry remains alive and well despite the persistent economic slump and terrible unemployment rates. But with so many restaurant options out there, running the gamut from fast food to fine dining — and God forbid anyone should actually eat at home! — what sets your establishment apart from the rest?
As a casual dining restaurant, you have to find the sweet spot between providing casual comfort; good, reliable food; and excellent customer service. And you have to do this without making diners wait too long. And whether you’re an independently owned single restaurant, a franchise or part of a large chain, you’re accountable to those diners above all others!
But with so many things happening behind the scenes and so many employees to keep track of, especially on your busiest nights, it can be difficult to be always on the restaurant floor chatting with customers between going about your normal business. So, as a supplement to your everyday interaction with diners, consider adding simple text message–based surveys to gather immediate feedback from them either while they’re at the table in your restaurant or after they’ve left.
Do you use pagers to notify waiting diners when their tables are ready? You could include a short code that links to a “while you wait” survey on a sticker that affixes to the pager — ask anything from how friendly the host was to how long they’ve waited. Or, in addition to the specials and other current offerings at the restaurant, include a survey code on a table tent that invites diners to share their meal experience with you. This can let you know whether they’ve been waiting too long for their food or they’re dissatisfied with one of their dishes (they could even attach a quick photo to the survey answer).
The best thing about these surveys: Instead of waiting for results to be tabulated from a phone survey or reading by hand every comment card, you’ll get the results immediately. This means you can spend less time actually compiling customers’ feedback and more time actually acting on it.
Here’s another idea: Offer diners an incentive for completing the survey, even something as small as $5 off their bill or a free appetizer or dessert next time they come in. You’ll know it’s worth it as their answers start rolling in and you’re able to make the casual dining experience better for everyone involved.
- How Can My Fast Food Restaurant Benefit From a Mystery Shopper? (measurecp.com)
- McDonald’s, Other Fast Casual Restaurants Go ‘Healthy’ for Kids (walletpop.com)
- Is NoWait The OpenTable Of The Casual Dining Market? (OPEN) (benzinga.com)