What Keeps Restaurant Owners Up at Night? 4/4: Customers
As sad as we are to announce this, we've come to the final article of the "What Keeps Restaurant Owners Up at Night" series. Read the previous part of this series here.
First impressions are extremely important. Poor customer service is often a deal-breaker for many. Your food may be outstanding, your table settings exquisite and your ambiance delightful but if your service is bad, your customers remember for life.
Are your customers happy with their dining experience?
The success of a restaurant is dependent on how customers enjoy the dining experience. Any restaurant has the power to succeed, but few restaurant owners know what's needed to move their business beyond keeping the ship afloat.
New restaurants pop up all the time. Competition is ruthless in almost every corner of the city. However, maintaining the status quo and lacking the drive to stay ahead of the curve can kill any restaurant.
Here are 3 tips that we believe restaurant operators, like you, can use to foster a deeper connection with your customers.
Consistency is the name of the game
If there's one thing that every single restaurant owner should swear by when trying to run a healthy business, it's consistency. No matter if you're a charming cafe so far-flung that you might even get “My Maxis” signals from Malaysia, or the hottest new bistro in the heart of the city center, providing consistency will ultimately determine your success over time.
From food quality standards to the customer experience, consistency is essentially a mantra that every gastronomic operator should practice religiously. It can be tough to maintain consistency on a daily basis, but it's worth striving for. If the consistency seems impossible, it may be time to reimagine your processes in order to make it more achievable.
Value retention over acquisition
Customers are what keep your doors open. For restaurants, however, if you're only able to bring in new customers rather than returning customers, you won’t stay open for long.
Restaurants typically rely on repeat customers due to the local nature of dining establishments. Unless you run a restaurant for tourists, the pool of potential customers is mostly restricted to your immediate area.
This is where consistency will help bring customers back time and time again. If a guest is given a consistent experience every time they sit down, and they like the food, they will probably return. But it's not just the food— quality of wait staff service, overall cleanliness, and the environment you create all play a huge part, as well. Every facet of the dining experience must be consistently exceptional if you want people to come back.
Revisit menu pricing
Generally speaking, the cost of ingredients will increase over time. From a business perspective, failing to price items appropriately will only harm profitability, so it can't be ignored for long.
This is a challenge that most established restaurants face— but changing menu prices can be tricky. Retention is, overall, the most important consideration for established restaurants, and many guests have somewhat ingrained expectations for what they usually spend.
Still, because pricing is a necessary evil, it's important to review costs to determine whether or not items are still profitable at current price points. Instead of implementing changes all at once, it's better to make them gradually.
Restaurants often fail. Most often, the failure occurs because the restaurant doesn’t address elements that, even though they may seem far-fetched, in fact, are within their own control. Restaurants who get too comfortable will be unprepared for the future, and will eventually join the 50 percent of F&B establishments worldwide that don't survive beyond 5 years.
Hopefully, these tips planted some food for thought— we believe they can help you, as well as restaurateurs of all types to take each business to the next level.