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How to Improve Customer Satisfaction in Your Restaurant

How to improve customer satisfaction in a restaurant

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In a world of massively high restaurant competition, restaurant managers and owners cannot overlook customer satisfaction and retention.

If you take a look at some data from CNBC, 60% of new restaurants fail within one year, and 80% fail before the fifth year – which is worrying.

That’s why in this article, we want to help and inform restaurant owners about some great ways to collect data, as well as how to measure and improve customer satisfaction.

Great Ways to Measure Customer Satisfaction in a Restaurant

1. Online Ratings and Reviews

Reviews are the easiest way to gauge customer satisfaction!

Online ratings are one of the most important ways to gauge customer satisfaction.

Most people only post reviews if they’ve had either a really good experience or a really bad one – customers rarely post a review if the experience was ‘just okay’.

This is important because 93% of users will look up reviews of any given business before even thinking of giving them a visit.

This is incredibly important because the amount of good reviews will affect how highly you rank on Google, and how many new diners you’ll attract.

We’ll give more tips regarding this later on in this article – so stay tuned!

2. Measure Your Customer Retention Rate (CRR)

Simply put, Customer Retention Rate (CRR) is the percentage of your customers that continue going to your restaurant after a set period.

However, for a restaurant, it’s hard if not impossible to measure every single customer that’s coming in and out.

You don’t have to get all technical, the simplest way to do it is to observe.

Every establishment has its regular customers, and seeing more of them around is a great sign that you’re doing well. Check out our article on increasing customer loyalty to learn more about this topic.

Bonus tip: Have your floor staff note down recurring customers. It can be as simple as having it written down on a piece of paper and reviewing it after every service!

3. Increase in New Customers

New customers are a great sign that you’re doing well in the customer satisfaction department.

Let’s put it this way, if you really enjoyed the food at your local Thai food place, you’d definitely recommend it to your friends and family, right?

This is called word-of-mouth recommendation, which is a passive and effective way to get new diners without doing too much.

Many of our clients are able to grow considerably through word-of-mouth recommendations alone.

Customer satisfaction and customer service play a huge role in this as you’re only going to get word-of-mouth referrals if your customers are satisfied with your establishment.

The opposite can be said if they’ve had a horrible experience – they’ll actively dissuade people they know from visiting!

4. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

One of the best ways to track customer satisfaction is through the CSAT system.

It usually involves asking customers to rate their satisfaction on a scale (usually from 1 to 5, or 1 to 10). The higher the number, the more satisfied they were – simple right?

Once you’ve collected the data, you can very clearly see which areas of your restaurants need improvement, whether it be customer service, food, wait times, etc. As restaurant management, CSAT is your bread and butter.

Later on in this article, we tell you exactly what you need to do to collect and compile this data – so stick around!

5. Numbers of Orders Sent Back

The number of orders sent back by guests is a massive indicator of their satisfaction with the food in your restaurant.

They can indicate the quality of your ingredients, the skills of your chef, and what you need to improve on.

Identifying patterns of the food that was sent back is a great low-hanging fruit that you can address to measure and improve customer satisfaction.

Ways to Improve Your Restaurant's Customer Satisfaction

1. Always Reply To Online Reviews (Positive & Negative)

Sample of replying to every customer review as a restaurant owner
Reply to every review if possible, they show your customers and Google that you care!

As a manager or restaurant owner, it’s important to respond to every review on every platform, especially on Google.

This is because it tells Google that you’re active on your Google My Business profile and are trying to provide the best experience to your guests.

As a result, you’ll show up higher up on the list when customers search for restaurants in the area. PromoRepublic wrote a helpful article that you can learn more from.

This is also true for platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor because user engagement is also a ranking factor for these platforms.

A great tip that we always recommend our clients to follow is to request an online review (especially on Google).

More reviews mean more engagement which leads to higher rankings and even more customers!

2. Reduce Wait Times

Wait times play an important role in overall customer satisfaction and whether they’ll be a repeat customer.

Widener University students did a review and determined that wait times definitely impact customer satisfaction and whether they’ll be returning customers.

To simplify it, longer wait times mean customers will be less satisfied and they’ll be less likely to be returning guests. You can see why this can be a problem.

In our experiences with our clients, long wait times are usually caused by two main factors, insufficient staff or a sudden influx of customers. 

That’s why they go with KlikNRoll’s online booking system because we’re able to solve their problems at scale.

Our system lets any restaurant send a reservation link that customers can use on social media or even by text.

This means your customers can make reservations even when your restaurant is closed, all with just a few taps.

And, we offer a tiered system so loyal customers can get cool stuff like free food, access to private rooms, or special menu items.

With KlikNRoll, you can make wait times shorter and keep your customers happy with these awesome features.

Don’t overlook how important a centralized booking system can be! Overall guest satisfaction improved (as per their Google reviews) and they’ve never looked back!

Click the button below to see how we can help you manage and scale your restaurant!

3. Focus on Consistency

Consistency is one of, if not the most important factor of a restaurant business. Customers will come back for more if they know what to expect.

That’s what makes franchises like McDonald’s or Subway so successful – because no matter where you go, a Big Mac will taste the same!

Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to be 100% perfect all the time, no restaurant is. However, the most important thing is to nail some key items that you find people ordering the most.

Our recommendation is to take your 5 best-performing items and ensure they’re perfect every time.

Many returning customers rarely try new things at a restaurant, so having some consistent staples can be an effective strategy to implement.

This is even more true when you consider that on average, a restaurant will spend 6 to 7 times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones.

There you have it, focus on consistency and you’ll most likely see success in customer satisfaction.

4. Provide More Value Than Your Competitors

Relative value is important, especially if you’re up against the competition. In a study done by Bee-Lia et. al., they found that out of 8 factors, price in proportion to value was the most important factor for customers choosing a restaurant.

More value doesn’t necessarily mean lower prices, but overall customer experience for the money.

This could mean better-tasting food or maybe slightly more in terms of portion – the key is to make your customers feel like they’ve got their money’s worth.

Let’s say you’re selling pizza and you have a competitor not too far away from you. Both of you serve very similar pies with similar ingredients and overall taste.

However, your pie is 12 inches whereas your competitor’s comes in at 11.

It might seem trivial but the frequent customers will know and in the end, you’ll be the preferred choice compared to the other pizza place.

5. Know What to Improve and Improve Fast!

In the restaurant industry, everything moves fast, from inventory to customers in a busy shift. Therefore, if you see something that needs improving – improve it immediately.

Customers will rarely give you more than one chance, so the quicker you fix things the fewer customers will leave unsatisfied.

However, don’t just change something just because one customer didn’t like it. Everyone has different preferences so don’t just take one person’s word for it.

Keep an eye out for trends that come up from time to time. A general rule of thumb is to find similar trends and comments in groups of 3.

 So if 3 tables complained about the same thing, that’s probably something to look into.

Best Ways to Collect Feedback for Your Restaurant

1. Tempt Your Customers for a Quick Online Survey

Most customers won’t mind filling up a quick survey provided it doesn’t take up too much of their time.

Typeform did a survey and found 52% of people wouldn’t complete a survey if it took them more than 3 minutes.

So, we’d recommend keeping under 10 questions and making it easy to fill up and straight to the point. To make it easy, you can check out SurveyMonkey’s restaurant survey templates!

In exchange for your customers taking part in your survey, you can provide a freebie like a voucher that’s available for use on their next visit.

2. Face-to-Face Feedback

Image of a waitress in a restaurant

Face-to-face feedback is another simple and effective strategy that you can use to collect data and feedback. Simply get your employees to check up on customers from time to time by asking questions like:

  • How was the food?
  • Is everything to your liking?
  • Are there any comments for the chef?

The key is to not be overbearing and wait towards the end of the meal before checking up on your customers.

You can make a simple spreadsheet that includes things like the items ordered, a rating scale (preferably from 1 to 5), and time of day, and take note of comments.

At the end of every service day, take a look and see what could improve whether it be food, customer service, or wait time.

3. Try a Feedback Form

Many of our clients in the restaurant industry utilize feedback forms and find them to be effective.

According to our own data, 76% or more than three-quarters of respondents answered the feedback form when given with the cheque.

A good feedback form takes less than a minute to fill up and customers will be more honest about their experiences in a written form as opposed to being asked by your restaurant employees.

Ideally, you should include customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey questions and have a scoring system that goes something like this:

CSAT Customer Satisfaction Survey Form Template for Restaurants
Feel free to save this form for future use!

As you can see, the score correlates with the level of satisfaction – 1 being the least satisfied and 5 being the most.

Next, you can compile the scores and compare them from table to table, or maybe day by day.

4. Join and Collect Data from Local Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be a gold mine of information depending on your area of service.

Just like online reviews, many patrons will share their experience in local Facebook groups but only if they’ve had a great experience or a really bad one.

Here’s How You Can Find Feedback From Your Restaurants from Facebook Groups:

  1. In the Facebook Search Bar, type in the area name, you’re in plus the word ‘food’. For this instance, we’re going to type in ‘Hong Kong’.
  2. Look for the ‘Groups’ category and request to join relevant ones, preferably using your restaurant’s page.
  3. Once you’re in, you can use the search function and look up your restaurant’s name.
  4. Collect the data and place it in a spreadsheet.
  5. If you cannot find anything related to your restaurant, you can consider running a poll in the group to collect feedback. Usually, customers will be more willing to share information in the comfort of their own screens!

Keep in mind that many of these Facebook groups have their own moderators and management. It’s not a bad idea to discuss with them potentially running a poll and asking for feedback!

Conclusion

Customer satisfaction is something that cannot be overlooked if your goal is to retain and attract more loyal customers.

Gathering feedback and improving is the best way of improving guest satisfaction, on top of top-notch food and incredible service.

Many restaurants overlook the importance of a great online reservation system, to be able to keep your staff sane and diners satisfied!

Feel free to contact us anytime for a free consultation!

Last Updated by December 4, 2023

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