Restaurants are some of the most vibrant businesses in the world across different cultures. They cater to different tastes and preferences using refined menus, elegant designs, and warm ambience. However, the restaurant industry relies heavily on customer satisfaction, which underpins its popularity, financial viability, and success.
As such, restaurants need to measure customer behaviours to understand their preferences, attitudes, and experiences and to improve the quality of the products and services they deliver. This essay explores five ways that restaurants can measure customer behaviours, including customer feedback, social media, loyalty programs, mystery shopping, and employee engagement.
Search for Feedback.
The first measure restaurants can use to assess customer behaviour is customer feedback. This method involves collecting opinions, reviews, and suggestions from diners to evaluate the quality of the services they receive. This approach can take many forms, including online studies, comment cards, and surveys. Online reviews such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews are now some of the most popular ways for consumers to provide public evaluations of their dining experiences. Comment cards can either be included in the bill or displayed in the restaurant, enticing customers to express their thoughts in a private setting. Surveys may be similar to comment cards but usually tend to contain more detailed questions giving the opportunity to study trends and take a measure of specific aspects of the customer experience such as food, service, atmosphere, or value for money.
The second measure of customer behaviour is through social media. Social media has become an indispensable tool for businesses across the globe, and restaurants are not an exception. Social media can not only make a restaurant visible to an online audience, but it can also allow the diner to engage with the restaurant through comments, shares, hashtags, and check-ins. Restaurants with active social media accounts are also in a prime position to interact with their customers and encourage them to share their dining experiences online. The number of likes, shares, and comments a restaurant receives and how they respond to them can be used to gauge customer behaviour and make improvements accordingly. Customers may express their satisfaction or complaints using social media, and this provides valuable feedback to the restaurant management team.
Another way for restaurants to measure customer behaviour is through loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are designed to reward customers for their continued patronage. They provide customers with incentives such as discounts, free meals, and special promotions in exchange for regular visits. These programs can be maintained online via an app, or in person, through reward cards. The data generated by these loyalty programs give businesses the opportunity to understand their customer’s behaviours and preferences. For example, the number of visits, the type of food ordered, and the time spent in the restaurant can all be used to build a comprehensive picture of the customer’s engagement with the restaurant.
Gather independent feedback.
Mystery shopping is another platform for restaurants to measure customer behaviour. It involves hiring independent evaluators to act as a customer and report their experience back to the restaurant management team. The mystery shopping reports might include feedback on various aspects of the dining experience such as timing, service, presentation, and cleanliness. The results are then used to identify areas that require improvement and to offer praise and rewards for the aspects of service that exceed expectations. The mystery shopping approach can highlight the key touchpoints where customers interact with the business and are key in creating a positive dining experience.
Talk to your people.
Finally, employee engagement is another way to measure customer behaviour. The interactions that customers have with employees can shape their perception of the restaurant and influence their decision to return. Staff who are engaged and motivated will more likely demonstrate a friendly, welcoming, and attentive attitude toward customers. Similarly, employees that are not engaged, trained, or happy may portray this in their attitude toward customers, and this can lead to unsatisfactory experiences. Consequently, engaging employees and improving their work motivation and satisfaction is essential in creating a positive work environment and increased customer satisfaction.
In conclusion, the five methods restaurants can use to measure customer behaviours, namely customer feedback, social media, loyalty programs, mystery shopping, and employee engagement, offer valuable insights into customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Restaurateurs can use the data generated by these approaches to identify areas of strength and weakness in their business operations and ultimately identify ways of improving the customer experience. Importantly, restaurants should view customer behaviour metrics as vital tools in the quest to remain competitive in a dynamic market while recognising the importance of taking corrective actions based on the provided insights. If you need help introducing new strategies to support your business, contact the team and Alto Cibum.