When customers choose to visit a restaurant, they are looking for a memorable gastronomical experience. This experience depends on the quality, freshness, and taste of food; the décor, ambiance and hygiene level; and, the staff courtesy and prompt service, among the other parameters. Soliciting customer feedback can give you an insight into what they like about your restaurant and what they expect it will also effectively increase the standards of customer service. Based on their comments and opinions, you can work towards not only delivering a great dining experience to your customers but also build repeat patronage and boost your brand image. Read about the 5 Ways You Can Use Feedback Management to Boost Your Restaurant Business
Unfortunately, most restaurants either don’t take customer feedback or fail to act upon the feedback. According to research, 43% of customers who were surveyed stated that they don’t complain or leave feedback because they don’t think ‘that the business cares.’ Out of these same customers, 81% admitted that they would be willing to give feedback if they are assured that they would get a fast response.
Now that it has been established that customer feedback is extremely important, the next is to understand how to gather this feedback. There are various methods of collecting customer feedback. Based on your establishment and costs you can choose any feedback collection technique ranging from oral feedback collection to using technology. Whatever you choose, do not under-estimate the value of customer feedback in restaurants. It does not only enrich the customer experience but also works like a report card for the restaurant. Some issues which may be overseen by you can drag your restaurant down, and if you take customer feedback seriously, you can prevent such situations.
Methods To Obtain Customer Feedback For Your Restaurant
Now that you know why customer feedback matters, you may ask, “What are the different methods of collecting customer feedback?” Here we have discussed eight different methods of obtaining customer feedback which you can implement in your restaurant today. These are:-
- Face-to-Face Feedback: When the waitstaff directly asks the customer for feedback.
- Feedback Forms: Distributing printed forms among your customers to obtain their feedback.
- Mobile POS Feedback System: Using a tablet connected to your POS to collect customer feedback based on what the customer had ordered and how their particular experience was.
- Social Media Feedback: Responding to comments on different social media apps and platforms like Zomato is important for online reputation and understanding the customer feedback in your restaurant.
- Online Customer Feedback: Another technique to obtain customer feedback is to have an online survey form which the customers can fill at their leisure
- Focus Groups: Collecting true customer feedback by creating focus groups of your target audience and interviewing them. This method of customer feedback collection should be carried out periodically.
- Community Groups And Discussion Boards: Be a part of different social media groups and communities to understand what the customers are saying about you.
- Web Analytics: Use your POS and analyze the performance of various dishes and different feedbacks that you have collected from your customers to understand what they like about you as a whole.
Now that we have told you what the different methods of obtaining customer feedback for your restaurant are, here is how you execute each one of them.
How To Obtain Customer Feedback For Your Restaurant Using Different Methods
1. Face-to-face Feedback
This method of obtaining customer feedback includes your staff directly talking to your customers. Your waiting staff is the best person to talk to the guests, develop a rapport and gauge their reactions, expectations, likes, and dislikes. Bengaluru-based Thai cuisine specialist, Benjarong employs staff – guest interaction method to gather on- spot feedback from its customers.
2. Put It In Writing: Feedback Forms
Many restaurants prefer to collect customer feedback through a printed and structured questionnaire. In this method, a feedback form is circulated to the guests while they are waiting to pay the bill.
For instance, Barbeque Nation across all its outlets requests every customer to fill a short feedback form to understand how they would rate their dining experience. A few big hotels keep a feedback form in the guest rooms, requesting the guests to drop these forms in the suggestion box at the front desk.
3. Go Mobile: Mobile POS Feedback System
Many restaurants have introduced MPOS (Mobile POS) to enable the guests to give their feedback in just a few clicks. In this method, a tablet or any other handheld device is handed over to the customers at various customer interaction points. Due to its speed and convenience, this method is gaining popularity among restaurants.
Posist’s feedback management app allows you to gather your customer feedback. You can also set alerts for poor reviews, which enables you to control the damage immediately.
4. Social Listening: Social Media Feedback
A survey revealed that restaurants are the most searched business on the Internet and 88% of customers read reviews to determine the quality of a business. Hence, restaurants cannot defy the influence of customers’ opinions expressed on social media platforms. You can conduct polls or ask open-ended questions about your food, services or ambiance.
You can even keep a tab on what reviews customers have posted on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Burrp, Zomato or Mouthshut. When you gather feedback from social media, it is crucial to reply promptly, either by thanking for a positive review or addressing their grievances.
This article will tell you what to do when your restaurant gets a bad customer review.
5. Take It Online: Online customer surveys
A questionnaire can be uploaded on websites like surveymonkey.com and emails can be sent to customers requesting them to answer the questions. However, many respondents tend to skip the survey. A promise of a discount coupon upon completion can encourage them to answer the survey! This technique of collecting feedback is especially useful for online food ordering or takeaway eateries which do not have much face-to-face interaction with customers.
6. “So what do you think about…”: Focus groups
Restaurateurs can conduct focus group interviews to gain real-world insight into what customers can say. In this method, a group of 10-40 people is selected and asked what they feel or how they perceive the restaurant. Offer them a free meal or discount coupon to encourage them to participate in this activity.
7. “You’ve got to hear this”: Community Groups and Discussion Boards
Nothing can beat the good old gossip when it comes to getting to know what people think. In its online avatar, this gossip has been christened as community groups and discussion boards, where like-minded customers are interacting with each other. Restaurants can use this information to offer tailor-made recommendations to their customers. Last year, Hong-Kong based CACHET Hotel Group launched its online community platform ‘CACHET World’ to facilitate personalized interactions and experiences.
8. Click-Click: Web Analytics
This method can generate amazing results for online food ordering restaurants. Based on which food items your customer clicks the most or in which areas of the city most orders come from, you can know what your customers want and how you can serve them better.
In any business, including restaurants, every customer opinion counts. Also, do remember that gathering customer feedback isn’t enough, acting upon it is equally important.