Just like in everyday life, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference - and the restaurant industry is no exception to this principle. As a restaurant owner, the kind of experience you offer your guests is a top priority. When they visit your business, they are keeping an eye out not only for good food, but they are also looking forward to having an enjoyable experience with you. You want your guests to not only have a great experience on their first visit but to want to keep coming back.
With this in mind, the staff, the interior design, and the ambiance you set play a significant role in determining how guests feel about their time with you when they leave.
Please take a look at the list below to see how you can improve the experience of your restaurant, as well as how a good, trusty POS can help you achieve them.
1. Switch Up Your Menu Items
Do you know what we like the most about our favorite local restaurant? It’s not just the food. It’s the homey and familiar feeling when you are greeted like an old friend as you walk in. This kind of personal engagement with your regular customers will make them feel like truly valued guests and make up for an incredible overall experience.
However, the downside of this familiarity in regular restaurants is that it can get boring eating the same things on the menu after some time. This is why it is great for restaurant owners to keep things fresh and exciting by switching up the menu from time to time. Your regular and new customers will enjoy the familiar service and atmosphere they have always loved while having a new and exciting meal. After all, why take the risk of trying out a new restaurant when you can always have a brand new dish in your favorite regular restaurant?
2. Appeal to Visuals to Improve Appetite and Dining Experience
Here’s a fact: People eat with their eyes first. Most chefs can attest that visual presentation of your meal is just as important as the taste of the meal. Although it might seem like visual presentation only applies to extremely high-end restaurants, this fact holds for all eateries from fast-food chains to five-star restaurants. Regardless of where you fit on this spectrum, investing some time and effort into the presentation of your dishes can have a delectable impact on your customers.
You can get as creative as you want. Maybe an all-time bestseller stew served in a miniature cooking pot which will look cute and dainty on the dining table, or a fun onion ring tower drizzled with a colorful concoction of condiments.
This technique is sure to improve your meals’ overall dining experience, help you further communicate your branding, and give your customers another excellent reason to walk in the door every time.
Don’t forget added marketing value, as you take advantage of customers taking photos of your visually pleasing presentation to upload and rave about on social media.
3. Introduce a Flavor They Can’t Get Anywhere Else
Many restaurant businesses have used this tactic to stand above the competition. A few have even gone as far as making this the main message of their marketing campaigns. For example, Jollibee with their signature super-crispy and savory, Chickenjoy and KFC’s “11 herbs and spices.” When you introduce a flavor they can’t get anywhere else; you instantly make their experience in your restaurant a special and unique one. Try to remember your favorite restaurants or fast food chains - at least one of them offers a unique flavor or dish you can’t get elsewhere.
One of my favorite restaurants is a roast chicken joint that serves, well of course, charcoal roast chicken but with a delectable selection of dips you just can’t find elsewhere. These chicken dips became an integral part of my positive experience with this restaurant that I can’t imagine eating charcoal roast chicken anywhere else.
If you are looking to enhance the experience of your business, consider developing a signature “special” flavor that is sure to carry the name of your entire brand. This will improve their experience and might even spread awareness.
4. Introduce a Loyalty Program to Reward Return Customers
A loyalty program is one of the best ways to make your customers feel special and ensure that they come back to have more engagements with you. Basically, a good loyalty program incentivizes return visits, makes customers feel like a part of something bigger than themselves, and can hugely impact your branding. Here are some ways to know which loyalty program will work best for you and your business. A POS with a built-in loyalty program feature is an excellent way to keep track of your loyal customers and recurring engagements. Through your POS, you can have a list of loyal customers and keep track of their transactions with your business, so you can easily assign equivalent reward points for them.
You can also try these other tips to reward your customers:
Introduce a game or engaging activity: Games and activities give customers something to be excited about besides just the food on your menu. They give your customers another way to engage with your brand and are just one more reason customers will think of your restaurant over someone else’s.
For example: If you serve breakfast, you can call one of your menus, “Breakfast in Bed,” and give a discount to whoever comes in wearing pajamas. Establish a “Special Day”: Every year on Teacher’s Day, you can give discounts to teachers who present their ID cards.
5. Proper Training
Remember that each of your employees is a representative of your brand. Therefore, it’s a must that all employees receive proper training on the importance of customer care. Staff members should be trained to pay attention to little things like looking customers in the eye, to avoid referring to guests as “you guys,” and smiling and greeting guests politely as they walk in. These things may not seem like a big deal, but studies say that smiling and eye contact while greeting generate positive feelings like respect, trust, and support. Managers should pay close attention to how each staff member interacts with guests and make a point of reiterating particular customer care objectives during pre-shift meetings.
Not just customer care, but your staff should also know how to use your business tools and automation such as your cash register, barcode readers, printers, accounting software, and most significantly, your POS. Working at your restaurant and using poorly-designed, outdated, slow software can quickly become a significant source of frustration, and worse, create a backlog in their service and performance.
A POS system that is intuitive, easy to learn, and navigate is essential for a better user experience. Your employees will be able to clock in and out right within the system, making it easy to check into work and get the ball running while improving cash drawer transparency and accuracy.
6. Speed and Attentiveness
The best servers are trained to know the needs of their guests before they even ask for them, and even during peak hours, servers should learn to anticipate guests’ requests. Train your staff to bring extra napkins, an extra plate and utensils for shared dishes and promptly refill water glasses. These may seem like simple things, but they definitely don’t go unnoticed and can significantly improve your guests’ experience. Think about this: guests can focus more on the food and their company when your staff is attentive to your guests’ needs rather than keeping an eye on your servers.
A great way to improve your guest experience in terms of speed is to utilize a POS. With a mobile POS, you can have one cashier take advance orders from a long line so that the kitchen or baristas can get started on them while the other cashier processes payment.
A mobile POS enables your servers to take tableside orders as well. Tableside ordering is a big deal because all your servers need to do is punch in the order once at the table instead of writing it down and running to a payment terminal. This significantly eliminates errors and speeds up service. A server’s product knowledge is more consistent because they can carry it around with them – no more running back to the kitchen with questions about ingredients or allergy alerts. It’s all right there.
Okay, this might be an obvious inclusion to this list, but you’d be surprised at how many restaurants disregard the importance of keeping things clean, neat and orderly. When you have a nasty bathroom that doesn’t have soap or toilet paper, when there is a pungent odor as they walk into your business or when there are fingerprints left on the windows, you are literally screaming the message, “Do not eat here!” to your guests. If the restaurant doesn’t pay attention to aspects of their business’ general cleanliness, what does that say to guests about your kitchen and your staff? Make sure to pay attention to the little details as they can make a big difference in the way guests perceive the quality of food and experience.
8. Waiting Area Experience
No guest is more dedicated to dining with you than the guest who chose to wait for a table in your crowded restaurant. Think about this, not only did they choose to dine with you, they are willing to wait for you, which shows how much they value your food and service. A courteous way to show them that you appreciate them is by making their wait more comfortable and feel shorter. Provide cozy seating, promptly update them on the status of their table and offer them complimentary drinks as they wait.
With a mobile POS, you can have one staff take advance orders from the waiting room so that the kitchen or baristas can get started on them while the other cashier processes payment.
9. Accept Different Modes of Payment and Split Checks
Making it easy for guests to split the bill can eliminate many issues that usually arise during the payment process. Your restaurant should have a POS system in place that makes it very easy for servers to split checks on different cards, by seat number, or by individual item. Guests typically don’t want to go through the hassle of writing their name and order down on the back of the check. A payment system that makes it easy to split checks will improve the guest experience and improve server efficiency and table turn times. Servers may even get bigger tips when guests don’t have to wait 15 minutes for the check to be split up at the end of the meal.
Another hack to hasten the payment process? Have a POS that caters to different modes of payments. Card or cash, an easy-to-use and seamless POS system can do the job in just a few taps reducing the wait time and chances for errors.
With everything on your plate, it’s easy to sweep little things like these under the rug. The restaurant industry, however, ultimately revolves around the guest experience. Delighted customers become repeat customers who become loyal patrons for your business. You can’t afford not to focus on the little things if you seek to create a remarkable impact with guests.
Edited by Chooli