Getting customer feedback is critical in the success of a restaurant. Understanding your customers can help improve your business. It will not only make you more relevant for your guests, but will also create a feedback loop for your employees, which will allow you to continue to grow as a culture and as a restaurant.
1. Walk the floor
The easiest way to get customer feedback is to the walk the floor of your restaurant. Chat with customers, listen to what they are saying. Do they like the new menu item? Do they feel satisfied with their service? This doesn’t need to be an interview, it can be a quick simple courtesy check. Walking the floor not only keeps you in tune with your customers, it also helps develop community between you, your guests, and your employees.
2. Comment Cards
Another quick and effective way to get feedback is to print off comment cards to be put in the bill holder and left at the front. It gives the customers a chance to leave their thoughts while it is all still fresh. You can control the questions, asking about the food, the service, and the general experience of the guest.
3. Ask for reviews
Even better than comment cards are online reviews. 67% of customers read reviews before visiting a store or purchasing an item. Instead of a comment card, put an ask in the bill holder to leave a review on Yelp or Facebook. Do keep in mind that you cannot ask for a good review as that goes against the policies of both platforms. Your servers can generally tell when a guest has had a good experience. Encourage them to ask the guest to leave a quick review after thanking them for their visit. Our article on How To Respond To Bad (And Good) Reviews.
4. Customer Survey
If you have an email list, sending out a quick customer survey is a great way to get feedback. You can incentivise them to fill it out by giving out coupons or gift certificates at the end of the survey process (do not incentivise to only leave good feedback, or you will skew the results). This will keep your customers engaged. A good idea is to ask them to vote on a new menu item- give them choices of ideas your team has created and ask them to choose the one they like the most. It will boost customer loyalty, as they feel as though they have a piece in the restaurant, and excitement in being asked for their opinion.
5. Social media engagement
Be sure to not ignore social media. Respond to reviews (see our article here), respond to comments. If someone checks in on Facebook ask them how their meal was. Like people’s posts who are mentioning you and ask to repost user generated content on platforms like Instagram.
Collecting and processing feedback can help keep your restaurant relevant to your customers and greatly increase customer loyalty and retention. It can help improve your service, menu, and culture. It can also be a great way to boost your confidence. You will probably get a few bad reviews, but getting a 5 star review is definitely something to brag about!