Great food is not the only thing that drives customers to a restaurant. It’s the little things that make a good impression. Before opening your new food spot, let’s look at all the things that keep customers coming back.
Make a Friendly Website
Many times, the first impression of a restaurant is the website. You don’t need music or fancy graphics. That only distracts viewers from finding the essential information. Prominently display the restaurant name, address, and hours. Post menus and daily specials to the page without downloads because impatient users skip to another site if information downloads too slow. Add photos of favorite dishes to entice customers, and set the tone and mood by posting interior shots. Keep the website current so customers know what food to expect.
Answering the Phone
How your staff answers the phone is also the first impression for many. If you accept reservations or call-ahead seating, make sure the voice customers hear is friendly and thanks the guest for calling. If you must put someone on hold, try to keep the time short or risk a hang-up. Also, repeat the reservation information back and end the call with sincere appreciation.
Keep the Place Clean
Customers notice things like window streaks, burned-out light bulbs, or debris on the floor. Appearing dirty or messy creates negative feelings before the customer sits down. Those feelings color the entire visit and prevent people from returning to your restaurant. So, stay on top of the housekeeping, especially restrooms. Wipe down tables properly before seating guests. Nothing turns off a customer like dirty dishes or crumbs on the table.
Keep Customers Happy
Image via Flickr by Lars Plougmann
Every customer that enters your establishment chose to come here, not someplace else. Always greet your guests with a friendly smile and pleasant tone. If there is a wait time, handle it by keeping customers updated and engaged. Ask questions about favorite foods or special occasions to distract customers while waiting.
Adding to customer satisfaction, the proper Point of Sale (POS) system lets you text when a table is available, track ordering trends, and offer different payment methods for guests. From marketing to wait times, a system from TryCake.com lets you see things in real-time and makes for a happy dining experience for guests.
Know your target audience. If you mainly attract a lunch crowd, concentrate on quick service and tailor your menu to items suitable for lunch. If your restaurant caters to the dinner crowd, expand your main courses, or add a wine list. High-end prices are more acceptable at dinner than lunch.
Don’t offer too many choices. A smaller menu using fresh foods is the smart way to go. Plus, a knowledgeable staff and consistent service with well-presented food and a clean and tidy atmosphere go a long way in pleasing clients. And, satisfied customers return, sometimes with friends.
Making a good first impression is important. Remember, don’t skimp on the little things. A clean restaurant, good tasting food, and a friendly atmosphere keeps customers returning.