Tom Bené, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, released a statement that credits “significant strides” taken by restaurant owners to help propel the recovery. “Consumer expectations around dining out have changed, and the industry is continually adapting to not only meet, but exceed, these expectations,” Bené said. “Restaurant operators – along with their partners throughout the supply and distribution chain – remain focused on providing diners with a safe and enjoyable experience, amid rising food and labor costs and challenges related to the pandemic.”
As consumers are returning to restaurants, they’re also finding that they have more choices than ever. That’s making things in the industry even more competitive and has operators looking for ways to get ahead.
“Beyond the menu, a key to building restaurant revenue is to develop a steady stream of returning customers,” said Joe Crum, Director of Marketing and eCommerce for Commercial Zone. Key to that is making every patron feel like they’re special.
Crum said the more the guests feel at home, the more likely they are to enjoy their experience and to return. Surveys by the hospitality experts at eHotelier support that theory, revealing that 89% of consumers say they started doing business with a competitor following a poor experience. eHotelier also reports that 60% of consumers admit they’re willing to pay more for a better experience.
“Starting today, greet every guest like they’re returning home,” Crum said. “Make them feel welcome, appreciated and comfortable. Give them the sense that they’re the only people who matter.
“And the best part? It doesn’t cost anything to do it.”
Here are 3 no-cost actions that can help make guests feel at home:
- GREET EVERYONE WITH A SMILE, even if it’s behind a mask. Smiles, like music, speak in a universal language and they can be seen through your eyes. A smile lets someone know you’re happy to see them, and they’re infectious. A customer impressed by a smile will be more likely to overlook deficiencies or even delays in service. With staffing shortages, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling aggravated when customers arrive, but it’s important to let them know you’re happy they chose your business.
- SLOW DOWN, prioritize the people with whom you are interacting. Customers are visiting your establishment to escape from the stresses of their daily lives. Encourage all staff, from the front of the house to servers to the kitchen, to appreciate every guest.
- PRESENT A NEAT APPEARANCE, both inside and out. Through the events of the past 18 months, many consumers have developed a heightened sense of hygiene. Many times, the appearance of the entrance area plays a big role in forming their mindset on the way in. If the common areas a tidy, they’ll feel more relaxed and will be more inclined to enjoy their experience.
Routinely check exterior trash containers to ensure that they’re not overflowing. Look around the entry and waiting areas to spot any waste items on floors and flat surfaces. Monitor carpet runners for buckling or folds and straighten them if needed.
With labor shortages and supply chain challenges, it’s easy to let the little things like site furnishings slip down the list of priorities. That’s why it’s good to know that the experts at Commercial Zone are available to help. Just simple call to 800-782-7273 is all it takes to get things started.