Make Things Personal Again at Your Restaurant
A customer’s feelings about your brand will ultimately depend on how they were treated when interacting with your restaurant’s staff.
It’s actually not as difficult as it might sound — keep reading to learn more about creating a more personal customer experience at your restaurant.
Focus on providing customer service training
The overall experience that customers have with your restaurant will be incredibly dependent on their interactions with staff. Your employees need to move beyond the linear steps of getting food to customers, which can be understandably difficult in an environment where they have been trained to be quick and efficient above all else. Simple customer service training tips like, “Always use the customer’s first name, and tell them their food is ready with a smile” can go a long way.
Further, when you interview employees you can often tell whether or not they’ll treat customers great. Owners and managers should always trust their gut when analyzing a potential hire’s customer service skills.
Use names whenever possible
If you want to personalize an experience there’s hardly a better way to go about it than using the customer’s name. In a quick service restaurant, where you have many customers coming through the doors, this can be incredibly difficult. However, there are ways to refer to customers by name.
For example, write their name on the bag for their carryout order. For eat-in orders you can even purchase small cards to write customer names on. Put the card on the tray and the entire experience is instantly more personal.
Make your employees’ names known, too
You want your customers to feel like they have a connection with your staff, too. Beyond delivering excellent service with a smile, what are some other things you can do? Try some of these:
- Display employee names and photos on the walls of your restaurant.
- Choose an all-star employee to honor each month. You could even ask them a few simple questions and display their photo and their answers on the wall. Who knows, it could be a great conversation starter with customers.
- Make sure all staff members are wearing name tags.
- Managers should get involved, too. Encourage them to introduce themselves and to check in with diners.
Collect (and use) customer feedback
In any business you want to know whether or not your customers are completely satisfied. But first, you need to ask for their feedback. You can use in-store feedback forms, social media accounts, and online satisfaction surveys to tap into your customers’ thoughts.
Offering incentives, like discounts or a free appetizer, is often a great way to get feedback. Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, a fast-casual Mediterranean style restaurant, uses this tactic wonderfully. Each receipt has a link to a feedback survey and customers who fill it out can receive a free side of falafel or a drink. And, once you have that customer feedback, be sure to study it so that you can make changes to personalize the dining experience even more.
How do you personalize the customer experience at your quick service restaurant? Have you experienced any struggles or victories while working to cultivate this increased personalization? Share your thoughts and experiences with other restaurant owners below in the comments!