Although it’s true in every industry, understanding customers and
keeping them happy is especially important for restaurateurs. This is due to the fact that there are over
one million restaurants in America, and an additional 4,442 were added between
2011 and 2012 alone. This means
customers can easily go elsewhere if they’re unhappy, so using the following
methods for gathering feedback can be essential to a restaurant’s success.
Stay Abreast of Social Media
Though social media may not seem like an imperative piece of equipment
for restaurants, it actually is. Customers, whether happy or upset, will take to social media and share
their experience on an eatery’s page. It’s essential to go through these comments daily to see what’s going
If someone had a great experience, let them know it was a pleasure to
have them. If they’re upset about
something, take steps in full view of others on the page to correct what
happened. Respond directly to upset
patrons to let them know how the problem will be solved. Social media is one form of feedback restaurateurs
rarely have to work for.
Provide Feedback Cards
Countless national restaurants have feedback cards easily accessible
from the comfort of their restaurant booths or bar tables. Those little cards provided on the table are
actually used to make a restaurant better, so regardless of an eatery’s size,
these simple-to-print and affordable cards should be left on tables.
Many restaurants also have their servers distribute these cards with
the check. While this is okay in most
instances, just remember that a server who screwed up an order might be less
likely to hand over this card to upset patrons.
Send Out Email Surveys
Another underutilized method of soliciting feedback is to send out
email surveys. Of course, the issue here
becomes getting people on the mailing list. Fortunately, this isn’t too difficult. Offering a discount for those who sign up for the email list, for
instance, is almost guaranteed to snag a few new sign-ups each day.
Be careful about sending out these surveys, though; doing so too often
can upset some people. Sending a survey
after their visit and maybe once a month thereafter won’t hurt. If a patron asks to be removed from the list,
though, it’s essential to do so.
Provide an Online Form
Unlike in decades past, computers are one of the most important pieces
of equipment for restaurants. Similarly, every restaurant has a website,
and if they don’t, they are seriously doing themselves a disservice. One of the quickest ways to solicit feedback
using this technology is to create an online form.
Of course, the issue then becomes getting people to visit the website
and fill out the form. To do this,
restaurateurs should provide their web address on a customer’s bill. Even having the server highlight it can
help. If this isn’t working, there’s
always the tried-and-true method of offering a discount for filling out the
Feedback is essential for keeping customers happy. Paying attention to what guests are
purchasing is one form of feedback, but the aforementioned can get much more
detailed information. In the end, this
will be nothing if not beneficial.