When it comes to dining out, there’s no doubt that customers expect a seamless experience - delicious food, great service, and a pleasant atmosphere. For restaurant owners and managers, having specific standards and steps of service that staff are required to follow ensures brand and service consistency at every location. But how do you really know that staff are delivering against these standards, and most importantly, delivering what customers want?
There’s a saying… what gets measured, gets managed. And it’s true! Having the right measurement programs in place means visibility into how staff are actually performing. With today’s market being so competitive and customer driven, restaurants need to measure the performance of their operations in order to properly evaluate their dining experience and stay on top of operational issues.
So, how can restaurant owners and operators measure their overall dining experience?
Restaurant mystery shopping programs focus specifically on measuring business performance and evaluating all aspects of the dining experience. By implementing a mystery shopping program, you’ll learn more about your customer experience. By gaining a better understanding of how teams are performing, you’ll be able to identify which priorities teams need to stay focused on to keep your operations running smoothly.
Here are four ways restaurant mystery shopping can improve your restaurants overall customer experience:
Pinpoint areas in the dining experience that need improvement
Mystery shopping gives you the power to monitor the touchpoints your customers have with your brand, from the initial phone call making a reservation to when they settle up their bill with the server. With mystery shopping programs, you can measure specific interactions your customers have during their experience and take steps to make improvements in areas that fall short. Once you have made the necessary improvements, move on to another area that hasn’t been measured yet to ensure the customer experience is seamless from end-to-end.
Catch issues before they end up online
Word of mouth is a considerable factor when it comes to the popularity and reputation of many restaurants. Nowadays, if a customer has a bad experience you can expect they will share it with their friends and family, and may even vocalize their opinion over social media or leave an online review with Google or Yelp. Online reviews can spread quickly and negative ones can be very hard to come back from. Implementing a mystery shopping program across your restaurants allows you to uncover these issues before they become recurring trends. If issues are identified, restaurant owners and managers can focus on improving that area, and then use mystery shopping to ensure issues are resolved.
Maintain a consistent experience across locations
It’s impossible to always be at every location to stay on top of performance, but it’s essential to see how employees are performing on a regular basis as they are the frontline representing your brand to customers. Leading-edge mystery shopping services will provide location-level customer experience measurement techniques through mobile applications and online reporting so you can rest easy knowing you have eyes and ears at every location.
Easily monitor operations on an ongoing basis
Measuring the performance of your restaurant locations should be an ongoing process. As you measure you’ll learn about how your business is performing, make adjustments, and continue improving new areas that need focus.
The latest mystery shopping programs are built to measure many locations on a frequent basis. A professional mystery shopping program delivers real-time results via mobile reports without having to deal with time-consuming paper or web forms that can become outdated quickly.
Think about how often you take your car to the shop for routine maintenance to make sure your vehicle is safe for driving. Businesses are similar in that they also need regular maintenance to continue performing at their highest level.
Restaurant mystery shopping programs are designed to monitor your operations regularly and pinpoint areas in need of routine maintenance. If you aren’t regularly monitoring your operations to ensure your business is running like a well-oiled engine, then you risk things snowballing into bigger issues and dissatisfying customers, potentially to the point of churn.
All in all...
Remember, what gets measured, gets managed. The only way to ensure your restaurants are following your standards and meeting customer expectations, is to measure performance against specific benchmarks that have been set for your business. Mystery shopping your locations provides insight into employee performance and customer experience, the tools to manage multiple locations efficiently, and the confidence of knowing how your brand is represented. You’ll have the power to implement best practices across your locations and ensure that the customer is always satisfied.
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