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5 Ways To Improve Customer Experience In Restaurants

5 Ways To Improve Customer Experience In Restaurants

It’s not uncommon to see big QSR chains frequently announcing new customer experience (CX) programs. Every brand wants their customers to leave the restaurant with a smile, but achieving this consistently is easier said than done.

From a business perspective, improving customer experience can benefit restaurants in many ways, from repeat visits to recommending it to others, driving sustained business growth.

In this blog, we will explore five ways to enhance restaurant customer experience, ensuring guests leave with a smile every time.


Why Customer Experience is Important in Restaurants

Happy guests are more likely to return and even spend more on future visits. Plus, they’ll spread the word, sharing their positive experiences with others both in person and online. 

A survey by the National Restaurant Association found that 60% of people would choose a restaurant they’ve had a positive experience at before, even if there are other similar options nearby. This data shows the importance of customer experience in fostering loyalty and preference.

5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience in Restaurants

1. Create a Seamless Guest Experience 

Making sure customers have a smooth experience, whether dining in, using the drive-thru, picking up, or getting delivery, is key to keeping them happy. 

Technology like mobile apps, self-serve kiosks, and digital ordering make things easy and fast, enhancing the overall dining experience. The less hassle guests face, the more likely they are to leave with a smile and come back again.

For example, in our Emerging Experiences 2024 Report, we analyzed the kiosk experience of Shake Shack and Burger King locations. We found that the convenience provided by kiosks plays a crucial role in customer satisfaction. The mystery shopping scores were higher for the kiosk experience than the traditional ordering one. 

2. Utilize Feedback For Improvement

Getting customer feedback through surveys and online reviews is a great way to find out what’s working and what’s not on the guest experience.

Customer feedback surveys can provide detailed insights into customer orders and experiences, helping to identify specific issues and areas for improvement. In addition, tracking metrics like Overall Satisfaction (OSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) can guide restaurant operators in making meaningful changes.

Moreover, by keeping an eye on online reviews, fast food restaurants can stay connected with their customers, improve their offerings, manage their reputation, and ultimately drive more business. 

Engaging with customers online also helps restaurants increase foot traffic and understand the popularity of limited-time offers (LTO). 

For more insights into the benefits of customer feedback surveys and reputation management, check out our Transforming CX: How Mystery Shopping, Feedback Survey, and Reputation Management Work Together blog.

3. Align Operations

Effective operations are the backbone of a great customer experience in restaurants. Important operational areas include:

  • Order Accuracy: Ensuring that every order is correct reduces customer frustration and enhances satisfaction.
  • Speed of Service: Fast service is often critical for customers, especially in fast food and casual dining settings.
  • Cleanliness: A clean restaurant environment is fundamental to guest comfort and safety.

Data from our latest QSR Consumer Perception Survey shows that order accuracy and speed of service are the most important factors for guests when it comes to choosing a quick-serve restaurant (QSR).

CX Methods like mystery shopping, regular audits, and inspection software & checklists are great options for gaining insights into operations. These strategic tools help identify areas of improvement and ensure that brand standards are consistently met.

4. Invest In Staff Satisfaction And Engagement

Research shows that when staff feel valued and motivated, they’re more likely to go above and beyond in customer interactions. And let’s face it: A single employee interaction can make or break the customer experience. 

That’s why creating a positive work environment for employees is essential for increasing guest satisfaction. A welcoming and supportive workplace increases job satisfaction, which translates into better customer service.

Our studies have also shown year over year that employee interaction impacts not only the customer experience but also other essential restaurant KPIs, such as order accuracy and service speed. Get more insights into the impact of friendliness on guest experience here.

5. Use Data To Inform Your Next Steps

A robust customer experience (CX) platform will help with data collection and analysis from different CX initiatives. 

By analyzing this data, you can identify trends, pinpoint issues, and implement data-driven improvements that will positively impact key restaurant metrics. 

For example, mystery data shows a drop in order accuracy during peak hours, impacting guest satisfaction. Restaurant operators might investigate if they need to increase staffing or streamline operational processes during those times.

But it doesn't stop there. Once you've made changes, listen to your customers again to see if the adjustments have the desired impact. This approach ensures that you continually refine operations to meet customer needs and maintain high satisfaction levels.

Elevate Your Restaurant Customer Experience

Focusing on seamless interactions, leveraging customer feedback, optimizing operations, investing in staff, and making data-driven decisions can significantly improve the guest experience in restaurants.

Happy customers will return time and again, leave glowing reviews, and recommend their favorite restaurant to friends and family. In other words, investing in customer experience is investing in long-term business success.

Ready to take your restaurant customer experience to the next level? Curious to learn how we help some of the most loved QSR chains get actionable CX insights and deliver great guest experiences at every touchpoint?

Check out our Restaurant Customer Experience Services and Solutions.

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