Due to the amount of travel that I do on an annual basis, certain restaurants and food service establishments are frequented more than others. During one of my recent trips I encountered what I would have considered a fluke, but this particular restaurant business I had been to before and experienced marginal service.
It all started out when I called the restaurant on the property where I was staying for a carry out order. It took five phone calls and I was unable to get anyone on the phone that could take my order. This lead to a walk up to the restaurant, only then to order and wait.
Fortunately the food was good, satisfying ye ole’ stomach and thus the frustration seemed to settle and lead to a relaxing evening. But morning came and the prior nights episode led me to contact the director of food & beverage who had an open ear and apologized more than three times. Although this individual was very pleasant, he missed the key to retaining my future business and could have avoided this call had he surveyed his patrons.
So in today’s article I want to share two steps on how you can take a dissatisfied customer and turn him or her into an advocate and possibly a raving fan.
How to Create Raving Fans that Return and Bring their Friends to your Restaurant Business…
1. If you have a Dissatisfied Customer – Find out what you can do to make it right. It might only take a complimentary drink or appetizer to appease and please. And what’s that worth to you, the proprietor or manager? It should not be about cost. It should be about retention and keeping that customer, so when he or she comes back around, your establishment is at the top of the list. This is a mindset and one that you will need to instill in yourself and your staff.
Note: In this economy you need all the happy, satisfied customers you can bring through the door. In most cases it is expensive to bring a new customers in, so why not do everything possible to keep the customers instead of letting them fume and never return.
By doing so you may well turn an upset, angry, dissatisfied customer into a positive, happy, referral-generating advocate.
2. Train your Managers and Service staff to be Customer Friendly and Oriented. This takes time and finding the right people, plus it’s not easy to do, but it is possible. The secret here is to hire the best people who will treat and care for your customers like they are their friends. If you don’t know how to do this – find someone who does or can offer assistance.
Remember – food is only part of the equation. You have to serve good to great food in order for people to continually return to your business and be comfortable referring others. Service is the other part of the equation that in my opinion gets left out more often than I can say here today.
If you are going to retain customers, you need people to do the work. So find people you can train, trust and allow you to build repeat/referral business for your restaurant business. This way you can sleep better at night and your reputation could even blossom.
Are you involved in a restaurant, food service company or coffee bar and want to learn how to increase sales and retain customers? If so, then contact The SmallBiz Mechanic and see how you can Retain Customers & Increase Sales in your Food & Beverage establishment.