guestXM – by Black Box Intelligence

What are ‘restaurant choice’ drivers?

Discover the reasons why people choose a restaurant over another and what your brand can do to make sure they keep coming back to yours!

Deciphering the Restaurant Decision-Making Factors

When choosing a restaurant, the usual suspects help determine a customer’s ultimate decision: the proximity of the restaurant, the time available to dine (a quick bite to eat or a leisurely meal), and the type of cuisine desired. However, there are a handful of critical other drivers that heavily impact our choice of restaurant, which can be summed up by the way a restaurant makes us feel.

In the last 5 years, there have been heavy studies into “restaurant choice drivers,” i.e. the factors that drive people to choose a restaurant or not choose a restaurant.

The 9 primary restaurant choice drivers are:

1. Food

2. Consistency

3. Service

4. Environment

5. Reputation

6. Convenience

7. Value

8. Innovation

9. Family Friendliness

While all are important to factor into the running of your business, they are not all equal in how they impact the decision-making process. Some matter more than others.

In the diagram below, the y-axis lists the nine different choice drivers. These are ordered by impact or importance from left to right, with food and consistency being the most important, and family friendliness the least important.

What this tells us is even if a restaurant’s interior wasn’t the most up-to-date (“Environment”), people would still keep coming if the staff were great (“Service”). Or, that people are willing to pay a bit more in exchange for smaller servings (“Value”) if a restaurant has a great rating or reviews (“Reputation”). Taste and consistency are above all the most important factors for return customers.

At AreTheyHappy, we have added a 10th choice driver, one that is hard to quantify, though nonetheless critical: “Experience,” i.e. how the restaurant has made the person feel. This is shown in the very right-most column in the graph below.

Most brands in the hospitality space understand how critical the guest experience is, but they don’t necessarily have the tools to easily capture and monitor how they’re executing it.

If you stay on the pulse of guest sentiment, you’ll be able to capitalize on what’s making customers happy and address any issues that may arise before it’s too late.

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