The most successful restaurants have mastered how to increase restaurant sales. But it’s a constant challenge. Restaurant customer trends change, food and supply prices fluctuate, and new competitors pop up every day. The key to overcoming these challenges? Leveraging customer feedback.
Recent Black Box Intelligence research has shown that guests continue to care more about overall restaurant value. So identifying and focusing on ways to boost your customers’ price/value perception will inevitably boost your sales and traffic without you having to make adjustments on menu pricing or labor costs.
We’ve compiled a list of tactics you can implement to put customer feedback at the forefront of your business strategy. Let’s start by first looking at the latest industry trends.
Tactics to Build a Business Strategy Centered Around Your Guest
With the right approach, you can achieve sustained growth and overcome potential economic challenges in the long run.
To ensure your growth strategy incorporates what your customers value most, consider implementing these tactics and best practices in your action plan:
- Conduct competitive analysis: Analyze your competition to identify your brand strengths and ensure your offers continue to differentiate against industry standards. Leverage your guest feedback by incorporating questions in your post-dining surveys like “What are the top 3 places you go to when looking for a dining experience like ours.” Or use AI-powered tools to help you track which brands are frequently mentioned when comparing your restaurant to others.
- Leverage customer feedback: Collect and analyze solicited feedback and unsolicited feedback to guide your decision-making. Solicited feedback (which can be captured via surveys) can uncover how specific areas of your restaurant business impact customer satisfaction. This method brings direct validation or clarity on whether your strategic initiatives, such as seasonal menus, opening a new location, or changing operating hours will be easier to execute on. Unsolicited feedback (received through channels like social media, online reviews, or customer emails) is the organic, honest, and unfiltered opinions of your customers. It can unveil what your guests are truly thinking and uncover issues or opportunities that may not have been identified through structured surveys.
- Offer bundle and limited-time deals: Bundle deals entice customers to take advantage of the offer since they feel they are getting more value for their money. As for limited-time offers, you can provide deals around national trends or hot topics to reach a different demographic and create a sense of urgency.
- Send time-based and location-based notifications: Location- and time-based notifications can help you create a sense of urgency, remind your customers of your current promotions and/or limited-time offers, and drive more awareness around your weaker areas. By ensuring your data speaks the same language, you can pinpoint the exact locations/times that have the greatest influence on your brand, whether positive or negative.
- Use cost-effective marketing channels: There are ways to expand your reach despite thinner margins and other challenges eating into ad budgets. For instance, email continues to be the most effective marketing channel and offers a high return on investment (ROI), generating an impressive $36 for every $1 spent. Almost 50% of American consumers discover coupons or promos through emails from followed brands or through online searches. As for social media, choose the platform that will provide you with the highest ROI: Instagram.
- Build your website with Google in mind: A survey study by BrightLocal found that 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022. Promote your specials by creating landing pages for the terms people search most.
Find the Real Drivers of Future Sales & Traffic
To create an effective business strategy, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of how your brand is being perceived by your guests. By ignoring customer feedback, you’re essentially using guesswork to decide the fate of your restaurant.
A good solution will give you data capabilities to understand your customers inside and out—and reveal what’s impacting your guest experience over time—so you can implement strategies that outshine the competition and become best-in-class in customer experience.