When you operate a restaurant, there are hundreds of questions you will encounter. One of the most important questions, which many restaurateurs neglect to ask: How am I making my guests feel special?
Whether you are running a QSR or a four-star fine dining restaurant, it is your job to make every guest feel special and provide the best possible dining experience. An excellent way of doing this is by adding personal touches.
Three Ways to Personalize Your Restaurant
Get to know your guests. The more you know about the people you serve, the easier it is for you and your staff to offer them stellar service. Although understanding your diners seems like a basic concept, most restaurants neglect this critical part of customer relations.
The good news is it’s not tough to learn more about your diners: Ask, and they are more than willing to tell you. The bad news is that once you have the information about your customers that you want, keeping track of it and using it effectively is time-consuming and often ineffective. But there is a solution.
Technology makes it much faster and easier to maintain and use extensive data on your guests. A point-of-sale system, like Linga POS, can help you record and organize customer information from their names and email addresses to a guest’s favorite drinks or special occasions. A POS system makes it possible for your waiter to delight a guest with a favorite complimentary dessert or cocktail on a birthday or remind your kitchen the person is a vegetarian. When incorporating the Linga Waitlist function, as you take customers’ names for waiting they can be immediately signed up for the loyalty program, getting even more information to create a personalized experience.
Use the internet to stay connected. Who says you can’t keep in touch with your customers when they are not in your restaurant? Restaurants owners can use online tools to remain in contact with their customers 24/7.
Your guests are probably already sharing a lot of information about themselves on social media. If you aren’t taking advantage of that fact by maintaining active social media accounts on popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter you are losing out. Although you can use your social media accounts to read and respond to customers posts or promote your restaurant, the real value of social media is gaining access to information. You can learn a lot by reviewing your guest’s profiles, but to obtain even more personal usable information, try offering discounts or an entry into a contest in exchange for submitting the user’s email address.
Once you put together a healthy amount of email addresses, your list will become your number one marketing tool. Modern POS systems like Linga POS simplify the process of sending personalized emails to your customers by allowing you to effortlessly sort based on their spending habits, the frequency of visits and other criteria. Guests will appreciate receiving personalized invitations to the events at your restaurant as well as customized discounts right in their inbox.
Give your best customers something unique. Who doesn’t like to feel they are appreciated? Many restaurants offer good customers a loyalty or VIP card discount program at their restaurant. This a good option for many businesses, especially for QSRs. Linga POS gives you the tools you need to manage a variety of different loyalty programs stress-free.
But there are other ways of showing a great customer how much you care. The more creative you are, the more likely your efforts will impress your guests. Some suggestions include:
- Offering long-time customers guaranteed reservations on a special occasion or during a holiday.
- Inviting guests to a cooking demo to learn how to make their favorite dessert.
- Providing complementary baked goods to enjoy for breakfast the next day.
Regardless of the way you choose to personalize your guests’ dining experience, just making an effort will considerably improve your customer service.
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Don is was the former Marketing Director for Benseron Hospitality. Prior roles included Founder/CEO of a software email automation startup, Digital Marketing Director for a Fortune 500 Financial Services company, and roles as Sr. Product Manager and Marketing Technology Manager. Don has spoken on conference stages for over a decade, and led workshops on Design Thinking, SEO, Mobile Marketing, Crowdsourcing, and chaired an Innovation competition.