Customer feedback plays a crucial role in the success of a restaurant. Everything from the ambiance to the quality of service, music, food quality and temperature in the dining room can affect a visitor’s desire to come back to your establishment. The goal is to make each customer’s experience as positive as possible, and feedback can help you reach that goal. Reviews, another form of feedback, will also help improve your reputation and get more visitors through the door.
But how do you get that feedback?
How to Get Feedback from Your Restaurant Customers
One of the biggest challenges restaurant owners face is figuring out how to ask for reviews from guests. Developing a customer feedback system can help you gather comments that you can use to improve the customer experience.
Ideally, you should have a way for restaurant guests to provide comments in person and leave positive feedback online.
How to Ask for Reviews on Facebook, Yelp, Google and More
The best way to get customer feedback is to make it as easy as possible. People will not jump through hoops to leave comments about your restaurant. So, make sure that your patrons know how to find your restaurant on:
These are the most powerful platforms for restaurant feedback.
One of the simplest ways to ensure that your customers can find you on these platforms is to include their addresses on your receipts and signage. This will make it easy for people to leave their feedback.
What about offering incentives? It may seem like a simple solution to getting more reviews, but incentivizing reviews will land you in hot water. Offering discounts or promotional items to reviewers could have Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulators at your door. You can ask customers to leave reviews, but you can’t reward them for doing so.
Providing an exceptional customer experience is the best way to get customers to leave feedback. And if you make it easy for them to find your business on social media and review platforms, they’ll be more inclined to take time to leave their comments.
How to Create and Use a Survey for Feedback
Surveys are another great way to get feedback from guests, and unlike with reviews, you can offer an incentive for answering the questions.
Surveys serve a different purpose than reviews, but the feedback you receive is equally as important. Restaurant customer satisfaction surveys help establishments make changes to improve the customer’s experience.
There are many ways to conduct surveys:
- At the table via tablets
If you’re conducting your survey online, you can use a service like Google Forms or Survey Monkey. These services allow you to create surveys, collect data and analyze the feedback you receive.
Surveys offer a valuable opportunity to get information from your customers that you can use to improve their experience and get them back through your door. You want to use this opportunity wisely and ask the right questions.
What are the best restaurant survey questions? Here are some ideas:
- How often do you dine at our restaurant?
- Would you recommend our restaurant to your family and friends? Ask them to explain their answer in a separate question.
- What do you like about the food menu?
- Are there any food or drink items you’d like to see added to the menu?
- How would you rate our staff’s service on a scale of 1-10?
- On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to eat at our restaurant again?
These are some great questions to ask, but they’ll be useless if you can’t get customers to take the time to answer them. Offering an incentive will entice people to give up some of their valuable time.
What types of incentives can you offer?
- Discounts, such as 10% off their order
- Free items, such as a free drink or appetizer
- Free cash towards a purchase, such as $10 towards their next meal
- Giveaway entry, such as a cash prize or free dinners
How can customers find your survey? One of the simplest ways to connect them with your survey is to provide a link or an address at the bottom of the receipt. You can also advertise your survey on your social media account to increase the number of participants.
How to Ask for Customer Comments
They may be going out of fashion, but comment cards are still an effective way to get feedback from your visitors. These cards can be left on the table along with pencils or pens to make it as easy as possible.
Guests will be more inclined to fill out comment cards because they are sitting there right in front of them, and they have time to kill while waiting for the check. It's an effective way to collect feedback, and your guests will be more honest about their experience because it’s still fresh in their minds.
How to Ask for Feedback in Email and Text Message
Text messages and emails are also great ways to get feedback. Restaurants often send text messages to let diners know that their tables are ready or to confirm reservations. Texts can also be used to ask these same customers how their experience was along with a link to leave a review.
Texts are a preferred method of communication for many people today, and you may be surprised by how many customers are willing to leave their comments.
The same approach can be taken through email. Ask guests to leave their reviews, and make sure that you respond quickly to negative comments to rectify the situation.
How to Manage Customer Reviews
You’ve sent emails, asked for reviews and even have comment cards at your tables. You have all of this information. What do you do with it? How do you manage it?
It's important to have a way to analyze your feedback and store it. This is why many restaurants prefer online surveys and reviews over comment cards. Digital information is easier to manage and store. After you’ve implemented a management system and started analyzing the data, the next step is to figure out what to do with it.
Improve the Customer Experience
The most obvious thing to do with your feedback is to implement changes that improve the customer experience.
Let’s say that a large percentage of survey respondents complained that your wait staff did not provide good service or people made negative comments about service in their reviews. You can follow-up by asking for details about the service and the problems they experienced. Staff can then be trained to improve service. Whether it’s an efficiency or personality problem, you can find a solution that will make customers happier.
Make Menu Changes
Maybe customers have some complaints about the food or have suggestions for new menu items. Use that valuable information to your advantage. This feedback can be taken into consideration when updating your menu.
Positive feedback can also be used to motivate your staff. When employees are praised and/or rewarded for a job-well-done, they’ll be more likely to continue providing the top-notch service your customers demand.
Customer feedback is important – even if that feedback is negative. All of the valuable information you receive from customers can be used to improve your food, ambiance and service.