Hospitality is at the heart of running a restaurant. From cordially greeting a guest when they first arrive until the guest has departed, welcoming treatment of guests is a vital component to a successful restaurant. Why not extend that same hospitality far beyond the restaurant’s walls? Here are a few ideas to cultivate customer relationships long before they set foot in your restaurant.
Get social to get business! Restaurants can boost purchase intent as much as 6 percent if they focus social media efforts on earned media. Setting up a website (and optimizing search terms) is great but social media has exploded the outlets where customers can search for and interact with your restaurant.
Facebook attracts a huge number of users but other social media, such as Instagram and Pinterest, allow you to speak directly to guests who search specifically for food, restaurants, or your specific image or story. People eat with their eyes and these visual mediums are effective at selling your food and your story. Do claim your business page on Yelp to gain visibility with all 92 million Yelpers. Then ask followers to engage with your page, post visual stories, and offer promotions.
Keep in Touch with Guests after their Visit
You likely already know that 83% of diners say online reservations are very or somewhat important to their dining experience. It’s the convenience they are after, right? But a reservation system has more tools than just holding a table. It captures a guest’s name, location, email, and other data, making it easier than ever to keep in touch with guests after their visit and encourage them to return. Like sending them a note on their birthday or an invitation to a chef’s table screening.
Personalization is Key: Keep Track of Guest Preferences
Do you have a regular guest who always wants table 42 or one who cannot eat shellfish? The more you know about your guests, the easier it is to make them comfortable when they are at your establishment. Enter the reservation system. It allows the manager, maitre’d, and staff to see what a guest needs. Guests can add requests and you can store those requests and add your own notes. The pay-off – customers who feel like you are paying attention to their specific needs – can be huge.
A Better Way to Wait
Wait lists are an important business tool, but no one likes waiting in line. Thus the 81% of diners who say that they go to a restaurant more often if it uses Yelp Nowait for waitlist management. They can get in line remotely and get notified if a table becomes available. Ditch the line and tell the guest exactly how long they have until they need to be at the restaurant? Yes, please.
Tech can Influence your Marketing and Hospitality Performance
Hospitality should not be compromised by technology. Instead, use technology to boost your marketing presence, improve turn, and build repeat business. By adding a few digital tools to your marketing arsenal, customer service quickly and efficiently extends your restaurant brand experience outside the four walls. It really is as simple as that.
1Jason Kornwitz, News @ Northeastern, September 18, 2017, https://news.northeastern.edu/2017/09/18/when-it-comes-to-social-media-consumers-trust-each-other-not-big-brands/ (accessed May 2018)
2 from emarketer.com: n.d., “US Smartphone Shoppers who researched purchases exclusively via smartphone, by product category, March 2015.” (accessed February 2018)