Having more than one restaurant location presents its own unique challenges. One of the greatest is maintaining consistency across every location. The best way to ensure that your various restaurant locations maintain a regular output is to set clear benchmarks within an umbrella standard that they can adhere to. If not, online ratings and reviews could point out brand-tarnishing inconsistencies to the public that affect all locations.
Understand Your Customer’s Expectations
Customer’s perceptions and expectations have shifted dramatically within the past few decades. We now see increased accommodation for different dietary needs, as well as other customer-first approaches due to the competitive nature of the industry. Going out of your way to please your customers has become necessary in contributing to a restaurant’s bottom line.
Knowing what your customers expect when they come to your restaurant can help you exceed their expectations. For example, 65 percent of diners say they want restaurants to know (and remember) their names and 50 percent want restaurants to remember their favorite drink. Additionally, a quick textual analysis of over 331,920 online reviews and over 1,300 restaurant locations revealed that “service” was the most mentioned keyword. Knowing the specifics in regards to customer expectations will help you emphasize these in your standard procedures.
Have a High Standard for Customer Service
One thing that remains very clear is that customer service expectations are rising. While this is seemingly easy to accommodate in other industries, the unique thing about restaurant customer service is that it must be achieved in the amount of time it takes for a customer to be served. Plus, it involves a team effort. For example, just one customer experience usually involves a hostess, waitstaff, bartender, and a cook.
In order to have consistent customer service, your restaurant locations should follow a high standard that’s specifically outlined to include:
- Management customer service training
- Food service standards
- Scenario-based standards in the event of wrong orders, what to do if a customer is unsatisfied with their meal, how you can reduce wait time during a meal rush, and other common restaurant scenarios
- Clear explanations to the staff on why customer service benefits everyone
- Management disciplinary action for customer complaints
Have a Sound Brand Strategy
It’s paramount for brands to focus their energy on keeping consistent experiences across different franchises and operators. Having a brand strategy allows you to form a complete culture and personality behind the branches of your business.
A sound brand has core values that are actively maintained throughout every facet of the restaurant. Whether it’s in operations, marketing, or customer service, a brand strategy that’s well-communicated to every member of the team creates critical cohesion that can make your restaurant locations consistent with their offering. Ideally, your brand strategy should capitalize on your customers’ expectations.
Maintain the Same Standard Operating Procedures at Every Location
Every one of your locations should be adhering to the same standard operating procedures for every sector of your restaurant. Kitchen staff should be maintaining consistent practices in regards to food prep, cooking, food storage and inventory, opening, and closing.
On the same note, waitstaff should follow the same procedures in regards to training, knowledge of the menu, waiting or seating procedures, and add-ons.
Adopt Technology That Helps
In the age of technology, the “there’s an app for that” sentiment is not a false one, especially when it comes to maintaining consistent customer experiences across your restaurant locations.
Thanx is a digital customer engagement and marketing automation solution for restaurants that allows you to capture insights, retain loyal fans, send highly-targeted campaigns, and measure results in real revenue – and even integrate online ordering! It’s the ultimate tool in helping you pinpoint inconsistencies to find solutions, all while helping you increase revenue by capitalizing on excellent experiences. Adopting a technology that can help allows you to stand out from your competition by ensuring all your locations have a top-tier performance.
Having multiple locations certainly presents its challenges in maintaining consistent customer experiences. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to provide the same experience no matter which location customers visit. A sound strategy with both proactive and reactive measures, paired with a digital solution that can help is a sure-fire way to combat any inconsistencies across your locations. If you’re ready to bring all your restaurant locations to a level that’ll minimize negative ratings and reviews, contact Thanx today.