What ‘customer first’ actually means in the food industry

What ‘customer first’ actually means in the food industry

Every restaurant owner longs to have satisfied customers. Happy customers return and they get others to walk through the door by giving positive recommendations.

In order to get to this level of customer satisfaction, restaurant owners must ensure that ‘customer first’ translates from a business value to an everyday practice. Here’s how to do that.

Service with a smile

A smile is the best way to welcome a customer. It shows openness and warmth. It shows a customer that you are happy they chose to come to your restaurant on that day. What’s more, a smile elicits a smile. When a server smiles, a customer relaxes and they may smile too. This is just the kind of attitude that leads to happy customers.

Give rewards

It is nice to have a rewards system in place. The buy 9 coffees, get one free is a popular one used across the world. Customers feel prioritised when they are given something back for their continued support.

But imagine walking into your favourite restaurant and being offered an extra starter on the house, without having done anything to earn it. That will feel even better.

Impromptu rewards really communicate that you appreciate the customers’ business and are willing to show them how important they are to you.

Follow up

Your interaction with the customer shouldn’t end when they place their order. Check in to see if they may need anything else. After they are done paying, thank them for coming. A follow up should not be neglected for deliveries.

Don’t wait for them to give you a star rating on an app. Send a message to find out if everything was to their liking and again, thank them for their order.

Respond to negative feedback

Despite your best efforts, it is not possible to get it right all the time. Once in a while, you may get the orders mixed up or something else may not go according to plan. If a customer raises a complaint, look into it and respond.

Sometimes all that is needed is an explanation, other times an apology and in other cases, a complimentary meal may just be what must happen to show the customer that they are your priority.

Flexibility is key

There are certain rules that may be bent to make a customer feel valued. For example, they want more of an item and yet you are only allowed to offer one helping. Instead of out rightly saying ‘no’, offer them something else.

Be proactive

You don’t have to wait for the customer to ask for something, if your staff see a need, they should go ahead and make a suggestion. This could be anything from a menu item suggestion to where a couple might sit for extra privacy.

A lot of restaurants say the customer is their top priority but yours can be the one that goes ahead and actually puts it into practice. It will win your happy, loyal customers.


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