GUESTS: A Tale of Three Restaurant Experiences
It was the best of visits, it was the worst of visits, it was an act of wisdom, it was an act of foolishness… customer service is still king!
Let me begin by saying that I don’t complain often. We’ve all been on the other end of that… a lot. But read the tale of three restaurant visits I had recently where I simply had to give feedback. Maybe it’s just been a string of bad luck lately, but having spent years in the business, I tend to like to let restaurants know when something goes wrong. I didn’t complain over Yelp or any review sites, either; I wrote polite emails via the restaurants’ websites. Read below, the tale of the experiences and the subsequent responses from the restaurants and see what you think.
DID YOU KNOWS…
Maker’s Mark VR Experience
Maker’s Mark bourbon has teamed up with Youtube in showcasing the video-sharing site’s new 180-degree Magic Window tech. Magic Window allows viewers to break the fourth-wall by moving their mouse or mobile device a complete 180 degrees to navigate throughout the video. Experience it here (works best on mobile). What would you do with this tech?
Dominating the Arms Market
U.S. arms companies still produce the most weapons worldwide. About 57% of weapons produced last year came from the United States, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute SIPRI. Russia comes in second, with year-over-year growth in arms production. In 2017, Russia provided the world with 10% of arms sales. Only major arms companies were included in this study. China was excluded due to insufficient data.
Different Sort of Happy Meal
Sonic employees have been arrested after an 11-year-old found ecstasy in their kids’ meal. The child saw the blue pill and asked their parents if it was candy. The parents then brought the item to the police department where it was identified as the drug ecstasy (MDMA). We’re all for burgers making us feel good, too, but not this way.
Why it matters to you: Your next generation of employees are here, are you ready to manage them?
As generations emerge, our industry is typically the first to meet them, given that, for so many, restaurant jobs are their first. With the newest group defined as Generation Z, you have 13-to 22-year-olds who make up a decent percentage of restaurant operations. Our industry will be the first to employ recruit, train and develop this generation; consequently, we need to know what motivates them. While no generation is a monolith, you can gather some insights simply by asking and that’s exactly what the National Restaurant Association did a recent forum on innovation they hosted. They invited four Gen Z’ers (all employed in the restaurant industry) and offered seven insights from the discussion.
To start, they favor Instagram for social communication and aren’t huge fans of email. They like the concept of gamifying loyalty. Ethically, they are serious about sustainability and the environment and they are looking for role models that will challenge them to learn and grow. As guests, they want to dine in your restaurant and are looking for unique experiences. As employees, they admit that reading a manual is not their thing, so you’ll need to demonstrate and coach them to success. This introduction is just a taste of what your restaurants will look like for the next 20 years.
[Source: National Restaurant Association]
Why it matters to you: Creating the best guest experience is the path to success for today’s restaurant marketing.
And speaking of experiences, it appears that overall Americans prefer memorable ones. In fact almost a quarter of us would avoid a restaurant if the dining experience wasn’t memorable or special, according to this infographic by SevenRooms. It also turns out that diners prefer special or VIP treatment versus snagging a table at a difficult-to-get-in restaurant. To go further, over half of us say that a server remembering their name from a previous visit would make their dining experience standout. Finally almost half of us are actually turned off by a restaurant where it’s hard to get a reservation.
Could this be a case of too busy is a bad thing? The answer is decidedly NO! Super busy restaurants that want to sustain their volume simply need to heed the other warnings -- remember your guests and work towards an outstanding guest experience. Sure, there are those that won’t stay if you are on a long wait or have no space at the bar. While you should make an effort to retain those guests too, your primary focus has to be on delivering a great experience and doing it every time. Heed your guests’ advice and make an effort to meet and remember your guests. They will respond by coming more often and telling their friends and that’s the best marketing ever.