The importance of customer engagement in the restaurant environment is undeniable. It is very important to ensure that we have engaged loyal customers at the end of the day in our restaurants. With so many restaurants and few engaged customers, a well-managed establishment will always be more successful than one that doesn’t care about its customers.
First look at what restaurant customer engagement is.
The process through which a Restaurant consistently and proactively interacts with its customers (both existing and potential) in such a manner as to generate an emotional connection resulting in increased brand equity and revenue over time. It involves not only providing superior service but also delivering original value propositions to customers that go beyond merely satisfying their basic needs.
Let's look at 12 key ways through which we can increase restaurant customer engagement:
This is a win-win solution to the millennial challenge. It allows them to feel listened to (and thus more positive about your organization) while making them feel that you have value for their input.
Whether it is by taking indirect approaches to your marketing (online engagement, blogging, email marketing) or making young consumers active participants in the process of creating new products and innovations, millennials will find satisfaction if they feel like your company's practices are utilizing what they have to offer.
To feel heard, millennials need to know how their input translates into actionable change. Have open lines of communication so they can be reassured that your company is not a faceless entity but rather a responsive business partner in the quest for greater customer engagement.
To this generation, a diner should not have to choose between their food preferences and scheduling commitments; a restaurant that caters to the needs of millennials will offer new ways for accepting online reservations and/or mobile payment approaches. Making these kinds of changes more convenient for younger customers will lead to greater customer engagement.
Feedback is intrinsic to any relationship of trust, and millennials are no different. By making it easier for customers to share their thoughts about your organization through mobile devices, you can increase levels of satisfaction and further understand how younger customers think.
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Whether through active community engagement or digital outreach (like facebook restaurant marketing, snapchat restaurant marketing), it is essential to contextualize a restaurant's offerings outside of traditional advertising channels. The ripple effect will reach the most engaged segment of customers – and those with excess spending power whose opinions are worth listening to for your company's restaurant marketing purposes – and thus increase customer engagement.
Getting younger customers more invested in your organization is a great way to help them feel like they are part of something important and worthwhile. This approach can be framed within a socially conscious context or by simply serving as an outlet for philanthropic solutions that will make them feel good about their patronage of your outlet.
To this segment, a restaurant's relevance is not contingent on the quality of its offerings but rather that its menu reflects the growing trend toward food sustainability and/or ethical sourcing practices. Give them food options they will appreciate and value: offering vegetarian or vegan dishes, for instance, is a great way of attracting this segment's attention.
More than any other generation, millennials value aesthetics in their surroundings. The restaurant business can take advantage of this by being more creative with how restaurants are designed: make use of digital screens and sound systems to convey memorable branding, have a restaurant's physical design be multi-functional (such as incorporating a café with an open layout into a bookstore) to make it more interesting and engaging, etc.
More than any other generation, millennials value diversity in their surroundings. The restaurant business can take advantage of this by employing staff that is representative of a broad spectrum of diversity: for instance, by promoting more women and people with disabilities to management positions.
Customer loyalty programs are a great way to connect with your fans and followers.
This rewards system is perfect for loyalty enthusiasts! It directly gives you clients something they value ("I eat here every week, why not reward me for it?") and helps them plan ahead.
For example: "On my next trip here, I'll be on number 5, so I should ask about a free dessert if we go this weekend."
If you implement this system in the right way, it will not only encourage more frequent visits and let clients know about things like upcoming events (like new menu items or happy hour specials), but it will also increase your word-of-mouth advertising.
Restaurant Contests are a great way to have fun and increase customer engagement with your restaurant. It does not matter how much you might think people would want to win something free at a business like yours, the reality is that they will be far more inclined to go for opportunities that offer them an experience or interaction such as contests and games.
The easier it is to enter (both logistically and financially), the greater chance of return on investment you will see from campaigns such as these - which makes them worth every effort you put into them.
Customer engagement for restaurants is a key factor in the success of their business. It’s essential to know how customers think and decide what they want before providing it so that your sales are increased while minimizing complaints or returns. These 10 tips for boosting customer engagement should help get you started on creating an engaging guest experience for your guests from the moment they walk through your door until long after they leave.
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