There are many great reasons to implement a restaurant customer satisfaction survey yet there are unfortunately still Table Topmany restaurants that don’t have any feedback system in place. In fact, the food service industry should be the leader in gathering customer feedback simply because it is the most common form of in your face service there is. Many wait staff readily ask a few times over the course of a meal as to how the meal is. This is standard practice among restaurants, but what do they do with the feedback they get? Do they immediately go and let someone know? Write it down? Record it anywhere? Are all comments quantified somehow and totaled up giving the manager or owner some kind of scorecard on how they are doing or how they can do better? I think you can see the many problems that exist with simply just asking your customers how their experience was. While it’s nice that someone cares enough to ask, it mostly comes off as small talk and a quick needs assessment of your customer rather than a systematic approach to gather meaningful data to help make smart business decisions. Besides, how many customers actually give honest feedback when confronted with this type of question face to face? Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s a very good idea to implement a restaurant customer satisfaction survey app and of course getting honest feedback is the greatest value of all.

  • Prevent negative reviews from being posted online – Unfortunately in this day of the internet age, a customer’s opinion can be found on almost anything that exists. The food service industry has been one of the hardest hit by this trend because everyone, of course, has to eat. Getting people to leave their opinion while still on your premises helps to reduce the likelihood that the customer will go home and then go online to vent. If they’ve already had that chance with a good restaurant survey system then why do it again?
  • Increase sales – Research shows that offering customers a coupon or discount as an incentive to complete an in-person survey will get more of them to participate. However, as an added bonus, your restaurant or cafe can use surveys as an opportunity to introduce a loyalty program, such as a coupon for a different time of week, to ensure repeat purchases.
  • Improve customer retention (and Sales again!) – In a research study by Rice University Professor Dr. Paul Dholakia and Dr. Vicki Morwitz, published in Harvard Business Review, the study concluded that the simple fact of asking customers how a company was performing by itself proved to be a great customer retention strategy. In the research study, conducted over the course of a year, one set of customers were sent out a satisfaction and opinion survey and the other set was not surveyed. After a year, twice the number of people continued and renewed their loyalty towards the company in the group that took the survey.
  • Track Performance – The best way to know how your staff are performing is to ask your customers. You can get to see trends in performance by comparing stats of different staff members. Or maybe one chef gets lower food scores than another. Conducting restaurant surveys consistently throughout the day, week, month, and year will give you a great perspective and the data will tell you a lot about your business. If you ask the right questions it will point you right in the direction of where your improvements are needed the most and potentially who are the staff you need to make sure you retain.
  • Collect customer contact details – In addition to collecting feedback about the quality of your service, food and operations, customer feedback surveys can be used to capture customer email addresses for further marketing promotions. One of the final questions in a brief five question survey could be “Would you like to receive discounts and promotional offers via email?” This is a great, non-intrusive way to build up a loyal customer contact list which is one of the most valued assets of any business.
  • Honest Feedback – As we mentioned before this is really your number one reason for doing restaurant customer satisfaction surveys. This feedback, while stinging at times, will help you to make smart business decisions so you can turn dissatisfied customers into happy ones. Then you can turn them loose on social media!

Along with being strong advocates for restaurants to do customer satisfaction surveys we are also obviously advocating that you conduct them from a tablet device loaded with a product like our Insights Customer Survey App as opposed to simply handing someone a comment card or a website link on the back of a receipt. A tablet app is just much more immediately engaging and from a business point of view, just much more practical in administering the questions you ask and analyzing the results.  Insights also gives you the added benefit of playing your promo ads while not in use. A restaurant customer satisfaction survey app is a practical, engaging and easy way to start implementing a customer retention strategy.

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