The food and restaurant industry has evolved significantly over the years. Now that consumers have become more demanding with meals, service standards have skyrocketed and expectations are higher than ever. When people decide to dine at your establishment, they don’t just want to eat good food; they also want to have a pleasant experience.
Statistics show that 96 percent of consumers around the world say that customer service plays a critical role in choosing a brand they will be loyal to. As a service-oriented industry, knowing what motivates your customers and capitalizing on their preferences will enable you to provide top-notch service.
Your ability to provide excellent customer service will play an important role in defining the success of your establishment. With competition getting ever tighter, companies that can engage and delight their customers will be ahead of the pack. Stay up to date and take note of these five notable customer service trends in the restaurant industry.
Online ordering and mobile apps
Unlike before, where you had to memorize the delivery numbers of your favorite fast food chains, now you can order with just one click. Thanks to the arrival of meal delivery apps, the occasional diner can now satisfy their cravings whenever they want.
In the United States alone, diners spent approximately $27 billion by ordering food through an app, website or text message. Listing your establishment in a third-party online ordering app can dramatically increase your sales because you give customers the privilege to dine with you wherever they are.
Now until 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be done through digital companions. Similar to how businesses use chatbots, restaurants are beginning to integrate the technology into their processes, especially in ordering. A famous example would be how self-ordering kiosks were able to simplify the customer experience.
Integrating self-service technology can also provide many benefits for your kitchen staff. Since the machines now take care of one thing in your to-do list, you can process orders faster, reduce the number of workers you pay, and dramatically increase your day-to-day efficiency.
Dine as a personalized experience
Rather than focusing on food, consumers want to have an immersive experience with you. Reports show that 71 percent of consumers are frustrated if their experience with you is not personalized. This statistic proves that you need to know your target audience’s preferences and take advantage of them.
This is where your branding, design and gimmicks come in. What kind of vibe do they prefer? Should you brighten up the name of your food options? Do they react well to red colored furniture? Knowing what motivates them will increase your chances of retaining them for future transactions.
Healthy food and environmental awareness
People have now become more aware of the things they put into their bodies. To pave the way for a healthier body, consumers have started following certain meal plans, such as the vegan food, giving rise to this tendency. In addition to health-related reasons, there has been an increase in the number of customers choosing not to eat meat for ethical reasons.
Environmental issues have now become the main selling point for customers. With topics such as plastic overproduction and global warming at their fingertips, people are now starting to be more discerning with the products they consume. To enable them to live a sustainable life, you can help them minimize their carbon footprint by creating a zero-waste kitchen.
Beyond plastic straws, you can minimize your establishment’s impact on the planet by boycotting plastic utensils, containers and polystyrene. Including more plant-based options and other meatless options will undeniably expand your reach to wellness warriors and plant and animal lovers alike.
The growing role of social media
Since tech-savvy youngsters tend to be on their phones at all times, being present in social media will help you establish a stronger presence with the younger generation. When it comes to digital ads, studies show that 71% of millennials and 59% of centennials (aka Gen Z) are likely to click.
These figures indicate that being present on social platforms (such as Facebook or Instagram) and other digital channels has become a necessity.
Besides giving you better brand exposure, social media also opens up a number of opportunities for engagement. You can personally thank your customers every time they post about you, respond to inquiries in an instant, and monitor how they talk about your brand.
It can help you improve different areas of your operations and give you a better reputation in the market.
Provide a pleasant dining experience
Customer loyalty is built through positive engagements. You can have great marketing strategies and competitively priced products, but you should always keep in mind that service is just as impactful as the two. Taking note of these tips and putting your audience front and center will give them the best experience they could hope for.
Make sure you always do research. Reading food industry blogs and taking note of your competition’s strengths and weaknesses can give you insight into how you can improve your services. Staying up to date with the latest industry trends will also allow you to adapt to any changes that may arise in the future.