Five Surefire Ways to Ensure Consistent Guest Experience at Multi-Location Restaurants
3 Min Read By Alyssa Hanson
Diners expect to be treated as valued guests each time they visit your restaurant. With countless dining options, they’ll have no trouble finding a new favorite if the guest experience doesn’t meet their expectation. This is especially true for multi-location restaurants where a dependable, consistent experience is mandatory at every location.
Luckily, there are a few ways to ensure the great experience is consistent across all restaurant locations.
Monitor and Respond to Online Reviews
Whether you’re asking them to or not, your guests are sharing their experiences on social media, online review sites, forums and more. Considering that 91 percent of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations for dining decisions, it’s something restaurateurs can’t afford to ignore.
While business owners can’t control what guests are saying, they do have control over how they respond. Even a slight increase in a restaurant’s online rating can have a significant impact on their bottom line. In fact, a study by UC Berkeley found that on a scale of one to five, a half-star rating increase on Yelp translates into a 19 percent greater likelihood that a restaurant will be full during peak dining times.
A social media and online review monitoring software that’s designed for multi-location businesses can help restaurateurs stay ahead of guest reviews. This gives restaurant operators more context when actioning negative reviews and streamlines the actions that staff may need to take to resolve issues.
Cutting-edge technology such as text analytics can be used to help teams determine sentiment from reviews and can even detect recurring keywords at each restaurant location. By setting up triggers and alerts, operations teams can effectively monitor and manage any issues that arise. As a result, guests feel attended to, and are more likely to keep coming back.
Collect Feedback through Mystery Shopping
Restaurants with multiple locations have specific standards of service that staff are required to meet to ensure brand consistency. But without being in each location at once, how can restaurateurs really be certain that staff are delivering against the brand standards?
A restaurant mystery shopping program is one way to ensure consistency across all locations. Mystery shopping or “secret shopping” isn’t new, but it has certainly evolved. Modern mystery shopping programs are designed to measure many locations on a regular, frequent basis. Because mystery shoppers now use their personal devices to conduct shops, the results are all available in real-time. Operations teams can assess performance by analyzing all restaurant locations at once, filter results down to a specific regional area, or even single out a specific restaurant location. This means issues can be identified and addressed quickly and efficiently so restaurateurs feel like they’re visiting every location.
Use Connected Devices to Monitor and Improve Consistency
Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors can be used to remotely monitor location conditions such as temperature, sound and humidity. The data can help operations teams understand how environmental conditions correlate to customer experience, purchase behavior, revenue and other business metrics.
IoT sensors help ensure consistency across all locations. For example, when a customer orders their favorite coffee they expect to receive the same product regardless of which location they visit; in this case sensors can alert teams if a coffee brewer’s temperature falls outside of the mandated range. Sensors can even monitor the temperature of refrigerators and fryers to ensure food is stored and cooked safely.
Because IoT devices collect and transmit data in real-time, teams can set up alerts to notify the appropriate individuals when action needs to be taken. For example, traffic pattern sensors might alert staff that a restroom needs to be cleaned, based on the level of traffic to that restroom.
Use Mobile Checklists to Ensure Tasks are Completed
Mobile forms software replaces paper and pen checklists, reducing the risk of human error, saving time and reducing costs. When tasks are consistently completed correctly and on time, restaurant operations run smoother, ensuring a positive experience for customers each time they visit a restaurant location.
Mobile checklists ensure staff follow operating procedures and allow management to verify execution, helping to identify and address any issues at one or more locations.
Collect and Act on Customer Feedback
There’s an adage that says what gets measured, gets managed. Another way to ensure your guests are receiving the same, great service at every location they visit is to ask them about their experience.
Surveys are used to measure customer satisfaction (CSAT) against operational standards by asking a set of predefined questions about a guest’s recent dining experience. Surveys are typically distributed by printing a website URL at the bottom of a receipt, which wait staff are expected to bring to the customers’ attention.
Survey results can be digested in several ways. Operations teams can look at which location was visited, which menu items were ordered, and even the weather conditions at the time of their visit. Open-ended text responses can be assessed for sentiment through text analytics.
Regardless of which systems and processes your restaurant implements, the reality is that a consistency across all locations is essential to delivering a delightful guest experience at every visit.