Restaurant Comment Cards: Tips for Improving Guest Feedback
As a restaurant owner or manager, customer feedback is extremely valuable, and restaurant comment cards are one of the best ways to collect that feedback.
Restaurant comment cards can help you gather feedback that will allow you to improve your services and strategies to increase customer satisfaction. Do your customers want a health-oriented menu? What about a friendly atmosphere, or more accessible seating areas?
Rather than guessing what’s working and what’s not for your restaurant, it’s best to ask your guests directly. By doing so, you’ll learn their opinions on how to improve your restaurant’s operational efficiency and ways to increase your customer satisfaction.
Since comment cards are usually filled out anonymously, guests may share deep insights that they wouldn’t normally feel comfortable telling a server or manager. In order to be effective, however, you’ll need to review these comments and apply the feedback to the aspects of your restaurant you want to improve – like your server friendliness or menu variety.
By using guest feedback to inform your business decisions, you can meet customer expectations and increase the likelihood that they will return. Empowering guests to share their reviews can also increase positive restaurant reviews and mitigate negative ones that can hurt the success of your restaurant. In fact, businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers with just one negative review. That’s a huge loss!
While there are digital options to gather feedback, like online surveys and social media, we’re going to focus on the earliest way of collecting guest opinions – restaurant comment cards.
To help you learn all about restaurant comment cards and how to use them, we will cover:
A restaurant comment card is a physical form – often the size of a postcard – that is used to gather customer feedback from guests. Typically, a server hands it out with the check at the end of a meal to be filled out and returned. The information gathered from each comment card can help you understand if you’re meeting guests’ expectations, or where there is room to improve.
Popular questions for a comment card include how guests liked the quality of your food, the service offered, your restaurant design, and thoughts on menu variety. You can also ask about staff friendliness, your restaurant atmosphere, cleanliness, and value for money.
To make it seamless for guests to answer, you can use a rating system from one to 10, or a scale system from Excellent to Poor, with checkboxes next to each selection.
You can also include open-ended restaurant survey questions, like “How likely are you to visit our restaurant again?” or “How likely are you to recommend our restaurant to a friend or family member?” This way, guests can write notes about their visit to help you decide which areas need improvement.
Looking for restaurant comment cards examples? The example below shows you what kinds of questions you can ask and the information you should collect. Just don’t forget to add your own restaurant branding to your comment cards to make them complement your venue.
Digital Comment Card Alternatives
The response rate for feedback cards for restaurants is often low, with about 30% of customers filling out cards you leave on a table or place by the front desk. That’s why many restaurateurs may choose to use digital comment card alternatives to collect more guest feedback.
Some digital comment card alternatives include:
Surveys: Create and share a free survey on Google Forms or SurveyMonkey with questions about your services, staff, menu items, and more. You can also ask guests about their favorite food choices so you know what’s trending. Post your survey on your website, email it to your subscribers, or share it on your social media channels.
Social Media: Start conversations with your community on social media. After all, who wouldn’t want to comment on a mouth-watering “Chocoholics Cheesecake”? When you interact with guests, they’ll be more likely to share information with you. Plus if they feel more connected to your restaurant, they might leave a positive social media review!
Data and Analytics: By paying attention to how customers interact with your website and content, you can learn a lot about them. Consider using platforms like Google Analytics to see pageviews, heat mapping software like Hotjar, or recording software like Lucky Orange. The data you collect will help you determine how to improve your business.
Best Practices for Creating Comment Cards
Whether you’re creating traditional or digital comment cards, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Show appreciation with thank yous and incentives
To make your guests feel valued, it’s important to show appreciation for the time they are taking out of their day to fill out your restaurant comment card. After all, you want to make your customers feel valued, and increase their likelihood to return to your restaurant.
Consider writing text on the bottom of your restaurant comment card to thank guests, and let them know how their answers will help improve your offering. For example, here is a restaurant comment card template for a thank you section:
“Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback – we really appreciate it! Your answers will help us improve [Your Restaurant Name]’s overall dining experience.”
Another way to express gratitude is with promotional incentives that reward guests for sharing their input with you. For example, upon completion of your survey card, you can offer guests a free appetizer on their next meal, or a free gift certificate that can be applied to a future visit. You might be surprised at how much valuable feedback you can gather with incentives!
It’s best to keep your survey questions short and concise so they can be answered quickly. Remember that your cards are handed out at the end of the meal with a check, meaning your guests will likely be in a hurry to rush out the door.
While there is no hard answer, as a general rule your survey shouldn’t take more than five minutes to finish. That means anywhere from four to nine questions is ideal. By keeping your questions simple, you’ll ensure that your guests can swiftly provide transformative feedback.
If you’re looking for ideas of questions or formats, using a restaurant comment card template is a good place to start.
Ask open-ended questions to get in-depth data
Open-ended questions cannot be answered with a simple yes/no, multiple choice answer, or by choosing a point on a number scale. Instead, they ask guests to write a response of their choice in a blank form, in their own words. By asking open-ended questions, you’ll gain insights into customers’ thoughts to find out if they are happy (or not) with various aspects of your restaurant.
To get inspiration for creating your survey questions, you can look at restaurant comment cards examples. To get started, here are a few open-ended questions you can ask:
Offer (but don’t force) a follow-up to ensure satisfaction
At the end of your feedback cards for restaurants, you can ask guests if they would like a follow-up once their suggestions have been implemented. Simply leave a voluntary section that asks for contact information such as name, phone number, and email.
For example, if a guest asks that your restaurant bathroom be cleaned more frequently, you can let them know if you improve your restaurant cleaning frequency to accommodate their request. This way, you can show that you are really listening to your guests and taking their opinions seriously.
By showing your dedication to your customers, they will feel important and empowered to continue helping your restaurant improve. Plus, with a restaurant that better fits their vision and needs, they will be more likely to recommend your restaurant to their friends and family.
Be honest when asking customers for details
A restaurant comment card is typically signed anonymously, but as mentioned, you can choose to give guests the option to provide personal contact information. When collecting information, remember to be transparent and let your guests know why. Honesty will increase trust between your restaurant and guests to create long-term loyalty.
For example, let guests know if you will be using their information for:
Following up with them to clarify details on their provided answers
Adding them to your email marketing newsletter or social media
Inviting them to VIP events or offering them special promotions
Overall, a restaurant comment card is an easy and cost-effective tool to gather your guests’ opinions and provide valuable feedback that can help you improve your restaurant customer experience. By listening to what your guests want, you can make changes that will increase your restaurant’s operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and boost customer loyalty.
Debra was a Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro, writing about the latest food and restaurant industry trends. In her spare time, Debra enjoys baking and eating together with family and friends.