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By Katherine Pendrill
What is it they say about the extra mile? It’s never crowded. As a restaurateur, providing standout customer service is an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition. But don’t simply guess what your customers want – go straight to the source by asking restaurant survey questions that’ll help you get the information you need to wow your guests.
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax in many parts of the world, there’s no better time to make your restaurant a fan-favorite among customers new and old.
Creating a restaurant questionnaire can help you gain valuable insight into what makes your guests tick, including what menu items they’re buying, what kinds of promotions they respond to, and more – information that can inform key business decisions and enable you to dish out delightful service.
In this guide to restaurant survey questions, we’ll cover:
It’s time to do your best sleuthing.
You can serve the tastiest food around, but if your restaurant customer service is lacking, your reputation – and your sales – will suffer. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid this scenario by staying in tune with your customers’ preferences and concerns through frequent restaurant surveys.
Below, we dive into four of the biggest benefits of restaurants’ surveys.
Restaurant customer satisfaction surveys can provide you with pure gold in the form of insights into what your restaurant is doing well and what you could improve upon.
Considering that 58% of consumers will never do business with a company again after just one bad experience, you need to know where your restaurant falls short so you can quickly address any issues that may be holding your revenue potential back.
Watch for common themes in the customer feedback you receive from your restaurant survey questions. This information will give you an idea of which issues to tackle first.
Even if your restaurant is doing well, you can always shoot for the moon. Conducting restaurant questionnaires enables you to figure out what you can do to offer a better, more memorable customer experience than you already deliver. Nearly 95% of U.S. consumers will recommend a business whose service they consider “very good”, so it pays off to impress your guests.
Restaurant surveys also reduce your risk of getting blasted with negative reviews, which can prevent 40% of customers from wanting to spend money at your restaurant.
Your guests want to know that you have their best interests in mind, and the act of sending a survey can signal that you take their feedback seriously. Surveys are also a great opportunity for you to engage directly with your guests and thank them for dining at your restaurant.
Not to mention, taking the time to build strong customer relationships can help your restaurant save money and grow your revenue at the same time. Acquiring new customers costs 5 times as much as keeping current ones and highly engaged customers spend 60% more per transaction, meaning loyal customers are very important to your bottom line.
In the same way restaurant questionnaires can help you pinpoint pressing problems, they can also enable you to spot trends and respond quickly. When combing through survey data, you might notice shifts in customer behavior or preferences that can help you stay ahead of the curve in your industry.
Are you getting lots of feedback that a particular entree would be better with a certain topping? Give the people what they want and try it out! Is a new cocktail making waves in a trendsetting city and popping up in your guests’ survey responses? Ask your bartender to work their magic.
Let’s face it – your customers are busy. It’s simply not practical to ask diners for feedback face to face and run through a bunch of restaurant survey questions at the table with them. Interrupting a date with a restaurant questionnaire? That’s just awkward.
In the age of COVID-19, consumers are getting increasingly used to doing business online, which makes digital questionnaires an excellent option for your restaurant’s surveys. Here are a few ways you can use technology to reach your guests.
We’re all guilty of rushing to end a phone call as soon as we find out that the person on the other end of the line wants to conduct a survey. A more modern, effective way of asking restaurant survey questions is by sending your customers text messages. This approach has the highest response rate of any survey method, at 40%.
Nowadays, people spend a ton of time in their email inboxes, so you can also try emailing your guests a restaurant questionnaire. Expect a response rate of 25% if you’re using this method.
Reservations software has become even more important since the COVID-19 pandemic as restaurateurs are keeping their eye on capacity limits regularly. If you have a platform like TouchBistro Reservations, you can make it easy for your guests to provide feedback after each and every visit. After booking a reservation and dining at your restaurant, a feedback email will automatically be sent to guests to find out what they thought about their experience – just set it and forget it!
Using a restaurant app like TouchBistro’s Customer Web App (which runs directly in a browser and doesn’t require a download) is a smart way to communicate with your customers anywhere, anytime. You can use in-app messaging to share your restaurant survey questions with your guests and thank them personally for taking the time to respond.
This tactic is a win-win for you, because you’ll have direct contact with your customers, and research shows that in-app messaging quadruples app retention among users.
A restaurant loyalty program can be a powerful tool for your business and can encourage your guests to spend 20% more than they would if they weren’t part of the program. In most cases, you can also gather feedback on restaurant survey questions through your loyalty program.
With a reward program like TouchBistro Loyalty, you can create exclusive offers for your biggest fans and provide incentives to these customers for filling out restaurant questionnaires. Another bonus? This product works seamlessly with your TouchBistro POS, so you have access to a wealth of customer data, all in one place.
Drive guests to your restaurant’s website to fill out a customer satisfaction survey created using a free tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. If you’re using this method, you’ll need to alert your guests to the form’s existence, either by letting them know about the restaurant questionnaire while they’re dining with you or by promoting it on social media, for example. Make sure the form is easy to find on your website.
You’re now up to speed on the importance of asking restaurant survey questions to improve customer experience and retention. But, before you get to work crafting your restaurant questionnaire, you need to know what questions to ask in a restaurant survey to ensure you’ll get the most helpful feedback possible.
Here are a few categories of restaurant survey questions you can use for your next customer satisfaction survey. Keep in mind that it’s best to limit open-ended questions on surveys (for example, “What did you think of our restaurant?”). Instead, provide multiple choice answers (such as “excellent”, “good”, “poor”, etc.) for the questions that ask customers to rate a specific aspect of your restaurant.
General questions help you gather information about your customers, how they heard about you, and their opinion on the basics of your restaurant.
Food and drink questions provide you with critical insight into whether your cuisine is hitting the mark with your customers – from presentation to price.
Customer service survey questions enable you to understand what impression your team is leaving on your guests, and how well staff are representing your restaurant’s brand.
Facilities questions allow you to find out what your customers think of the overall physical space of your restaurant.
Technology and equipment questions help you gain visibility into how easy (or difficult) your technology is to use. This can include questions about your online ordering system, your reservations system, and more.
Acting on the information you gather from your guests is just as important as knowing what questions to ask in a restaurant survey. More than 50% of consumers report that their customer service expectations have increased over the past year, so don’t just let the data you collect go unused – put it to work!
Once you’ve received all of the feedback from your restaurant’s survey, your next step is to comb through it, group it into categories, and implement changes as you see fit. Remember to watch for common themes in your customers’ responses to give you a sense of which items you should prioritize.
Finally, don’t forget to let your guests know about the changes you’ve made as a result of your restaurant’s survey. This will show them that you take their feedback seriously and you’re committed to serving them better.
Cheers to your continued success!
Katherine is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, where she writes about trending topics in food and restaurants. The opposite of a picky eater, she’ll try (almost) anything at least once. Whether it’s chowing down on camel burgers in Morocco or snacking on octopus dumplings in Japan, she’s always up for new food experiences.
By Dana Krook
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