Whether your restaurant is just starting out or a local icon, reviews and customer feedback are essential in helping your restaurant improve its services and offerings. If you find customer feedback lacking, there are a number of ways you can encourage guests to let you know how you are doing.
Ask Guests For Feedback
Asking your guests is an easy, direct way to get feedback at your restaurant. As manager, stop by tables every so often to ask guests how they are doing. If guests don’t offer feedback or answer with a simple “good,” avoid becoming frustrated. Many people are simply uncomfortable stating their opinions directly to you.
If you already have a feedback system in place, like comment cards or an official Yelp page, mention these to guests and how much their opinion means to you.
Offering rewards for feedback can be a very effective way to encourage guests to leave feedback, be it positive or negative.
A modern cloud-based point-of-sale system with tableside capabilities can make leaving feedback simple for guests as they check out. If you have a loyalty program, give guests the option to opt into it when they leave feedback.
Remember, you are not buying positive reviews! Be careful here, as you don’t want to appear to be incentivizing 5-star reviews, a practice which is discouraged on review sites like Yelp.
If you are uncomfortable offering rewards for reviews, simply acknowledging feedback on social media is often enough to make guests feel like their voice is being heard.
Take Advantage Of Social Media
Since a majority of people have a social media profile on sites like Facebook, social media is an excellent way to encourage feedback.
Post graphics and other marketing material encouraging reviews. For example, if you had a special event like Valentine’s Day dinner, ask guests to post about their experience.
Offer Comment Cards
Offering comment cards can encourage guests to rate their experience and voice concerns in an organized and efficient way — especially if they prefer remaining under the radar as opposed to blasting opinions on social media or they are shy about voicing their complaints out loud.
Keep the questions short and to the point, asking guests to rate questions on a scale from unacceptable to excellent on areas like:
- Their server
- Food quality
- Speed of service
- Cleanliness of areas like the dining room and bathroom
Include options for guest to put in their name and contact information as well as additional comments they may have. If you have a mailing list or rewards program, have in opt-in box they can check if they wish to join.
Training servers to bring attention to these cards when they bring them with the check will help improve the number that are filled out.
Respond To Poor Feedback With Grace
No one likes poor feedback, but it is inevitable. If you receive negative reviews, earned or not, take the high road — especially if it is on a public forum like Yelp or Facebook.
Thank them for their review and offer to make things right. For example, if their order came out wrong and was not corrected, offer a refund or a complimentary meal on the house as an apology.
Let Your Cloud POS System Help Manage Customer Data
With a reliable cloud POS system like Toast POS for Android or MobileBytes for iPad, you can easily and securely manage customer data. This type of system is essential in your loyalty program and for reviewing order history.
It is also a boon in helping your staff discern false feedback from people who have not been to your restaurant before seeking a discount. If you receive a review that is suspect, check the name against your CRM system to verify the review.
Lacking restaurant reviews can be just as detrimental as having many negative reviews, which is why you should always be looking for ways to increase customer feedback. Besides, it may help you to learn areas you can improve to give your customers the best possible dining experience.