A restaurant’s brand is no longer just the food and the rock star chef. Today’s guests expect to create memories every time they eat out, and restaurants must provide every visitor with a personalised experience that keeps them coming back. The world’s best restaurants are adopting new technology that gives them actionable insights about their guests and business. While technology can’t replace a manager or waiter with years of experience and relationships with guests, it can help your team improve the quality of the guest experience, especially when it comes to personalisation and familiarity.
What is guest experience?
Guest experience is the interaction between the restaurant, pub or bar and its guests. It’s a combination of the restaurant’s reservation flow, communication (from booking to post-visit), food and drink choices, physical space, the senses it might stimulate and the feeling it gives.
All of these are measured against a guest’s expectations.
When a guest expects a memorable experience and they get one, the overall experience is positive and you start building a relationship and loyalty. When the experience doesn’t match expectations, you lose a customer.
“The more insights we can gather on our guests, the more of a personalised service we can provide.”— Tomás Gormley | Heron in Edinburgh, Scotland
Creating and maintaining a relationship is crucial for a successful restaurant. Why?
Today, the guest experience starts before the guest enters your restaurant. It starts from the moment they search on Instagram and book a table, and it continues through to when they tell others about their experience.
Increasing guest satisfaction is directly connected with business performance. A great experience increases guest satisfaction and the likelihood of that customer coming back. That, in turn, increases your revenue and generates marketing for your business.
- 60% of guests with a positive experience will visit your restaurant again. = More loyal guests
- 39% are likely to spend more on a personalised experience and +30% more than the average guest. = More revenue per guest
- 41% will tell friends and family about a great experience. = Increase in restaurant awareness and word of mouth
“Personalising our diners’ visits through Superb is a nice touch. Simple things, like knowing a customer’s dietary requirements before they arrive or sending confirmation emails ahead of a booking can ensure the overall experience feels more tailored to the individual.” — Jordan Bailey | Aimsir in Kildare, Ireland
Repetition is key
Studies show that bringing in repeat business contributes more to your bottom line than attracting new guests.
In Deloitte’s ‘Through Guests’ Eyes’, you see the revenue-generating power of a returning guest who enjoyed the guest experience at your restaurant. 60% will return, 39% will spend more and 41% will recommend the restaurant to friends and family.
This word-of-mouth advertising is priceless to premium restaurants that rely on referrals for recognition.
To keep guests returning, restaurants must use data on diners’ habits, likes, dislikes, and even special dates and anniversaries to personalise the guest experience.
Often, this data is in multiple locations, and sometimes even in the restaurant manager’s head, making it impossible for other team members to access and forcing your managers to wear multiple hats to ensure smooth steps of service.
With Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform (GXM), every member of your team will have access to the same information. Your restaurant manager can focus on other tasks without worrying that a VIP customer won’t be greeted by name or offered their favourite wine.
“Superb gives us, in advance, all dietary advice and needs of each customer. With only one chef, he has the time to plan and make the arrangements needed. With a small staff and small menu that relies on local, seasonal goods, advanced notice is vital to us providing a top-class experience.” — Nick Fenton | Henne in Moreton-in-Marsh, UK
The first impression is essential
When does the guest experience begin? Sooner than you think. Restaurants should think about the journey they want customers to go on — what story are you trying to tell? From start to finish.
Let the first impression be as amazing as the feeling they have when they leave your restaurant by making reservations a part of the guest experience. An experience that matches the identity of your restaurant without compromising on quality.
According to Jon Taffer, “If somebody goes to a restaurant for the first time and has a flawless experience, the statistical likelihood of them doing a second visit is about 40%.
The second time a customer comes and has a flawless experience, The statistical likelihood of a third visit is still about 42%. The third time they come, the statistical likelihood of a fourth visit is over 70%. You have to market to three visits, not one. This is the part everyone misses!”
How can your restaurant make a great first impression? Create compelling content across your social media channels and offer guests a reservation experience that’s easy to use, works across devices and aligns with the identity of your restaurant.
It matters more than accolades, stars and rewards
AAA uses diamonds to rate restaurants, Gambero Rosso uses forks, San Pellegrino makes a list of 50, Michelin uses stars (and doesn’t consider service), Gault Millau hands out points, Automobile Association throws rosettes, and who knows what’s really behind the minds of online reviews.
But there’s one thing that won’t change — the passion you put into creating the guest experience at your restaurant.
We understand that a rating system is an important measure of success within the industry. But at what cost? If you find yourself chasing stars, forks and rosettes instead of focusing on the people sitting at your tables… there’s an issue.
Experience matters. For your guests and your motivation.
How do you manage the guest experience?
Today’s restaurants need to analyse all aspects of the business, from menu item probability and table seating configuration to staff productivity.
Restaurants work tirelessly to improve guest satisfaction. Any technology that helps to better manage and improve guest relationships is money well spent.
When it comes to a restaurant technology investment, there are 2 main objectives.
The first is to streamline operations. Here, the goal is to increase staff productivity, improve process efficiency and reduce waste, resulting in cost savings.
The second is to enhance the quality of the guest experience, leading to increased satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy and increased revenue.
According to Restaurant Technology News, 83% of restaurants rank the need to gain access to data and business insights — available anytime on any device — as an important or very important success factor.
How do you choose the best platform to manage your restaurant? Here are some of the values worth considering:
- Guest experience capabilities. Choose a platform that gives you access and ownership of guest data.
- Flexibility and customisation. No one eatery is the same. Go with a platform that lets you customise its offerings to fit your business.
- User-friendly interface. Think about how your team will use the platform? Will they benefit from an app on the go? Select a platform that’s easy to learn and provides resources to train new team members.
- Centralise your data. Collect all guest insights in one platform without third-party plugins and systems.
- Training and support. Choose a platform that offers localised customer support as a standard feature, not an add-on.
- Increase revenue. Your restaurant management platform should help you with table turn rates, staff productivity, and provide you with multiple revenue streams like tickets, events and gift cards.
- Reduce costs. From food order time, inventory, payment processing time and no-show protection, go with a platform that helps your restaurant reduce your costs without sacrificing the guest experience.
The future of the guest experience with Superb’s GXM platform
“Before Superb, we used a variety of different products and services that Superb has combined into one neat package. Not only does Superb’s system save us time and money, but they help us offer personalised experiences in an unobtrusive way that benefits both the restaurant and the guest.” — Tomás Gormley | Heron in Edinburgh, Scotland
If you’re like most restaurants and pubs, you’re probably using multiple platforms and extra manpower to handle each interaction with your diners — one for taking reservations, one for communicating with and storing details about your guests, another platform for branding and marketing, and yet another separate POS to accept payments.
These separate, individual systems often can’t integrate, causing valuable insights about the guest and business performance to fall between the digital sofa cushions.
This makes it difficult to obtain and communicate essential insights about your guests to your team, making it a time-consuming task to ensure every diner gets an unforgettable guest experience.
You spend more time trying to control multiple systems and less time working with what you’re passionate about — providing one-of-a-kind experiences.
The new generation of restaurants is starting to abandon their outdated methods and adopt platforms with next-generation technology.
Superb’s Guest Experience Management (GXM) platform provides restaurants with one single platform with all the tools needed to run and market a successful restaurant.
One platform optimised to collect, analyse, and present insights about your diners and business quickly and understandably for any employee working in your restaurant.
GXM takes the guesswork out of running your restaurant by automating key processes and allowing you to collect, store and access insights about guests and your business, and it gives you the freedom to focus on your passion and provide every guest with a personalised guest experience.
What makes a great guest experience in a restaurant? Your passion is what ultimately makes a great experience.
When you’re passionate, you put energy into making sure each customer receives more than just a delicious plate of food — you make sure they feel welcomed, inspired and excited for their next visit.
With Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform (GXM), your team will have everything it needs to run your restaurant and the insights and data to take action, provide great guest experiences and build guest relationships.
But the emotion and the passion behind the experience… that’s still up to you.
Article Written by Paul Duffy, Head of Sales at Superb