Some people have extremely close relationships with their local restaurant. They might pop round 2-3 times a week, stay for a quick one after the venue’s closed, and be the first to try the new wine, or dish of the week. Best of all, when friends ask for a recommendation, they’re sure to wax lyrical about their favourite venue. Happy customers spread the word, and word of mouth is key in hospitality.
That’s why it’s important to ensure every single person who comes to your venue feels as though they have an amazing relationship with you. We all know it’s impossible to remember every face that comes through the door, especially if you’re in a busy venue or operating at a fast-casual level.
Which is where your booking system comes in.
You may not have the memory of an elephant, but your booking system does. See how you can decipher exactly what your diner desires and give them exactly that, every time they visit, using the latest technology.
Whenever someone dines at your venue, most reservation systems will allow you to store information on them. If the guest informs you that they’re gluten free, you can enter this in their customer notes, or with ResDiary, tag them as such so you can report on it later.
Are they a bona fide celeb or a close friend of the owner? Mark them as a VIP and ensure that they get the service they deserve. Like a particular table? Pop that in their notes and your staff will always sit them correctly. If you have an EPOS integration, you can even look back on their previous visits and see how much they spent, what exactly they ordered, and even how they like their steak cooked. It means your guests can visit your venue, order a lovely fillet and be asked “medium/rare again sir?” – a definite wow factor.
Giving your customer exactly what they want, from knowing their allergies to making sure their favourite bottle of white is chilled, is a sure-fire way to keep them coming back and your reservation system knows exactly how to do that.
After they've gone
One way to find out what your diner desires is simply to ask them. Sending out a post-dining email is a great way to get honest feedback from diners on their visit. Because you are only sending these to people who have visited your venue, there’s no chance of your reviews being intercepted by competitors or ex-staff with a grudge. Finding out what customers liked and disliked about their visit is a great way to see what you are doing well and what you could work on. You might think your service is top notch but if you have 20 reviews saying otherwise, it gives you an area you can work on.
Added to this, with ResDiary reviews, you can pinpoint exactly when a guest dined and check their diner notes to see if there were any issues. Perfect for looking out for trends and similarities in poor or great service.
Go big or go home
Another way to find out exactly what diners desire and therefore improve your profits is to take a look at the bigger picture. Are there obvious trends in when you’re quiet? Do certain dishes do amazingly in winter but terribly in summer? It’s the current media buzzword right now, but big data can help your business in a big way.
Both your EPOS and your booking system will usually be able to track when you sell your tables and what you actually sell.
In ResDiary, our reporting feature will let you know what times of the day, days of the week, and weeks of the year are busy. You can take this information and use it to plan ahead. Are Wednesdays extra quiet? Why not do a pre-theatre menu and sell it using the ResDiary Off-Peak feature? Perhaps you mostly sell big tables at the weekend but actually, you’d prefer to sell twos and turn a bigger profit? Use ResDiary’s Yield Management feature to push bigger parties to the start and end of the evening, and fill your busy 7-8pm slots with smaller tables that you can turn quicker.
Another way you can decipher your diner’s desires is by looking at how your customers are tagged. In ResDiary you can pull reports of how many people are tagged under certain terms like vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. If a large amount of guests have a vegan tag, it might be worth overhauling a section of your menu to cater for them. If you have many gluten-free eaters come to your restaurant, a gluten-free tasting evening could be a great earner and a fantastic way to ingratiate yourself with these diners.
Our partner EPOS, Tevalis, can compare how different dishes are selling across the year. Salads selling amazingly May – August but you only have two on the menu? Why not release a summer menu and capitalise on those extra summer sales?
Big data is a huge hospitality trend right now and, with the growth of technology, is due to become even more so. Should desire and Data mix? It might not have worked on Star Trek but it does in the restaurant industry. Use your data and ensure you are looking after your guest’s every desire.