Know-how is cool, however visitors nonetheless need a human contact
Over time, most restaurant ideas, from quick-service eating places (QSRs) to conventional sit-down institutions, have benefited from together with a human aspect to their service. That’s nonetheless very a lot the case at this time, even with the rising use of automated techniques and know-how within the restaurant business. Nonetheless, you will need to keep in mind that the sudden rise in automation and high-tech techniques was spurred by circumstances, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. When not underneath the restrictions of a pandemic, many purchasers point out they nonetheless worth having a private, human contact of their shopper providers.
Of all of the restaurant ideas, QSRs had been one which flourished throughout the pandemic, with their skill to adapt shortly to buyer wants, like contactless choose up and on-line ordering. Market consultants report the typical QSR at this time has six to seven particular person technological techniques to deal with their buyer orders. Nonetheless, with lots of the pandemic restrictions lifted — like constructing occupation limits and public gathering restrictions — some persons are returning to earlier shopping for habits and repair expectations.
In line with shopper research, 59 % of shoppers surveyed stated they really feel like corporations have misplaced contact with the human aspect of their providers. A 3rd of these surveyed stated essentially the most irritating factor they discovered about trendy customer support is the shortage of human contact, and 75 % stated they like talking with an individual as a substitute of utilizing an automatic system of their buyer expertise.
Whereas know-how might help cut back labor prices and guarantee effectivity with processing orders, the financial savings and velocity could also be outweighed if individuals discover an automatic restaurant expertise unsatisfying. Buyer satisfaction is a crucial a part of having a profitable restaurant. Clients can and can communicate to different individuals, and it might probably take a number of good evaluations to outweigh a unfavorable one.
The pandemic accelerated the implementation of know-how within the restaurant enterprise mannequin, benefitting house owners financially and in time financial savings. However the results of this rush to adapt may result in an over-reliance on know-how and the elimination of customer support touchpoints. These touchpoints are necessary for constructing rapport with the patron and long-term relationships past a transactional method. Restaurant operators should make sure the human aspect is delivered alongside the efficiencies of high-tech service.
When you shouldn’t fully throw out the know-how you’ve added to your restaurant, you must also proceed to spend money on the human components of your service the place these touchpoints nonetheless exist. Whether or not that’s the worker accepting orders, the one bringing the shopper their meals for pick-up, or the supply particular person taking it to their house, you need to make the private interplay with the shopper memorable.
Whenever you prepare your workers who work together immediately together with your prospects, don’t assume they already know how you can present good customer support. Ensure that they’re attentive to the shopper and use constructive language (like suggesting an alternate if a buyer orders one thing that isn’t out there). They need to look ahead to buyer physique language, whereas being conscious of their very own physique language. Make the most of know-how to coach and prep workers with FAQs prospects ask and greatest practices for dealing with disgruntled prospects. Lastly, empower them to make judgement calls like offering a free dessert or a present certificates to fulfill a displeased buyer.
Buyer satisfaction surveys are a great way to find out whether or not sure methods are efficient or not. If you wish to know the place your restaurant would higher be served with an individual offering the service as a substitute of a kiosk or different technological system, attempt holding buyer surveys to see the place your prospects are glad and the place they see a necessity for enchancment. You should definitely embody age demographics in your surveys, as this may assist you recognize which prospects are extra possible to make use of which providers. Whereas GenZ is kind of snug studying a menu on their cellphone from a QR code, a child boomer might wrestle to learn the font and keep away from your restaurant reasonably than attempt to flag somebody down for a menu.
Whenever you spend money on new know-how, high quality testing is necessary. Be sure to take a look at your new techniques throughout various buyer age teams, since many occasions older prospects are inclined to choose extra human interplay than automated when going to a restaurant. Simple consumer interfaces are necessary since prospects don’t need to hunt for his or her objects to order or to test on the standing of a supply. Lastly, be certain that your techniques match the sort of mannequin your restaurant makes use of. Utilizing ordering kiosks might not match a conventional sit-down restaurant.
It is a good suggestion to undergo your restaurant’s complete buyer expertise personally or have somebody provide you with a report on your complete expertise from arrival to departure, or from ordering to choose up. Doing so will allow you to get a full-picture view of how all of the components of your prospects’ expertise match collectively. This can be a good method to decide the place you possibly can add human components if there weren’t any earlier than or present a human choice to a technological one.
Lastly, focus teams are good methods to guage your buyer base’s satisfaction and listen to about the place totally different demographics want to see adjustments. It’s necessary to incorporate group members from quite a lot of demographics, in an effort to get an efficient cross part of your prospects. You should definitely bear in mind, nonetheless, that not all demographics can be unfold evenly all through your buyer base. Don’t depart anybody out however bear in mind to maintain your largest supporters in thoughts.
The restaurant business has undergone many speedy adjustments within the final a number of years, notably with the adoption of latest know-how. Now that markets are getting nearer to pre-pandemic circumstances, prospects are discovering they miss the human aspect that was misplaced throughout the interval when everyone needed to apply social distancing. Ensure that your restaurant gives prospects with the precise stability of know-how and human interplay. If you happen to do, then you definitely’ll quickly have a loyal buyer base that comes again for extra.
Robin Gagnon is the CEO and Co-Founding father of We Promote Eating places, the nation’s largest restaurant brokerage agency and the one enterprise dealer franchise specializing in restaurant gross sales.