It"s Not All In the Food: Increasing Customer Loyalty

There are many factors that will convince a customer whether or not to return to a restaurant.
The weight does not lie solely in the food.
A recent survey found that the top reasons for choosing to stay away from a restaurant included an all-round dirty feel, unpleasant smells, and bad customer service.
In other words, the main factors that can hurt or help a business' customer base are restaurant ambience and customer service.
A business should, therefore, make the upholding of a good atmosphere and great service in their restaurant, a top priority.
The best way to create a nice restaurant ambience is to focus on cleanliness.
Having adequate janitorial supplies on hand, and hiring efficient staff will ensure a level of cleanliness that will satisfy customers and help them feel comfortable about eating the food.
In Anthony Bourdain's book, Kitchen Confidential, he explains the importance of cleanliness in a restaurant bathroom: "I won't eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms.
This isn't a hard call.
They let you see the bathrooms.
If the restaurant can't be bothered to replace the puck in the urinal or keep the toilets and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like.
Bathrooms are relatively easy to clean.
Kitchens are not.
" Letter grades given to food businesses by the state health departments help create transparency of the restaurant's cleanliness standards for customers.
A business should strive for an "A" grade, as anything less can repel customers.
The specific requirements for the different letter grades vary by state.
Having a theme of décor can create a restaurant ambience that is one step up from simply a "clean restaurant" A rustic, hip, or luxury feel can bring customers whom are seeking a specific dining environment.
Aside from the appearance of a restaurant, great customer service is a sure way to draw customers back.
Staff training for the best possible customer service levels is a great investment for a business.
There should be a focus on friendliness and attentiveness.
"The customer is always right" is the most commonly accepted mantra in customer service.
When a customer is doted upon, he/she will usually be more satisfied with the overall dining experience, and be more likely to return.
Waiters training can also include factors that enforce the overall ambience of the restaurant.
Specific guidelines on how to set the tables (making sure the utensils and dishes are clean and the tablecloths are straight, for example), how often to check up on a table of diners, how to react to unhappy customers, and how to recommend the most profitable dishes on the menu to customers, should be made clear to the entire restaurant staff.
By sticking to a code of discipline and expectation of standards from all restaurant staff, a restaurant's business, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction will increase.
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