What makes your restaurant business different from others? If your answer is "good food", then you're just scratching the surface.

Yes, delicious food is absolutely important, but if you want to reach those sales targets, you need to walk the extra mile, by delivering an outstanding customer experience.

Here are the 4 ways to achieve to offer outstanding customer experience:

1. Understand your customers

There's something about your restaurant that appeals to a particular niche/s. Who are the people that visit your restaurant frequently? Here are some examples to facilitate the point:

  • Mothers in their 40's who have brunch after the gym
  • College students who don't have time to cook
  • Professionals in their late 20's who like socialising over lunch
  • Families who eats at a restaurant at least once a week

The first step to understanding your customers is knowing who they are. Once you know who the vast majority of your customers are, you can tailor your menu to offer items that would appeal to them.

Please note, that you could have several different niches of customers who adore your business - all of them are important and deserve your special attention.

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2. Handle disputes promptly and professionally

When a customer complains, try and take it as a chance to improve. A complaint is a chance to fix things instead of your customer staying silent and walking out and writing an angry review on your Google or Facebook page - which is certainly worse.

So how to handle disputes tactfully? Well, first of all, remain calm and don't react instantly. Sometimes, it's your fault, and sometimes, they're just having a bad day and taking it out on you - either way, you have to remain professional.

Although it seems like an obvious thing to do, many restaurant employees tend to forget their role and try to confront and even antagonise the customer. Please, just don't! Do your best to take your customers feedback onboard, let them know how you're going to fix the problem in future and reach an amicable solution for that particular customer in the moment.

(You might also like: 5 Buyer Behaviour Secrets to Grow Sales

3. Give them a reason to come back

"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%; they come for the second time and have a flawless experience, the statistical likelihood of a third visit is still 42%; the third time they come, the statistical likelihood of a fourth visit is over 70%."

- John Taffer, Entrepreneur

This quote says it all! It's crucial to give customers a reason to come back again and again. It takes at least three visits for them to become patrons and bring you a steady stream of revenue. So offer your customers a loyalty card, first-time discounts, or even a small gift (with your business's name on it, of course).


4. Offer more than expected

Imagine this: a customer is super hungry and goes out to eat on a fixed budget. But then, the waiter offers them a free dessert - how would they feel? Extremely delighted, right?

You might incur a loss of five to ten dollars for this, but you could gain a regular customer, who could bring in a few more with them the next time they visit - this is called "strategic giving".

It's not just the food, you should also offer a top-notch customer service and provide them with entertainment suitable for your typical customer.

This was just a taste! Keen to get down to the nitty-gritty of this article? Download our free guide now.Get the Guide to Growing Your Hospo Business

While you're here, why not take a look at our Comprehensive Guide? Or, check out our other content on hospitality staff or corporate social responsibility.

Editors note: blog content updated on April 22, 2020