We have previously presented and discussed the struggles within the restaurant sector, focusing on the high street chains. At the time, some of the biggest chains were reporting closures, profit losses and underwhelming performances with the trend having continued over the summer.
Just last month, the MCA launched The UK Restaurant Market Report 2018 looking at the size and growth within the sector. A major finding of this comprehensive insight into the industry was a significant growth within the branded restaurant sector; focusing on outlets like Ivy Grill and Shoryu Ramen and Cote all of which continue to grow and all of which have established solid brand campaigns and clear communication plans.
With such fierce competition in the restaurant industry, it is important to ensure stand-out by establishing strong customer ties and guaranteeing consistent and excellent customer service.
So how can restaurants stay ahead of the game by being aware of the ways in which customer trends are changing? And how can they keep engaging with their target consumer groups? Here are some tips to help.
- Ensure top quality food. Equip your kitchen with fresh and first quality products which your chef will use to create delicious and top rated dishes. Inform your customers of your products’ origin, storage conditions and healthy cooking conditions in your kitchen. For instance, FriPura allows chefs to fry food in a healthier manner and reduce the amount of calories and carcinogens so that it’s still the food that us Brits love but healthier and safer to eat.
- Customers matter. Their opinion and satisfaction is ever so important, they can make or break the name of your business. Engage and empower your service team by asking them how they believe they can best connect with customers. After all, they are the ones with the customer-facing role. Let them know they can decide to offer complimentary meals or drinks to a customer should they deem it necessary when something goes awry either with the food or service. Such a response from your team could ensure that initially dissatisfied customers leave feeling that they might at least return to your restaurant.
- Technology is your friend. In this day and age, the dishes you serve will probably end up on Instagram before the customer has the chance to tuck in. Bearing the power of social media in mind, you need to captivate and engage with the young, fast-moving, savvy diner who chose your restaurant to have a wonderful experience with a cashless exchange; whilst also demanding exceptional customer service… a hard but not impossible task. Get your website updated and invest in creating a downloadable app they can use to pay and leave reviews. Of course, as you must also cater for the more traditional customer, make sure your digital presence is clear and fully representative of your services.
The restaurant industry is a fascinating area to work in but just like any other business, you need to follow the market developments, keep abreast of any major issues and focus on the industry’s future outlook in order to stand out.
by Tony Crawley, director of of oil filter firm, FriPura