The Ultimate Guide to Customer Experience for Restaurants

Winning customers in today’s competitive environment starts with a strong customer experience strategy. 

Whether you’re a large chain restaurant or mom-and-pop shop, even small changes to customer experience can make a big difference for bottom-line profit. 

This Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Customer Experience is a three-part series that breaks down exactly how to get started, and introduces the F.E.E.E.L framework to structure your strategy. 

  1. Why Does the Restaurant Customer Experience Matter?
  2. How to Improve Customer Experience in a Restaurant
  3. Personalized Customer Experience: How Industry Leaders Create Loyal Customers

Here’s what you can expect. 

Why Does the Restaurant Customer Experience Matter?

An exciting menu isn’t enough to bring in new customers and keep them coming back. These days, growing your customer base is about a stellar customer experience and convincing diners and onlookers that your restaurant gives them everything they want and need. 

Do Customer Experience, Customer Service, and Customer Care all sound the same? Knowing the difference can make all the difference for your business. 

Customer service and care are the building blocks of customer experience. 

According to a socially and economically diverse patron study by Deloitte, all restaurant guests have almost identical reactions to the way their restaurant customer experiences unfold. Guests who leave your restaurant unhappy are more likely to tell their social circles (73%) about their experience than those who leave satisfied (41%). 

Every encounter—in-house and out—has to create memorable experiences that focus on customer satisfaction while gracefully handling adversities. And we know that customer retention is more affordable than customer acquisition. 

Click into this article to learn about the F.E.E.E.L framework – an easy-to-use tool that can help set you on the path to success.

How to Improve Customer Experience in a Restaurant

It’s fairly intuitive to say that you should focus on how customers F.E.E.E.L — Familiarize, Engage, Empower, Enchant, and Listen  — to improve their experience. 

What does that look like in practice? We break down each component of F.E.E.E.L to make your strategy easy. 

The common theme through all of these tactics is personalization. Instead of grouping or segmenting customers based on factories like spend or gender, focus on wow-ing first-time customers and keep the ball rolling by treating each customer like the individual they are. 

Like every industry, restaurant owners must now operate through the omnichannel to reach new customers. This means leveraging data and technology to convince customers at every stage of their customer experience journey that your restaurant has everything they want and need.

This sounds out of reach with labor shortages and ever-increasing supply chain costs. But there is a way to do this efficiently and profitably. Small and mid-size restaurants don’t have to overspend on big data to make this work for their business. They can bring in new customers with a personalized experience using data they already have.

​​Not only do Upside’s personalized, margin-bound promotions persuade hungry customers to choose you, but the GetUpide platform takes care of every part of F.E.E.E.L. And it’s guaranteed to be profitable. 

Learn how to put our F.E.E.E.L framework into practice – without breaking the bank – and how to tell if your customer experience strategy is working.

Personalized Customer Experience: How Industry Leaders Create Loyal Customers

Behemoths like Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonalds lead the nation in customer loyalty. 

Since the need for social distancing sparked a convenience revolution, catering to the modern customer has pushed the customer experience digital. Restaurant giants have invested in digital hardware, mobile apps, and customer relation software that serve customers conveniently and seamlessly.

In one form or another, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A, and McDonald’s have all added digital hardware that simplifies their walk-in diner’s experience. These tools create an atmosphere of comfort; each enabling diners in one way or another to receive their food quickly, safely, and according to their specifications.

These top-3ers also know that their customers have a lot of options, so each has integrated their restaurant into engaging mobile apps. Within these apps, they’ve included a number of ways to drive engagement with loyalty programming, like gamifying orders and providing exclusive access to benefits. 

When you’re a multi-billion dollar business in a fast-paced industry, every step counts or costs. What these top 3 restaurants have in common is that they are always investing in ways to deepen customer loyalty with personalization. They work to bring news customers through their doors, whether that means going in-app for a new menu drop, getting sundae kit deliveries, or checking-in mobile orders at the drive thru.

Many of these strategies require substantial financial investment. But smaller restaurant owners can innovate their customer loyalty strategy without this kind of capital investment. 

Upside is the most profitable tool that works to give your business the same level of personalization as our top three loyalty leaders.  

Click to read how we can help you stay in league with these giants, no matter your size.

Learn more about how Upside can help.