Why does the restaurant customer experience matter?

Understanding the significance of customer experience for attracting and retaining customers in the competitive restaurant industry

February 16, 2022
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Why does the restaurant customer experience matter?
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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. 

Learn how to incorporate personalization within your customer experience strategy to attract hungry passersby and keep them coming back for more.

What is customer experience for restaurants?

Customer experience refers to the ongoing relationship between your business and its patrons. The restaurant customer experience involves every interaction that goes on between your establishment and diners–from your Instagram ads targeting new customers, to your menus and mobile ordering, to your loyalty-focused email newsletters.

The difference between customer experience, customer service, and customer care

We mentioned that “customer experience” is the ongoing relationship you have with your customers. Customer service and customer care lay the foundation for that relationship. 

Customer service” refers to any form of assistance given to the customer while they interact with your business. In a restaurant, the goal of customer service is to ensure the customer receives everything they need to have an enjoyable meal and understand your restaurant brand as a whole. Whether in-person, in-app, or on the phone, customer service looks like:

  • Answering questions or offering help
  • Giving advice or recommendations
  • Accommodating preferences and substitutions

“Customer care” refers to the level of attention customers receive as they interact with your business. In a restaurant, the goal of customer care is to ensure the customer feels as though they are the top priority and that their needs are met earnestly. Customer care looks like:

  • Listening deeply to customers
  • Observing visual cues to anticipate arising needs
  • Asking questions
  • Understanding questions and frustrations
  • Responding with empathy, timeliness, and enthusiasm

Customer service and care are the building blocks of customer experience. In order for diners to have the absolute best customer experience with your business, they need to experience dependable service and exceptional care. 

Now that we know what the customer experience is, let’s discuss why it is so important to your business strategy.

Why is Customer Experience Important for Your Restaurant?

Like any relationship, the more you know about a person, the better you can anticipate their needs. Serving your customers needs—without prompting—is the surest way to create a faithful and trusting relationship with your guests for years to come. 

Plus, customer retention is more affordable than customer acquisition. 

Compared to new customers, repeat diners are more likely to spend more at your restaurant. If you want to offset your customer acquisition costs and become your diners’ go-to restaurant, a positive customer experience is crucial to securing their next reservation or walk-in. 

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.

Poor customer experiences have a profound, harmful effect on your reputation:

  • Guests who leave your restaurant after a negative encounter are 73% likely to tell their social circles about their experience. 
  • Compare that to satisfied guests, who are only 41% likely to share a positive opinion of your restaurant to their friends and family. 

Every encounter—in-house and out—has to create memorable experiences that focus on customer satisfaction while gracefully handling adversities. 

It’s no wonder restaurant behemoths like Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonalds lead the nation in customer loyalty: they invest in smoothening customer experience like it’s their religion. 

What creates a great customer experience? Customers flock back to these establishments time and time again because these restaurants have a grasp on how their customers F.E.E.E.L.

What Makes a Great Customer Experience?

The industry-standard customer experience is rooted in a tasty menu at impeccable value, an attentive staff, and clean facilities in a convenient location. Taking a page from Deloitte Labs consumer reports, we know that there are certain actions that restaurants can take to elevate the customer experience above “industry standard” and achieve meaningful customer loyalty. 

 *stats from lunchbox.io 2022 Industry Report and Deloitte Labs Consumer Reports

To learn more about how to can quickly and profitably apply the concepts of F.E.E.E.L. to your business, check out our article on how to improve customer experience in a restaurant, or get in touch with us below:

Learn more about Upside.

Why does the restaurant customer experience matter?

The Upside Team

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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