Have you ever had a restaurant audit? Aaron Allen & Associates have written a great article on some of the top mistakes and missed opportunities in the day to day running of a restaurant. They conduct 100s of restaurant audits each year and see the same issues crop up time and time again, so they know their stuff.

Here are some of my favourites on the list that cover restaurant service mistakes and missed marketing opportunities.

Service

“Number 2: Greeting with “May I help you?” – I often respond “uh, yes, I would like a haircut please” to this”

Obvious, but very true. Think about how conversation works, although this feels like a natural way to welcome someone in a semi- formal manner, it demands an obvious answer; they’re in your restaurant, they’re obviously looking to dine!

Instead, give the customer a warm welcome and then ask them if they’re looking for a table of 2 or expecting more people, for example.

If you want to make super sure you’re staff are greeting your customers properly, write a note to remind on simpleERB. You can set up a message that staff see every time they take a booking.

“Number 9: Failing to recommend a favorite or popular item”

Your staff should know what dishes have been getting rave reviews, what’s the most popular dish that day, if the special is proving really popular – this is all information that should be communicated to your customers.

When a customer is presented with a menu, it can sometimes be an overload of information, staff helping highlight popular dishes helps them filter through it and provides a valuable insight.

What’s more, if the customer is a regular you can record within simpleERB when they make their booking, their preferences and likes/dislikes. This information is then available to anyone who takes the booking and serves them in the future. For instance, if it’s recorded in simpleERB that the customer is a big seafood fan, you could point out new seafood dishes on the menu.

Marketing

“Number 67: Website is deficient or an afterthought (33% of customers visit website before choosing a restaurant to go to for the first time)”

Can’t agree with this more. As 1,000s of people have said before me, your website is your online shopfront. People will judge your business by it and choose whether to spend their money with you or somewhere else so it needs to be up to scratch.

Does your website take online booking? You need to capture people at the website level and make it easy to book from there. simpleERB gives you a widget to add to you website allowing you take restaurant bookings that will then go straight into your restaurant diary.

“Number 70: Programs to build customer database absent or lacking – don’t know who their customers are”

“Knowing” your customers harks back to my point above; simpleERB acts as a CRM system for your restaurant. It lets you save the diner’s contact details, including their email address, their preferences, whether their a VIP, friend of the owner, etc., how many times they’ve dined before and so on. This means that whenever anyone takes a booking, even if that server has never met that particular customer before, they know their history.

What this also means is that you can use your customer database within simpleERB to market to your customers in the future. simpleERB records and stores their email address, have you every thought about sending your customers an email to drive future revenue?

Read Aaron Allen & Associates original article and full list of 80 here – are you guilty of any of them?

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