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How do you engage, discuss and reassure your customers?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


The restaurant industry is a tough trading environment. Everyone knows it.

It's estimated that 60% of restaurants fail within the first three years of operation. After five years, the number could be as high as 75%.That’s a sobering thought for any business.But of course, we also know that if you can deliver the ‘right’ kind of restaurant then the financial rewards can be substantial- any large chain demonstrates this. You need to make sure people want to come back to your restaurant time and time again; that customers remember your business before they remember one of your competitors.

So how can you create this type of establishment?

You may think this is a huge task- one that takes maximum and constant effort. It’s true that to retain a reputation, you must work hard but in reality, if you get the foundations right then you are off to a great start- small steps really make all the difference. One of the key factors present in any successful restaurant is effective communication. This doesn't just mean a brief chat with your customers on arrival though- this a solid level of communication along every step of the dining journey. With up to 31% of all diners choosing a place to eat for being ‘friendly’, the importance of building this relationship becomes clear. Effective communication needs to take place in every single stage of the journey, from the head chef to the diner. The crux is this- If you can make a customer feel important and listened to then they are more likely to return. It is estimated that by the end of this year, UK diners will spend around £54.7bn on eating out, making 11bn visits to restaurants, pubs and other eateries. With figures like that floating around, the importance of getting it right is only too clear.

So what steps do you need to be considering?

We've detailed a list below of the factors that we feel really facilitate effective communication.

  • Asking diners to state their allergies or dietary needs at the booking stage. By doing this, you are not only ensuring that you can meet their dietary requirements to avoid disappointment when they arrive, but you are also showing interest in their dining experience.
  • Communicate information to the whole team. If your diners provide specific dietary information, then let the whole team know. If you can keep everyone up to speed with what your diners need- particularly your FOH staff- you are creating a team who can meet, greet and serve your diners will an informed, swift service that shows capability and knowledge
  • Use an app or tablet. If you can use an app for diners to access further dish information, including nutritional information, then you are putting them in control. By tapping into the information with either a menu code, or even having a tablet present, they can see what’s in their chosen dish before ordering. This offers an individual and empowering approach for your guests.
  • Engage with your diners after the meal - This is the one part of the dining experience that many establishments get wrong! When a customer leaves take notice, positively engage with them and ask how their meal was. This is particularly important if they had specific dietary requirements. Ask for feedback - ‘Did you enjoy our gluten free pizza?’ or even just a ‘I hope we made you feel safe dining us, but please let us know if there were any improvements we could make’. Not only does this show your diner that you care about their opinion and are sensitive to any particular diet, it gives you a great level of intel about the dishes you are providing. If your soya ice cream isn't up to that of your competitors, then it’s going to be your dairy-free customers who can tell you this!

The key is simple: Engage, discuss and reassure.At Kafoodle we know only too well the importance of consumer communications and have worked alongside renowned partners to ensure that our software meets these needs. One particular case where our focus was ensuring a clear system of communication was put in place for diners, was with The Piano Works. This fast-paced, live music venue were actively seeking a way to communicate their menu and allergen information to their diners, without interrupting the smooth delivery of service. We helped The Piano Works introduce the Kafoodle system into their establishment, making sure the customer could have the information readily available.And we had some great feedback….[Choosing Kafoodle] was about making it more accessible and easier for the customers, because we could have displayed it, but it was more in the hands of the customers to check. We offered them the app so they could check what they could and couldn’t have.’ [Paul Casey, Head Chef at The Piano Works]You can read more on this here. Using Kafoodle has meant the Piano Works can present 100% accurate nutritional and allergen information to their diners when they need it, providing a huge level of reassurance for those with specific dietary requirements in the easiest way possible.‘Kafoodle is good for the due diligence that you need to show; the information is at the customer’s’ fingertips; and I think it’s very user-friendly. With very reasonable pricing.’ [Tristan Moffat]You can find out more about what Kafoodle can do for you here or by contacting us directly at: or on 020 3371 0450

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