Measuring customer satisfaction.
One thing restaurants cannot do, no matter how hard they try, is force people to come in and eat.
The competition between restaurants, particularly in busy cities, is fierce, and often, restaurants are a luxury that people can choose to enjoy, or very easily survive without.
So to get people through your door, and even more importantly, to get them to come back, you have to make sure you are satisfying your clientele.
Nigel Hill, founder of The Leader Factor, a company specialising in measuring and improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, has this advice.
? Be proactive.
Scattered cards asking for feedback will be largely ignored, and the minority who do use them will not be representative.
Persuade as many guests as you can for a week to fill them in and you'll have a much better idea what your customers really think.
? Ask the right questions. Invest some time finding out what is important to them.
Invite guests to a cutprice evening where you can discuss what they want to see in your restaurant.
? Try to influence customers' responses.
A waiter hovering over them will defeat the object, and avoiding critical responses will impede how useful it can be.
? Ask double questions: "was your waitress helpful and friendly?" She might be one or the other.
? Avoid the obvious.
"Was the food good?" gets to the point.