There’s absolutely no doubt that the experience of eating out has gained as much importance as the food. This is an obvious statement in the current market, however, it holds even more importance in the run-up to the festive season. Dishes are still significant, but today’s diners are taking in every last detail – the décor, the atmosphere and the service.
With this in mind, and with Christmas only weeks away, I’ve been thinking about how operators can be upping their technology game to ensure the experience is slicker than ever during these busier months. Here are three ways to ensure Christmas is a cracker:
Banish the queues
Instead of making customers wait in a long, tedious queue, create an invisible one instead. Diners would much prefer to wait at the bar or nearby, especially during the festive season when time is precious. Utilising customer paging solutions gives diners the freedom to wait where they wish while reducing congestion.
And at this time of year, often restaurants can find themselves short-staffed. This can mean there may not always be someone available in front of house to seat and serve customers as soon as they arrive and, as a result, queues increase.
Using technology on arrival – think call buttons or something similar – will not only ensure prompt service, but will also help reduce customer wait times and the length of the queue for those that aren’t lucky enough to spend their time waiting in the pub.
Get to know your customers
Tracking customer data is another key ingredient to creating the best dining experience. Whether it’s providing loyal diners with a free glass of their favourite wine on arrival, or knowing their order preference before they even have time to take a look at the menu, offering a personalised experience is key to ensuring happy customers and driving repeat business.
This attention to detail will really elevate the level of service and help operators achieve that much-coveted position of having delivered beyond customer expectation. According to Defaqto research, 55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service so, when it’s all about the experience, it’s the fine-tuning that will make all the difference.
Offer a speedy alternative
For many, delays in order taking and bill payment can be enough to ruin the overall event. Providing an alternative solution for those looking to make a swift exit helps toe the line for those wanting a smooth experience, without the silver service. Payment apps that allow customers to order food at the table and pay their bill as soon as they’re done are the perfect compromise to keep customers happy.
Whether it’s attentive staff with personalised service, or efficient apps to streamline the process, each customer has a different opinion on what makes a great service. However, knowing your audience and what they look for when visiting your restaurant is key when implementing the latest tech.