Spring Cleaning For Restaurants

As a restaurant owner, you know that keeping your establishment clean is necessary for providing great food as well as passing public health department inspections.

You also know that spring is the perfect time to deeply cleanse and sanitize your restaurant.

Check out some of these Spring Cleaning strategies that not only clean your restaurant, but also help your business improve services, increase safety and save money.

Sprucing Up to Improve Customer Experiences

86% of customers are willing to pay more for better experiences. Extend the clean-up to all aspects of your restaurant to provide customers with the exceptional service they desire.

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  • Make it shine where it counts: USA Today reports that a third of consumers won’t give a restaurant a second chance if their bathroom is dirty. Deep cleaning in the kitchen matters, however, concentrate first on areas your customers see: bathrooms, entranceways, dining areas, and exteriors.
  • Freshen up your presentation: Do table linens, curtains, plates, uniforms, and delivery materials look out-of-date, worn, or old? Are they beyond cleaning? Now is the perfect time to replace and modernize for a fresh, professional look your customers will notice.
  • Streamline ordering processes: Online ordering accounts for 43% of all food delivery orders. Implement digital ordering technology now, or ensure your current technology is up to par; Grubhub advises that 6 out of 10 customers say speed equals satisfaction.
  • Menu clean-up: Customers like seasonal items; add a few dishes featuring seasonal ingredients to increase sales and set your restaurant apart from the competition.
  • Re-train your staff with the “3 R’s”:
    1. Revisit your mission and values.
    2. Review procedures for delivering great food.
    3. Reinforce protocols for providing excellent customer service.

Tuning it up

Spring cleaning is also an ideal time to check up on the basics of safety.

 

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  • Food handling safety: Brush your staff up on proper techniques and temperatures for storing, handling, chopping, and cooking meat, dairy, and other cold foods to avoid foodborne illnesses.
  • Electrical review: Wipe lighting fixtures clean of grease, dust and build-up throughout your restaurant, and make sure wiring and outlets are in good shape. Replace anything that looks hazardous.
  • Flooring inspection: Did you know that slip-and-fall incidents are the #1 injury among food service employees? Here are some tips:
    • Maintain rubber “non-slip” floor mats that are worn down, or replace them if they have lost their grip.
    • Get mats that snap together to create larger spaces of even flooring in high traffic areas
    • Keep your bucket and mop clean. Have fresh water mixed with a sanitizer ready to go in the mop.
    • Look into liquid slip-resistant treatment solutions

Saving Energy + Money

Deep cleaning and calibrating helps your equipment run more efficiently—ultimately saving you money.

 

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  • Screen and filter maintenance: Cleaning or replacing exhaust screens—as well as A/C and water filters—prevents these units from working harder than they must, which translates into lower energy bills.
  • Cooling units check-up: Faulty refrigerator/cooler seals should be replaced to prevent cool air from escaping. Also, double-check that temperatures are set properly.
  • Degrease to increase efficiency: Thoroughly degreasing ovens, grills, grease traps and other equipment helps it run more efficiently and use less energy as well.

With these Spring cleaning strategies, you’ll be able to start afresh and help your restaurant blossom.

Learn 3 ways to incorporate seasonal items into your menu.

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The Devil Is In The Details – Inspiring Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers are the foundation of your restaurant. They provide steady income, usually spend more than new customers, and make great brand ambassadors. It even costs less to keep them than it does to attract new customers.

Cultivating a regular customer base doesn’t happen on its own. Use the following techniques to unlock the many benefits of customer loyalty.

Get Back To Basics

Give people a reason to be loyal by maintaining high standards for all aspects of your restaurant and by keeping up with customer trends.

  • Focus on Food. The quality and consistency of your food is the number one reason people will come back time and time again. Focus on freshness, flavor, temperature and consistency.
  • Stay Current. The restaurant business and customer demands continuously evolve. From online ordering and delivery, to mobile payment options and fresh food trends, strive to stay on top of shifts within the industry.
  • Make Cleanliness a Priority. Keep things tidy and well maintained—from clean bathrooms and sparkling silverware to neat and organized delivery orders. This is a fundamental element of a great customer experience.

Be Accountable For Mistakes

In the fast-paced restaurant industry, mistakes are bound to occur from time to time. View them as opportunities to show off your customer service skills, and you just might win over a customer for life. 

  • Take Responsibility. Don’t point fingers or blame. Just apologize for the error and let the customer know you are committed to making up for it.
  • Respond To Reviews. Monitor all review sites and respond promptly to everyone. Be courteous at all times, especially when responding to bad reviews. Suggest taking the conversation off-line to give more personalized attention to disgruntled customers.
  • Make Reparations. Offer something to smooth the situation over. Customers will appreciate the gesture and remember your sincere attempts to make their less-than-favorable experience better.  

Own Your Specialty

Celebrating what makes you different—and gearing your business model towards people that it resonates with—inspires loyalty in customers.

  • Be Bold. Pinpoint the exact feature(s) that makes your restaurant unique (i.e., signature dish, best prices, family recipes, etc.). This is called your Unique Selling Proposition.
  • Know Your Customer. You can’t be all things to all people. Determine who will be attracted to your unique offerings and what matters most to them.
  • Carry It Out. Follow your unique theme throughout your business: in marketing messages, menu items, décor, and more.

Create A Winning Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a wonderful way to reward loyal customers, keep them engaged with your brand, and encourage additional sales. 

  • Match Programs To Customers. There are many different types of programs that incentivize customer loyalty and ultimately grow your business: fun interactive games, point systems, customized rewards, loyalty benchmarks, and tailored promotions. Choose a rewards program that fits your target customers’ personality. 
  • Keep It Simple. The success of your loyalty program will largely depend on how simple the rules are, and how easy it is to sign up and redeem rewards. 
  • Promote It. Your staff should be trained to encourage customers to sign up for rewards programs. Promote your loyalty program on social media and your website, during the online ordering process, on receipts and checks, through email blasts, on tent cards, and more.

Be Good Community Partners

Today’s consumers like to align themselves with businesses are contributing positively to society. Become a supporter of the community that sustains you, and your good deeds will inspire loyalty.

  • Buy Local. Support local farms and suppliers, and feature dishes on your menu made with local ingredients. This will capture customers’ interest in both sustainability and healthy eating.
  • Give Back. Pick a local charity to partner with and host events to raise funds and awareness. You can also sponsor a local athletic group or civic organization, and donate food for local shelters or food pantries.
  • Support Neighborhood Talent. Create a venue for local singers and musicians to provide live entertainment in your dining room or bar on certain nights. You can also feature the work of local artists and craftsmen throughout your restaurant, and even host galas and art shows.

These tactics can help you both satisfy your customers and make special connections with them. Show them how much you appreciate and value them, and they will be inspired to return that sentiment. 

Learn how to make a your restaurant unforgettable with a great first impression.

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First Impressions Count: How To Make Your Restaurant Unforgettable

A customer’s opinion of your restaurant will be formed within the first few moments. That’s why it’s critical to make a great first impression quickly—both on-site and online.

Try out a few new techniques, and make your restaurant memorable in all the right ways.

Make The First Point of Contact Friendly and Helpful

New customers will interact with your restaurant through your website or social media, on a digital ordering platform like Grubhub, on the phone, or in person.

Regardless of how they reach out, it’s critical to make their first experience cordial, convenient, and comfortable.

Practice Phone Etiquette.

Make sure customers are dealt with professionally and politely on the phone. Try to answer within three rings, speak clearly, and really listen to the customer. If the person must be put on hold, ask for permission first, and get back as quickly as possible.

Welcome Your Guests.

Face-to-face hospitality can leave a positive, lasting impression with customers. Receive all dine-in guests warmly and seat them as soon as possible. Counter-service patrons should be acknowledged promptly and cordially. Don’t forget to make take-out and delivery customers feel welcome too with a friendly greeting either in person or on the phone.

Have A Modern Website.

Customers can get turned off by an old-fashioned or glitchy website. Modernize yours with mobile-friendly and responsive technology that adapts to different screen sizes and devices. Make your smenu searchable by uploading a text (not PDF) version, and give customers the ability to place orders online.

Be Engaging on Social Media.

Consumers often judge brands by how they engage with the public on social media. That’s why it’s important to stay relevant on all social media, reply to any negative comments/reviews appropriately, and make sure to engage with positive ones, too!

Make Your Restaurant Sparkle

Cleanliness is a necessary ingredient in making a great first impression and getting customers to return. Keep your facility ship-shape and your food presentable and visually appealing.

Maintain Restrooms.

A dirty restroom will keep 1/3 of your customers from returning. Make sure you keep your restrooms clean and well-stocked throughout the day.

Clean Surfaces.

Customers will immediately notice tables that have not been bussed properly, sticky or worn menus, dirty silverware and food on the floor, so keep these things clean and well-maintained.

Present Yourself Professionally.

Your wait staff represents your brand, so encourage proper grooming and consistent uniform standards.

Package Neatly.

Make a great first impression on new take-out or delivery customers with food that is neat, appetizing, and the right temperature. Use appropriately-sized containers and sealed lids to prevent slips and spills, and always package hot and cold items and sauces separately.

Distinguish Your Brand

You can make an immediate and lasting impression on customers by promoting your unique selling proposition. Your unique selling proposition is what makes your restaurant distinctive and different than others.

Customers will notice the attention to detail that you take to follow through on your theme.

Brand Yourself Appropriately.

Your logo is often one of the first things customers will notice about your brand. Create or update your logo and use colors that represent both your brand and appeal to your customer.

Match Décor, Signage, and Ambiance.

Choose eye-catching graphics, furnishings, lighting, and more that matches your brand.

Let Your Menu Tell Your Story.

Your menu should, in both style and content, make an immediate impression on your customers and align with your restaurant concept.

Making a great first impression gives you the opportunity to completely win that new customer over, while creating an experience they will remember for a long time.

Learn The Best Marketing Tactics To Attract Customers.

Ready to tap into millions of hungry customers? Sign up with Grubhub for Restaurants today!

5 Things That Make Diners Come Back

As a restaurant owner, you know that retaining existing customers costs less than recruiting new ones.

The secret to bringing diners back lies in perfecting the customer experience. Here’s how:

#1: Serve Great Food

Your passion for serving great food is probably why you opened a restaurant in the first place. Here are just a few reminders on how to keep customers hungry for your food:

Get Back to Basics. Taste, temperature, and presentation deliver the quality customers expect.

Refine Your Menu. Make any necessary modifications or deletions to create a well-conceived, streamlined menu. Keep it simple for customers to read and manageable for your kitchen to produce.

Be Consistent. Regular customers often return for the same dishes. Keep them satisfied with consistency.

#2: Practice Great Customer Service

Customer service is often the differentiator that sets your restaurant apart from the rest. If your servers use these techniques to take care of diners, they’re more likely to return.

Smile and Listen. Customers like to be served by familiar servers that are friendly and competent.

Be Respectful.  Always be respectful of customers, even if they are not.

Go the Extra Mile. Patrons will appreciate someone who goes above and beyond to take care of them. Also, learning repeat customers’ names and preferences will make them feel welcome.

#3: Keep it Clean

Nothing turns off customers more than a dirty restaurant. In fact, lack of cleanliness is linked to low customer retention.

Here are a few areas to keep spic and span:

Restrooms. A third of customers will never come back to a restaurant if the bathroom is dirty.

Tableware. Make dishes and plates sparkle to keep customers happy.

Packaging. Grubhub advises using appropriately-sized delivery containers with proper seals (keeping sauces separate) to help food arrive looking clean and appetizing.

#4: Perfect the Art of Solving Problems

How you handle inevitable customer complaints can lose customers for good, or convert them into more loyal patrons than if they hadn’t experienced a problem at all.

Here are some tips:

Online Reviews. Respond quickly and sincerely to every review—good and bad. Grubhub offers these tips.

Ask for Input. In delivery packages, a printed flyer asking for customers to call with feedback can avoid a bad online review and help earn that customer’s continued patronage.

Be Professional. Really listen to the customer’s complaint, don’t be defensive, never raise your voice, and always present a solution.

#5: Give Incentives

Offering incentives for return visits helps build long-lasting relationships.

Here are just a couple of suggestions:

Coupon Codes. Everyone loves to receive a discount. Restaurants that partner with Grubhub can reward both loyal and new customers with coupon codes and other promotions.

Buy One, Get One. People often bring in friends with BOGO offers. You just might pick up an additional new steady customer.

Loyalty Programs. Most Americans participate in at least one restaurant loyalty program. Loyalty program members feel more connected with the brand and also spend more than non-members do. Grubhub suggests utilizing your POS system, or customer-facing digital rewards programs through social media to reward customers for loyalty.

These tips will keep your customers coming back for more, while helping you grow your restaurant and become more profitable.

Read more about making memorable customer experiences.

Ready to reach new customers and grow your business with Grubhub? Sign up today!

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