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.

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