When you run a restaurant, you’re not just in the business of feeding people. You’re in the business of creating an experience—one that will keep your customers coming back again and again.
Here are three simple yet powerful steps you can take to improve that experience, and to get your restaurant’s diners back to the table more often.
1. Empower Your Front-of-House Staff
When employees know they have your trust, they’re better able to earn your customers’ trust in turn. Give your servers and other front of house staff the power to make up for minor problems without needing to run it by management, and let them comp a dessert here and there just because.
You can still set the guidelines, but give your waitstaff freedom and flexibility to work within them. Let them know you trust them to make the right choices for your restaurant, and they’ll wear their new empowerment with pride—and translate it into five-star service for each and every table.
2. Make a Better Menu
Too many dining establishments see menus as a means to an end, rather than a core part of the dining experience. Your menu is your customers’ gateway to everything you have to offer; if it’s unappealing, confusing, or plain old dull, you’re creating low expectations for the entire meal.
There’s no cookie-cutter method to effective menu creation; every restaurant needs to figure out what their clientele wants in their meal and their experience, then design their menu accordingly. With a carefully customized menu, you’ll clue customers in to exactly what they can expect. They’ll be ready for their experience to match up to the menu’s promise.
3. Build a Stronger Brand
Many restaurateurs hear the word “brand” and immediately think of tacky color schemes and logos stamped on every square inch of their building. While logos (used correctly) and color schemes (good ones) are important branding elements, they’re just the beginning.
Effective branding ties everything together, creating a cohesive experience that starts at your restaurant’s exterior and stays strong through service. A strong brand gives you control over how your customers see your business and respond to your marketing efforts, and helps them build a relationship with you rather than seeing you as just one more option when they’re feeling hungry.
A good brand involves everything you do, from menus to decor to how your staff interacts with customers. It informs everything your restaurant does and communicates, during open hours and in your offsite outreach. You can start building a better brand and menu today by getting started with MustHaveMenus, or reading some of our other articles for specific, actionable tips that will take your restaurant wherever you want it to go.