You’re a smart business owner. You believe that you run a tight ship when it comes to running your restaurant. You keep the chef in check, pay attention to the needs of customers, and try to run a healthy business. So what’s driving your customers away? Here are five common reasons that customers will abandon an otherwise fine restaurant.
- That awful bottleneck. Some restaurant spaces just don’t lend themselves to the flow of traffic, so a bottleneck that causes drinks to be delayed, food to be served cold and dishes to be dropped can be a major drain on your restaurant business. But by integrating a sophisticated video surveillance package with a smart video analytics program, you can drill down on the physical layout of your restaurant, find out where those bottlenecks are happening, and adjust your layout and your staff’s routes accordingly. Then it’s back to cold beer and hot pizza for everybody.
- Bad service. It doesn’t matter if you’re serving the best fois gras or the best New York slice in town if the service is bad at your restaurant. But by putting some eyes in the sky and really analyzing the performance and profitability of each individual line cook, server or bartender, it will be a lot easier to figure out who’s causing you to get those lousy reviews on Yelp and clear out the dead wood.
- Cleanliness. This may be the number one reason that customers will leave a restaurant. If the tables aren’t clean and the restrooms are filthy, who knows what’s happening back in the kitchen where they’re handling your food? Dirty menus and utensils are another drop-dead giveaway that a restaurant isn’t clean. So make sure both your front of house and kitchen staff are familiar with your cleaning regimen to keep your restaurant spotless.
- Music. This is kind of a weird reason but it’s important too. Basically what you’re looking at here is the atmosphere that you are trying to achieve for your customers. If you’re running a three-star romantic Italian restaurant that’s full of date night customers, they don’t want to hear the Ramones blasting out of your speakers. You’re not running CBGBs here, either. No one wants to frequent a restaurant where the music is so loud that they can’t hear themselves think. Invest in a quality satellite radio system and pick a station that offers the right mix of tempo, intensity and genre to create the type of dining atmosphere that you hope to project to your customers.
- Temperature. This can be a difficult decision and it’s very geographically specific. Realize that with more people in the restaurant at the dinner hour the temperature will rise accordingly, so plan ahead. You can also use temperature to your advantage; there’s nothing more attractive looking to customers who have just been through a winter rainstorm than a roaring fire and a warm glass of wine.
It’s all about the big picture and the small details, really. There are many factors to be aware of when managing the expectations of your customers in your restaurant. Even when these factors have been perfected, things can still go awry so it’s important to think like your customers and constantly work harder to give your loyal guests a memorable night out.