Everyone’s a critic, right?
Actually, it’s true. There is now the potential for every single customer that crosses your path to qualify themselves as an admirer or detractor of your restaurant, without a moment’s hesitation.
Blame it on mobile devices taking over the world if you like, but the fact remains that we are now chained to our smartphones and portable gadgets like never before and with that, the reality that consumers are social beings with a need to share most experiences on a whim.
Online reviews are now an important part of the consumer’s life, which includes restaurant and dining choices.
That can be good or bad news for restaurant owners.
Reviews are now, whether we like it or not, taking centre stage, and are frankly, loving the spotlight.
Your staff are sometimes the first contact your customers have when wishing to offer up opinion or comment on their dining experience.
So how can your staff be directly involved with the online review phenomenon?
Ask and You Shall Receive
Ask yourself what is it you are trying to achieve here?
The main goal would be repeat patronage through positive reviews and the impetus to existing or new clientele, to feel welcome to submit comment based on their experiences.
Restaurants are looking for ways to encourage online reviews, and customer facing personal might just be the answer.
It is not always known that online review can really assist a restaurants patronage, and ultimate bottom line.
It is sometimes forgotten that more reviews can also lead to a better search engine ranking, so why not utilize the people who have the most contact your customers. Your staff.
Customers need to know that this indeed encouraged and be gently persuaded, but how do we do this?
Staff can be instructed as a part of their finalization of a meal to attach a card to the final bill or receipt. This may encourage or remind your wait staff to ask the questions.
It could simply be, as an example, the restaurants business card, or a with compliments slip, with links to your website and other online partners such as Google+ or your Facebook page.
Or maybe front end staff can be given a cue card to remind them to say “How was your meal? Please consider leaving us a review on TripAdvisor. It helps us improve your experience!”
Some staff may be happy to wing it and come up with their own way of asking and directing diners.
It will soon become routine to staff to encourage patrons to review your restaurant and its service. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Some staff have an inbuilt skillset that can be immediately identifiable.
An instant rapport with customers is why some employees are drawn to front facing food service roles, and staff that have this can be an asset for any restaurant
They are genuinely good at it, and they know it.
Other staff may need a little encouragement. That’s ok, everyone is different with differing personalities and value that they, as individuals, bring to the table.
As a way of inspiring them to have personal interaction with customers, some may need more of an understanding of why this is important.
Empowering your employees to have a direct involvement in the success of your establishment can create a very effective awareness of the bigger picture. Involve your employees and having them understand why you ask them to participate in certain marketing projects.
You never know, they might really enjoy it.
Creating a united mindset starts with you the restaurant owner. How else are they to feel connected to your customers if they don’t feel it within their own workplace?
As a follow up, if you are having a regular staff meeting, or staff dinners, make social media an agenda item for discussion. Be open to new ideas. We all have them.
Your staff are living, breathing representatives of your restaurant and might just be considered your best work.
Loyal employees love what they do and vice versa.
Socializing the Workplace
Staff can bring social media reviews to your establishment by using their own accounts.
Employees these days are well versed in the ways and means of social media and their workplace’s social interaction shouldn’t be any different.
Your staff are the perfect choice to enable mass contact with others in their social network and, and can be the best vehicle for getting your brand out there to the hungry public.
What the food service industry has found is that potential customers trust, above all else, recommendations from friends and family.
Whether via Instagram, through amazing photos or your food being enjoyed by crowds of people, or though comments and statements via Twitter, staff can be a great warm up act, especially if this is your first contact with the social media world.
Making it a competition is one way to encourage staff to interact, but usually incentives need to go far and beyond how many times your staff are asking customers if they’ve had a nice day.
So, does excellent service and customer satisfaction begin and end with your floor staff?
No, but combined with everything else you have on offer to entice second and third visits, they can make a lot of difference
Quite an ominous descriptor, isn’t it? There are plenty of companies wanting to manage your online presence and the ramifications of all involved, good and bad.
If this is the way you wish to go, that’s fine, but don’t forget some of the most valued partnerships a business will have are that between yourself and your employees.
Staff content in their environment that feel connected and a part of the bigger picture will always give off that happiness to customers more than someone who is simply watching the clock until their shift is over.
They really do create a positive environment around them. Call it a vibe if you’re a believer in such things, or simply call it a happy and motivated employee.
Amid all this apparent change, one thing is constant.
We need all kinds of staff, but among them will be key players with invaluable traits that make them an advocate happy to carry the torch for your restaurant and its continued success.