customer service good

How to Create a Winning Restaurant Customer Journey

Aine Hendron
12 Oct. 2021

To provide the best customer service possible, you have to put yourselves in your guest’s shoes. You must also remember that a dining experience is more than simply eating your meal, paying for it, and leaving. When mapping your customer’s journey, you need to look at the before (much before), during, and after of when they enter your restaurant. 

Restaurant customer journey map

The customer journey map is a plan that aims to consistently attract new customers, then convert those customers into loyal diners, who in turn tell other people about your restaurant, and continue the pattern. Your map will be personalised to your restaurant, your customers, and your marketing plans.

Step one: make customers aware

Potential customers need to be aware of not only your restaurant but your brand as a whole. For instance, a customer might be aware that there’s a restaurant at the bottom of the street, but they don’t know the type of cuisine they make or the price range. You’ll want to make people aware not only of your restaurant but of your brand as a whole. To do this, you need to consider a few things:

Customers should feel like they know what to expect before they arrive at your restaurant. They’ll know the type of food you serve, what the service will be like, the price points, and the type of accommodations that will be made. This will create a powerful connection with your brand before they’ve even arrived. 

Step two: desire and engagement

Once customers are aware of your brand, you’ll want them to engage. This doesn’t necessarily mean the customers come to the restaurant straight away. Instead, they might engage with you on your social media page, tag friends and family, or share your page to their own social media page. Customers spend 20-40% more money with companies that engage with social media[1].

A good way to encourage engagement is to launch a competition for a free meal or dessert. This way, people will like, share, and tag people, which will boost interaction and introduce your business to new people. Video content is 1200% more effective than text and image content combined, so creating this type of content is sure to boost engagement and capture your ideal audience’s attention [2].

You’ll also want to encourage social proof, launch loyalty programs for existing customers, and persuade with an irresistible marketing campaign

Step three: connect and convert

Reach out to people who have entered your competition, or those who have recently started following your page. In this message, you’ll want to thank them for engaging and include a prompt to sign up to your mailing list. As an incentive, offer to send a discount code or coupon to their email that the customer can retrieve once they’ve signed up.

For tracking purposes, send different codes for different social media platforms. If you launch your giveaway on Facebook, Instagram, and your mailing list, send different codes for different social media platforms. When the code is entered into your point of sale (POS) system, you’ll be able to track where your leads are coming from, and which platform is converting the most sales. 

Step four: restaurant experience

The restaurant experience is the part that most restaurant owners are most familiar with providing. 

Consider your server’s etiquette, your restaurant’s decor, the menu choices, the general atmosphere, the ease of service. All of these things combine to create positive, lasting guest experiences. You must be aware of areas where you can automate your business, in order to simplify the food ordering process and reduce wait times for customers. 

Step five: review and reassess

Returning to the discount code mentioned previously, if a customer redeems their discount using the code they received in their email, you’ll be able to use that same contact information to reach out and ask for a review of their experience. Customer reviews are incredibly important, especially for start-up businesses, since 79% of consumers say they trust the reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations. The same percentage state that they will read reviews prior to trying a local business for themselves [3].

It’s also important to take on board the feedback you receive in these reviews, especially if they’re negative. If this happens, you might want to reach out, apologize on behalf of your company, and offer to make amends. Once you’ve identified the problem and invited the customer to return, you can offer them a better hospitality experience. When complaints are resolved correctly, this can actually result in customers having an even more positive view of the business than if they hadn’t had an issue. This phenomenon is the customer recovery paradox [4].

If a customer leaves a positive review, you should consider asking them to join your loyalty rewards program. 

Step six: reward repeat visitors 

Your loyalty program doesn’t have to mean giving a lot of products away for free. Instead, create a smart program that is available to be redeemed on quiet nights in your restaurant. Check the analytics on your POS to find out which nights generate the least revenue. Then, allow customers to cash in their loyalty discount on that night. You could also consider offering double loyalty points for visiting the restaurant during certain off-peak hours instead of, for example, a 30% off loyalty reward. This will save you from reducing your prices, and losing the integrity of your pricing plan [5].

This is mutually beneficial to your business and your guests and will encourage better customer retention. If a customer is very satisfied with your business and loves visiting your restaurant, they should go on to recommend you, and refer others to visit. This positive feedback loop can save your restaurant from paying for extortionate marketing plans and promotions. 2021 statistics show that customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate and 81% of consumers are more likely to engage with brands that have reward programs. Not only that, but you can expect at least 16% more in profits from referred customers [6].

Create the restaurant of the future, today

Epos Now offers state-of-the-art POS systems for hospitality businesses. We let you choose the tools and insights to help your business achieve its goals. Designed to work as a complete business management system, you can control all vital aspects of your company from one cloud-based system.

Receive detailed analysis on the areas that matter to your business:

  • Review profitability reports based on individual product performance, trending items, best and worst sellers, and employee sales
  • View sales analyses on profit margin, cash flow, and other expenses
  • Review reports on peak times for better staff scheduling and floorplan management
  • Access multi-award-winning inventory management systems that sync online sales and in-person sales for the most up-to-date stock levels
  • Automate stock purchasing so you never miss a sales opportunity
  • Integrate with the business automation apps that are right for your business
  • Table management and booking system integrations available for an optimised service

If you’d like to learn more about our industry-leading software, request a free callback with one of our experts.

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