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Beyond food, alcohol and ambience: 10 ways to cook up a storm in the F&B sector

Rohit Maingi
11th Dec 2018
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How do you draw customers to your restaurant when they have Swiggy and UberEats to deliver food at home? Here are some simple but effective ways you can increase footfall and keep ‘em coming.

Food, alcohol and ambience are the holy trinity for a restaurant and getting the three right should be on its priority list. But where eating out has become more common and with new restaurants mushrooming across big cities every week, those in the F&B sector need to go back to the drawing board and figure out ways to stand out in a crowded space. This is especially because, the customer, spoilt for choice, is looking beyond the three and expecting an experience every time she dines out.

So if you are looking to impress your customer and keep her coming back for more, you will do well to keep the following 10 points in mind to create a superlative customer experience.

Customer engagement through social media

There is no questioning the power of social media in the age of #foodporn on Instagram. Introducing your company’s unique experience through social media could be a great way to encourage more and more customers to visit your restaurant. Serving repost-worthy platters have unquestionably accelerated the loyalty of millennials, compelling restaurateurs to scramble around to make things more eventful and fun. Introducing new offers, discount coupons or even social media challenges can make your customer visit the restaurant more often. This can also lend to good word of mouth.

Season-based offers

India is known for its various festivals and traditions around every corner. Introducing them to your restaurant’s menu or via season-based events will help the customers engage more with the restaurant. Just like organising a Dandiya night during Navratri, or introducing a special Navratri menu. Many restaurants are also organising theme nights based on international holidays like Halloween.

Open house

People love to see the process and are excited about being let in on what happens behind closed doors. Once in a while, organising an open kitchen for your customers could be a good option to pique their interest in your restaurant. It will also create a good customer experience as people would love to see what they are consuming. There is no better way to tap into the experience economy than by inviting them behind the scenes.

Delivering a personal touch

As much as the society today embraces technology, the human element must not be overlooked while seeking to provide your guest with a memorable and distinctive experience. People share feedback of services or product or commodity they have been using. Hence reaching out to the people at your restaurant for their valuable feedback would not only help you improve your services but also create a personal relationship with your customers. However, delivering a personal touch is not just limited to feedback, but also to celebrating your customers. Providing an ‘on-the-house’ cake for your customer’s birthday can make them feel special and be a good thank you for their patronage.

Giving control to your customers

Having great customer engagement requires hearing them out. Customers appreciate the ability to customise, so giving them the control to customise dishes will help the restaurant provide a distinctive experience.

Educating your patrons 

People love to listen to a story. Sharing your story about the food you serve or the ambience you have created will help you engage with your customers more. They tend to visit your place more often when they know about you. Selling a story is as important as selling food.

Offering shows

People just need a reason to celebrate. The celebration could also be a football match or a cricket match or any other huge event happening around the world. For example, make your restaurant a part of the celebration by hosting football/cricket viewing parties.

Events and activities

Events and activities are a great crowd-puller. With the rising competition among all the food service providers, there is a need to stand out by showing innovation.

Customer loyalty programmes

Foodservice operators focus a lot on the new customers, forgetting that half your income is generated from the regulars. Customer loyalty programmes like coupons for the regulars, discounts, customised parties or awards make the customer feel loved and appreciated. Such loyalty programmes will also encourage the patrons to tell their friends about the restaurant.

Leveraging technology

Technology is ingrained in modern life and plays a pivotal role in customer experience today. Creating in-house online offers will help the customers engage more with the restaurant, and the exciting offers would compel them to visit the restaurant more often. This would also help the restaurant create user-generated content. Everything happens online, from reviews to Zomato offers. So use technology to be on top of the game.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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