Why Your Customers Aren’t Coming Back and How to Fix It

Getting customers in the door is one challenge. Getting them to come back is another. The truth is that repeat customers are vital to the success of your business. According to Restaurant Engine, a minimum of 1/3 of a restaurants revenue comes from repeat customers, and they cite a Harvard study that suggests an increase of repeat visits by 5% can increase profits by as much as 125%. So, what stops people from coming back?

Customer satisfaction hinges on a number of factors. Everything from service, the aesthetics of the restaurant, the other patrons, the time of day, the noise level or music, and of course the food can all impact a customer’s opinion of a restaurant. Just one misstep can overshadow an otherwise perfect experience and lose a customer forever.

Below are the four most common factors that influence a bad experience, and what restaurant owners and employees can do to address them.

Customer Service
Food service is social by definition, so when an encounter with a server or waiter goes awry it can scare away customers for good, despite how delicious the food may be.

To address poor customer service, consider requiring paid training seminars for your waitstaff to build their customer service skills. Being sociable while under (sometimes tremendous) pressure is a skill that can be taught and developed over time. Furthermore, find out the daily experience of your employees. Genuine amiability with customers can be difficult if the management staff in the back are aggressive or belligerent, or if servers feel underpaid and undervalued. If a restaurant is a pleasant environment to work in, it will be a pleasant place to eat at too.

Unappealing, Incomplete, or Unclear Menu Design

A menu doesn’t have to have pages of options to be appealing, but it does have to meet the needs of various dietary restrictions, including dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and—especially in Portland—vegetarian and vegan options. People nowadays are very health-conscious, so having healthy food items is a must. It should also fit the expectations of the type of restaurant. Will customers expect to get green tea at a Ramen or sushi restaurant? What about green tea ice cream? Customers shouldn’t need a college education to be able to read it, either. At McDonald Wholesale, we are always happy to offer our customers menu analysis and development assistance to help ensure your menu options are appealing and profitable.

Many customers will return for a favorite dish, only to find that the flavor, texture, or ratio of toppings and sides is all wrong. Inconsistent dishes can ruin a restaurant’s good reputation with even just one bad evening. You don’t want to gamble with your flavor profile, and customers don’t want to gamble with their meals. We know as a Portland restaurant supplier that combining frozen foods and pre-made sauce bases with fresh ingredients can improve kitchen efficiency and help your chefs maintain flavor consistency. We recommend keeping customer favorites on the menu that are easy to consistently reproduce while experimenting with a new dish here and there.

Poor Food Quality
The star of the show at any restaurant is the food, and under- or over-cooked dishes and poor ingredients can end your business in a day. One of the key ways to avoid poor food quality is to have a reliable, consistent, accurate supply line. McDonald Wholesale brings just that. We already supply many successful restaurants in the Portland, OR area, with fresh, quality ingredients. Contact us to expand your menu options with dishes made from quality products.

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