How to get new customers through the door and keep them coming back for more

09 Apr, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Getting new customers through the door is a large feat in itself, but keeping them can be just as challenging. There are many factors that play into the customer experience. We have put together the list of some simple and budget friendly ways to get new customers, and a list of reasons that weighs heavily on their decision to come back.

 

How do I attract new customers?

Getting new customers is the goal of all businesses; you cannot grow by simply maintaining your current customers, you need new customers. Trying a new restaurant is a big gamble for most people in today’s market, as they are very selective on where they spend their hard earned money.

Standout

You need to be known for something, it can be type/ethnicity of food you offer, special promotions or signature dishes.

Be social

 If people don’t know that you are out there, how are they ever going to walk in the door? Social Media is huge in today’s culture, not only can you share images, articles and experiences, but now with “check-ins” friends of your patrons can see that they came to your establishment.

Offer deals

A great way to get new customers to try your bar or restaurants is to offer special deals for new customers, such as a free appetizer or shared dessert.

 

How do I keep customers coming back?

Now that you have new customers coming in the door, let’s look at the flip side of keeping them coming back for more. There are many reason that you could experience slow nights (bad economy, it’s a week night or that there are no special events or holidays) that are out of your control. Here are the top 3 reasons within your control that make customers decide not to return to your bar or restaurant.

 Current Menu

Regularly check your menu to ensure that your pricing is aligned with your target demographic and that you are mixing in enough seasonal/trendy offerings with your signature dishes to keep customers interested and coming back for more.

  Loyalty Programs

 Loyalty programs can be as simple as deals based on the amount of money spent during each visit and/or the number of visits, and offer discounts on future purchases.

 Welcoming Atmosphere

 You guests have come to you not only for food and drink, but an enjoyable time with friends and family. Some of the top areas of importance include clean floors/tables/bar, clean bathrooms and the service that they receive.

 

How do I ensure employee satisfaction?

To ensure your customers will have a great experience, you must have a happy staff providing high quality service. The number one reason for employee dissatisfaction stems from scheduling. Scheduling includes ensuring that you have the right number of staff on for your customer level and ensuring that you fairly allot time-off and/or overtime shifts. What Time Do I Work.com offers easy-to-use and affordable online scheduling software designed to make scheduling a staff of any size a breeze with features like automatic staff communication about schedules, the ability to track and store employee time-off requests and scheduling conflicts and overtime alerts. Try What Time Do I Work.com for yourself today and get the first 30 days free.


Trend of the Month: April 2014

01 Apr, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Customer Facing Technology growing in popularity within the Food Service Industry

 

technology at the table

According to an October 2013 study by the National Restaurant Association, we are seeing the growth of consumers’ acceptance and use of customer facing technology within the Food Service Industry. According to the study 63% adults use restaurant-related technology to order, make reservations and pay their bill via smart phones. Some restaurants and bars are now going one step further to offer quests tech gadgets at the table to enhance their experience. Chili’s National Restaurant recently ran a 5 month test with table technology for guests to order, pay and play $0.99 games while they wait. The results — 20% increase in sales.

We have already seen some basic recent new technologies for purchasing with credit cards in small businesses. This trend will quickly trickle down to restaurants.

Forecasters from Forbes have put together a list of technologies that they expect to see gaining popularity in restaurants:

  1. Touchscreen kiosks for placing & customizing orders
  2. Mobile ordering applications
  3. Tabletop tablets for ordering and paying
  4. Digital games and entertainment at the table
  5. Mobile apps rewarding customers for loyalty and increasing social media interactions
  6. Mobile-pay apps to pay from a smart phone or tablet
  7. Mobile apps for loyalty/reward programs
  8. Apps for virtual giving and donations – allowing a portion of the guests bill to be donated to charity

As technology based applications quickly become the norm in providing a high level of customer experience in restaurants, we will also see an increase in technology to advance the behind the scenes aspects of your restaurants and bars. There are many options for scheduling employees that offer different benefits, however unless you are using What Time Do I Work.com online scheduling software, you are wasting time and money. What Time Do I Work.com online scheduling software simplifies the scheduling process by storing employee availability, preferences, skills and contact information in the program for easy access when creating schedules. Additionally the software offers real-time labor calculations, automatic overtime and conflict alerts, as well as communication features allowing your employees to own their schedules.

Try our scheduling software free for the next 30 days and see how much time and money you can save!


The Top 3 traits of the Most Successful Bar and Restaurant Managers!

26 Mar, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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Managers of bars and restaurants have a long laundry list of responsibilities that are integral to the success of their business; the most successful managers excel these 3 areas:

  • Relationship with coworkers
  • Customer service
  • Attention to detail

In this blog article we will review what makes a successful manager.

Your customers’ first impression of your business is when they first step foot into your business. However it is the full experience including the food, service and atmosphere that remains with the customer long after they leave. Managers play a very important role in providing your customers with the best experience.

 

Relationship with employees:

  1. Treat employees with respect and remember to give good feedback – without a dedicated and supporting staff, your manager and business cannot be successful
  2. Give staff clear instructions – managers maintain the consistency in customer experience and clearly instruct employees about processes and policies. If there are changes that your staff is not aware of, customers can get a bad impression of your business
  3. Maintain a high quality staff  –   managers must support and praise the hardest workers, while weeding out the employees that aren’t performing (most importantly a manager should never discipline an employee in front of customers)
  4. Be a leader and set an example – managers must follow the same set of rules and policies as your entire staff without exceptions

 

 Relationship with customers:

  1. Meet and greet – businesses can only improve if they solicit customer feedback and respond immediately to all feedback to ensure that customers feel as though their feedback is valuable
  2. Respect that each customer will have their own opinions – while it might not be true that the customers are always right, managers should look to resolve any situations without argument or insinuating that the customer might be wrong
  3. Ensure that all customers leave happy – word of mouth marketing is very powerful, especially when the feedback isn’t too great, managers must remember this and strive to ensure that no customers leave unhappy

 

Attention to Business:

  1. Attention to detail in all aspects of the business – managers must have an understanding of what is going on in the back and front of house, to set expectations and handle any potential problems before they become a problem
  2. Do not ignore problems – managers should know inventory levels as well as any issues with equipment to ensure that speedy repairs to help provide each customer with the same high level service
  3. Efficiently manage day to day tasks – managers are responsible for all scheduling of their staff, and the pros use online employee scheduling software like What Time Do I Work.com, that records time-off requests and provides automatic alerts for scheduling conflicts and overtime hours to help manage labor costs.

 

Try What Time Do I Work.com today and get your first 30 days free with our no obligation free trial (you don’t even have to enter a credit card to start scheduling).


Little Changes that will make a BIG Difference with Customer Service

17 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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In the food service, bar and nightclub industries you are selling more than just food and drinks to your patrons. While quality food and drinks are important, there are probably many other similar restaurants, bars or nightclubs in your area that offer similar selections. What you are truly selling is a solution to a problem and what distinguishes you from your competitors is the customer experience you provide. We have searched far and wide to provide you with the best advice for improving customer experiences.

The first place to start is to challenge your staff to provide more than expected for every customer during their scheduled shifts. Servers should ensure that customers’ drinks never get below 1/3 full, offer extra bread for extended waits,  and remember to always maintain eye contact and be personable when taking orders and interacting with customers.

You can really go above and beyond if you’re near a theater, sports area, etc., by asking your customers if they are in a rush and try to accommodate their limited time needs. Help your customers during the ordering process by pointing out deals on items that they are ordering. You can offer additional perks for your customers, such as tasting different foods and wines before ordering. You might make a little less on this sale, but they will be sure to return.  And if you have an unhappy customer, thank them for their honestly (they told you instead of someone else) and look for a simple way to rectify the situation.

Improving the customer experience does not rely solely on your staff. As a manager/owner there are ways you need to train and prepare your staff for success. Train your servers on how to handle different customers (large groups, first time visitors, families) so that they can provide a superior level of service to every customer. Another great tip is to fully train your staff on your menu, ensuring they can answer any questions. Ensure that you fully train your entire staff on your policies and procedures, as well as when to escalate situations to the manager.

Here are some of the items that each of your servers should know off the top of their head:

  • What foods are spicy
  • Ingredients in each dish
  • Items for special dietary requirements
  • Tasted all items including specials

The final crucial piece of the puzzle is all about scheduling. There is a tight line to walk to ensure that you have adequate staffing for all shifts (over- and under- staffing not only impacts your bottom line, but can seriously impact the customer experience). What Time Do I Work.com has reports and features that can help you determine the ideal coverage for each of your scheduled shifts. Check back here in our next edition to learn more about how What Time Do I Work.com helps to determine your staff requirements for each shift. Can’t wait? Click Here to try it out for yourself for 30 days in our no obligation free trial.


Why should you pick WhatTimeDoIWork.com Online Employee Scheduling Software? Part 2: Benefits for Management

12 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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In this edition of the three-part series, we will review the features and benefits for managers and schedulers. There are many different features that are only available through online scheduling software, which will help save you and your employees countless hours. What Time Do I Work.com has taken these benefits and expanded upon them with their unique offerings for posting, reporting, and communicating schedules by allowing you to customize the program to fit your business needs with the following features:

  • Shifts
  • Standard Hours vs Overtime Hours
  • Pay Scale
  • Access to employee information
  • Individual Employee availability
  • Preferred methods of communication

With all of this customized information built into the program, our software goes from a simple scheduling calendar template, to an advanced strategic business planning program. First, you can access What Time Do I Work.com from anywhere with any computer through a secure login, to allow you to create schedules when and where it is convenient for you. When a scheduler starts creating an upcoming schedule they have many advantages; the What Time Do I Work.com system automatically populates the schedule with employee time off requests in the applicable shifts, and will automatically alert you of any conflicts and overtime hours accrued. In fact, our system allows your employees to enter their own time-off requests, so that they are available for review all in one place for all employees. There is also the added benefit that the program records the time a request is entered so that the scheduler can fairly grant time off requests.

We also have reporting and communication features that help improve your business, reason enough to validate the affordable price of our program! Our reporting offering includes calculating labor costs as you create the schedule, requirements for adequate shift coverage and employee performance reporting.

Once the perfect conflict free schedule has been completed and posted online, with a single click of a button you can send out communications to your entire staff, whether there are 5 or 500 employees, as well as remind them of their upcoming shifts. If you have an employee call out of a shift, the program also allows you to simultaneously contact all employees that are not working to assist you in finding coverage immediately.

With What Time Do I Work.com online employee scheduling you can kiss late nights and weekends spent at your computer trying to create or recreate schedules goodbye, the endless scheduling calls will decrease dramatically, and wasted money on overtime hours and upset employees when they are scheduled for the wrong shift will be a thing of the past.

Join us for the finale of this series where we will review the benefits to your employees that will improve your turnover rate and help to create a happier work environment.