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.


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).


Ten Tips to Success for Restaurateurs

27 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In any direction you look there are hundreds of restaurants ranging from fast food and national chains to your local neighborhood hangout. So why would anyone walk through your door? Simple, they are looking for a solution to a problem and that solution is a good food and great experience.  In a world where there are uncountable numbers of options, we have combed the internet for the best tips that will help your restaurant be successful in a few simple steps.

10. Curb Appeal

We have heard more and more about curb appeal in the real estate industry, but the same principles transfer to your businesses. Everyday hundreds of people drive by your establishment and get their first impression of your business before even stepping in the door, so curb appeal holds a lot of power on your success. If you have a Five Star restaurant, your exterior should be equally well maintained.

9. How do you fit in?

Unless you are located on a busy interstate, most of your patrons come from your local area and therefore you should match your pricing and offerings to cater to those types of groups. If you are in a location with mostly families, a trendy or high class restaurant is not going to be a good fit and limit the potential success.

8.  Inviting Environment

Once you have your customers through the door, you want to reassure them that they came to the right place. The impression you give your customers upon walking through the door is subconsciously telling them about the quality of your food and drinks. Their first impression of your staff is through their host and server, and with great service comes repeat business and higher tips for the staff.

7. Create Signature Cocktails

In this very competitive market you have to stand out from your competitors, by offering a signature drink, dish or dessert you are able to offer what your competitors can’t. These items can bring customers to your restaurant- but while they are getting their favorite drink that only you offer, they are also ordering appetizers, dinner and possibly dessert.

6. Advert Your Eyes Here

We all know that advertising is important to every business, but for restaurants these are more critical. The advertising efforts and promotions for restaurants do not have to be significant portions of a monthly budget. Here’s a few of the best ideas (although the list is endless):

  • Happy Hour drinks and special pricing
  • Two for One Specials
  • Buy two meals get a free desert
  • Family Discounts
  • Early Bird Specials

5. Defrost your Capital

While it may seem like a good idea to buy your ingredients in bulk and store the extra in freezers, you are actually losing a large chunk of money that you may not see for weeks or even months. Not only do customers value fresh ingredients and are willing to pay a little extra for them, with fresh ingredients you are also not holding such a large inventory in the expectation of future sales.

4. 86 the 86’s with Inventory controls

A fast way to lose money in a restaurant is through missing inventory, and there are many different causes. For inventory control you need to keep track of your inventory, and calculate weekly because inventory is affected by many different factors such as portion sizes, waste, etc. Knowing what you have in inventory will help your purchasing decisions and needs. On top of this knowing what you are losing based on the above factors can help you see holes in your processes that could make you more profitable.

3. The Customer is Always Right

Everyone has heard that the customer is always right, and that is true. Why is it true- because the customer is buying your solutions/services based on their feelings and likes. The best way to improve any business is to be open to customer feedback, address it immediately and work to develop a solution to avoid other customers from providing the same feedback if possible.

2. Change with the Seasons

Just like fashions, customer’s tastes change with the seasons and trends. Menus should always be checked and adjusted to fit the current season and updated to include new “trendy” offerings. You don’t want to feature stew and other hot meals in the summer and you want to cater to new trends, such as “juicing” to keep in touch with the interests of your customers.

1.  Who’s on First?

Scheduling can be one of the most stressful, yet important things to happen in your business. You need to ensure that your restaurant is adequately staffed for all shifts throughout the day. When doing this by hand you could be scheduling too many employees for a shift and/or too much overtime. What Time Do I Work.com online employee scheduling software was designed by industry experts with many unique features and benefits to make scheduling a breeze. With automatic labor cost calculations available as you create the schedule and overtime alerts, you’re sure to have complete control of your labor costs.

Try a 30 day no obligation free trial of What Time Do I Work.com today and see how much money you could be saving.

 


Plagued by over- and/or under- staffing issues?

20 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn how to solve this problem in under 350 words.

If your answer to this question is yes, then this article is for you. Over- and under- staffing can both significantly affect your bottom line, whether you realize it or not. If you are over-staffed, you are carrying a high labor cost for that shift, not to mention that you have staff standing around looking for something to do.

On the flip side, under-staffing may harm your customers’ experience, by inadvertently lowering the level of customer service your hardworking employees are available to provide. So, how can you solve this problem?

The answer has two parts: first you will need to pull together a report showing your sales by hour/day/week/month so you are able to determine the pattern of business you experience on a regular basis; some POS systems can pull together these reports for you. Once you have this information, you should use previous schedules to determine what shifts had an accurate staffing level. What Time Do I Work.com has built-in features that will help you make these decisions. Once you have the right number of staff on for each shift, you will see a more balanced labor cost and better customer experience.

There are 3 steps to creating an employee schedule to provide you with the best staffing levels:

  1. Know the productivity of your staff members – how many customers can each employee handle with a high level of customer service?
  2. Review your sales history to determine upcoming needs
  3. Create weekly schedules incorporating upcoming information (reservations, holidays, events, etc.)

Here is a short list of What Time Do I Work.com online scheduling software features that will help you with your staffing needs:

  • Automatic conflict alerts as you create the schedule
  • Automatic overtime alerts as you create the schedule
  • Calculate your labor costs as you create the schedule
  • Time-Off request populate automatically in the schedule
  • Post and communicate new and/or update schedules with the click of a button.

Try What Time Do I Work.com free for 30 days and see the difference it makes in your business.

 


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.