ITB 2018 Special Reporting
Restaurant Guests – What They Really Want.
By Brunique Gould
Thursday, 16th March 2017

The one thing that will drive guests to walk right out of your restaurant! 

As a proud hotelier or hospitality professional, the ultimate goal is to consistently provide guests with impeccable service and ideally exceed all expectations, whilst it is highly likely that we will encounter that guest that just cannot be satisfied â€" having a sensible customer walk out of your establishment, due to an underwhelming experience, is undoubtedly a situation that no hotelier wishes to be faced with!

For this reason we decided to run a poll in hopes of determining what element is considered as paramount to customers everywhere, in hopes of providing hospitality professionals, more specifically restaurateurs, with insight as to what may lead customers to their breaking point.

Whilst there are undoubtedly a multitude of factors that could cause customers to leave in a disappointed huff, the top four deal breakers were limited to Unfriendly Staff, Overall Cleanliness, Poor Service and Poor Food Quality!

The results are in and the factor that received the lowest score, and thus the least likely to send your guests running is;

Unfriendly Staff (21%)

Whilst there is a very fine line between service quality and staff attitude, the two should not be seen as one. Waitrons can carry out the most impeccable dinner service, following the restaurants SOP to the T, and still have a vile attitude to the point of being down right rude to guests. The hospitality and service industry is built on the premise of being, well, hospitable and catering to the customer needs â€" thus being outright rude is simply unjustifiable.

Quality of the food (23%)

Consumers visit restaurants for an array of reasons, be it the overall vibe provided by the establishment or simply to enjoy the company of others. If your establishment is being frequented for the perceived impeccable service or the well renowned ambiance, you’re already halfway there. So maximise on your already captive audience and solidify the relationship with your guests with good quality food and say hello to returning customers!

A bad meal is enough to put a damper on any good atmosphere, which is why unsavory food quality is capable of sending guests running. Food quality may have only scored 23% of the votes, it proves that 23% of consumers believe that the cleanest of restaurants and the most attentive and best trained staff simply cannot compensate for poor food quality.

Poor Service Quality (26%)

Poor Service Quality is deal breaker number two as it scored 26% of the overall votes! Service quality can be defined as the rating of the service provided in relation to guest expectations thus, if the expectations of customers are not being met (let alone exceeded), they will most likely be storming out of your restaurant.

Exceeding Expectations: Tips to Make Your Restaurant Stand Out, written by Jose L Riesco, elaborates on some innovative ways that restaurants can not only meet, but exceed expectations of guests. This article highlights the importance of empowering and motivating staff whilst striving to give guests exactly what they want â€" all in the name of service.

Overall Cleanliness (30%)

It should come as no surprise that overall cleanliness is deemed as the number one deal breaker and the main factor that will send guests bolting for the door!

This is completely understandable. A restaurant can be armed with the most welcoming and hospitable staff in the world, but this will most surely be overlooked when all the guest can focus on is the unsanitary and filthy condition of the tables or the grime filled cutlery alongside greasy, stained glasses.

The overall state of your restaurant in, terms of cleanliness, is essential as the dining area is not only a representation of your brand, but a filthy restaurant may lead customers to believe that the kitchen (in which their meal is being prepared) is also, well filthy! This is surely enough to make anyone lose their appetite.

Good housekeeping is crucial and can be detrimental to your establishment’s overall brand image, when neglected. Not to mention that restaurants have been shut down sue to sanitary conditions being merely overlooked. Just some food for thought…

In case you missed it, take part in the poll here!

Incorporate these elements into your social media regime and reap the benefits that come along with it!

Author- Brunique Gould â€" Revenue Analyst â€" TrevPAR World.

TrevPAR World is a hospitality data analytics company that specialises in total revenue management as well as hotel distribution including sales, marketing and social media.

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