In the restaurant business, how many times do you think your clients believe that you've exceeded their expectations? Sometimes? Seldom? Never ?
How many times did you dine in another restaurant where it exceeded your expectations? It hasn't happened too many times to me, and I dine out a lot.
Dining at most restaurants is a totally predictable experience. Perhaps it's because this industry is very predictable, and it's difficult to be original. It requires thinking "out of the box" in an industry where most of the restaurant owners blindly follow each other's actions - not only in the way that they operate, but also in their marketing and advertising strategies. Or perhaps the reason is because most restaurateurs are too conservative to try anything new....
Sure your clients expect good food and good service at reasonable prices. Every restaurant should give them at least that, but what about surprising your clients with some unexpected extras?
They don't need to be expensive. Be creative: it's more a matter of thinking unconventionally and coming up with fresh and original ideas than about spending money.Here are some ideas for you to make your place stand out from the ordinary:
- Tell your chef to prepare some small appetizers that you could give (on the house) to your clients when they order drinks.
- Ask your waiters to replace the napkins when somebody leaves the table to go to the bathroom or to make a phone call (your clients would be greatly surprised when they come back!)
- Buy flowers one night, and give one rose (or some other nice flower) to each woman who is having dinner in your restaurant. I can guarantee you that they would beg their spouses or companions to take them back to your place.
- Give out a small complementary liquer at the end of the dinner to people who ordered any alcoholic drinks.
- Give your clients a little container with a sample of a special house sauce, so that they can take it home and use it in their own dishes.
- Bring some special (off menu) wine to some regular clients who usually appreciate and order your wines. Charge them the same as their regularly ordered wine, even if the special wine is more expensive.
- Call a taxi and pay the fare to take a client who drank too much home. Tell them that they can come back the following day to pick up their car.
These are inexpensive ways for you to pleasantly surprise your clients. These little things will exceed their expectations because they don't get it anywhere else, and therefore they are not expecting them.
But don't always do the same things - or they will become routine. Come up with your own ideas, always new, always fresh and unexpected. The sky is the limit!
And what if you don't have a great imagination? What can you do then?
Easy, just tap into your staff's brains. Remember, you are not alone in your business.
Explain to your employees that you are aiming for exceeding your client's expectations, and you want to organize an idea contest among your staff. Give them some examples (you can use my suggestions or come up with your own) about the kind of inexpensive ideas that you want to implement.
Don't be cheap - give a prize to the person who gives you the best ideas. A bottle of wine from your cellar or some products from your distributors or even a gift certificate to give to their families and/or friends, if that would make them happy.
Not only will your clients love your place, but you will also make your restaurant unique, and invite your clients to repeat their visits by looking forward to being "surprised" along with enjoying their dining experience.
I hope that this information was useful to you.
Feel free to contact me if you have any feedback or questions for me~Jose L Riesco ~ Happy Sailing, You can participate in the forums in my web site at Restaurant Marketing Strategies or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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