Why people never return to the restaurant, let’s find out! When customers repeat a visit to a restaurant it means that they have found your restaurant worth a second visit. According to studies repeat customers help restaurant owners maximize their revenue. They also offer the benefit of the word- of- mouth advertising because if they have liked a restaurant, the food and the ambiance they are likely to recommend it to others.
However, if a restaurant is not successful in getting repeat customers then you need to assess your restaurant premises, kitchen, bathroom, and operations as well as the raw foods, ingredients, oils, and fats you are using in your food preparations. Getting supplies only from retailers that have their products tested regularly adds a positive dimension to your concerns about food safety. Getting your own raw foods, vegetables, meats, ingredients, and oils tested regularly in a NABL Certified Laboratory will ensure you are following regulations and customer requirements for healthy and safe food options. Regular self – inspection or getting reliable consultants to check for regulatory lapses will also ensure that your restaurant is in compliance with FSSAI’s regulatory requirements for food quality, safety, hygienic and sanitation standards.
There are a number of vocal customers who don’t shy away from complaining about what they have not liked in the restaurant so you can rectify that, but most often customers leave silently and never return. If you own a restaurant then look at these top five reasons which suggest why some restaurants do not get repeat visitors and see how well you match up to consumer expectations.
Ambiance and clean facilities matter most
When visitors come to a restaurant for the first time they look around and notice the ambiance. If they like the ambiance and the restaurant has no smell of stale air they are likely to sit down. Once seated, they’ll make a mental note of the state of the tablecloth, cutlery, and furniture generally. After placing the order they will probably look around and if they notice flies, cobwebs, cockroaches, mice or other creepy crawlies they’ll wonder if they have come to the right place. On visiting the rest-room if they find it dirty or not looking spick and span their opinion of the restaurant will fall down a notch or more, depending on the state of dirtiness.
A dirty bathroom is a reflection of a careless attitude and could lead visitors to think you are equally careless about the cleanliness of the kitchen, the hygiene practices of cooking and serving staff will be suspect as well as the restaurant itself. An unclean restaurant is remembered by customers for a long time and is cited as one of the most compelling reasons for not visiting a restaurant ever again. At the same time, they will also remember with pleasure a clean restaurant and head for that one a number of times and for a number of reasons including celebrations. Imagine the kind of revenues you are likely to lose out on if you do not pay heed to the cleanliness of your restaurant premises.
Good food quality
After cleanliness, if there is something that is the biggest turn off for customers at a restaurant, it is the quality of the food. If the menu choice does not appeal to the customer and there are not enough healthy options, health-conscious customers are not likely to pay a second visit. These days a number of people have become vegans or prefer organic foods so it’s good to have as varied a menu as possible to please all customers. If the food is undercooked, does not look appetizing, has a lot of oil floating in it or if it comes with extraneous matter like hair, insect wings, etc. and is served cold it is not going to go down well with the visitors.
Undercooked and contaminated food that contains extraneous matter is unsafe for human consumption as it might cause a health hazard. So if visitors fall ill they are not likely to ever return. The standard of the food, portion size, presentation of the food must match the price you have on the menu. The condition and quality of the serving dishes are equally important for an overall good food experience for repeat visits. Investment in a good chef and kitchen staff with high hygienic standards in food preparation can make a lot of difference to the numbers and number of repeat customers.
Sloppy customer service
A restaurant that serves good food and offers good service is one that will see crowds coming in at every meal. If the waiting staff is not well trained, speak impolitely and are discourteous, are slow in taking orders, have an untidy and dirty turnout, have nails that are not clean and keep touching their hair and faces or are coughing and sneezing in between serving food then they are likely to turn repeat customers away. Untrained, untidy and unhygienic staff means that you are offering the customer poor service and that is bound to reflect on the reputation of your restaurant. Also if the waiting period for an order to materialize takes longer than usual and others, who come in later, are served ahead of those waiting, it is bound to irritate and anger the waiting customers enough for them to not come back again.
Inconsistency in menu
Customers visit your restaurant because they have liked the food you served earlier because of a particular flavor they enjoyed. On their second visit when they find that the standard, presentation, flavor, and taste of the food are different from what they had partaken previously, they will be disappointed enough to not return. Quick service restaurants, fast food eateries are popular for this reason because they replicate the exact taste and flavor every time.
It is important to ensure that you have under-trainees for your main chef. If by chance the chef is ill the others must be trained enough to make an exact replica of the foods on the menu. It is possible that customers come with important clients to the restaurant because their first experience was good. If they are embarrassed in front of their valued customers because of poor service, inconsistence menu, dirty table etc. they will never come again. To top it your restaurant will be given bad publicity by the customer as well as the clients. If you want repeat customers you have to give your best each time they visit as inconsistency can cost you visitors and there is no dearth of other restaurants people can visit.
Personalisation and loyalty
Repeat customers like to be recognized and greeted by the staff warmly and if that does not happen they feel disappointed that is not being acknowledged. Personalised attention, greeting them by name and remembering what food dishes they like goes a long way in ensuring they visit again and again. Restaurants that get repeat customers often have a loyalty programme like a discount. First-time customers are also sometimes given discount coupons so they return for another visit.
It is also important that if customers have issues you need to resolve them before they leave your restaurant so there is 50/50 chance of their returning instead of none. Dissatisfied and unhappy customers can hurt your restaurant’s reputation the most through negative word-of-mouth publicity. They have the potential to bring your restaurant disrepute and this can have a cascading effect. They will tell one person or a group, that one or each one in the group will tell another group or other people and so on and so forth. Therefore address service, menu or other issues immediately before the unhappy customers spread the bad news around besides never coming back.
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