How to Improve Your Restaurant with Customer Surveys

Every guest who comes into your restaurant should have the same incredible experience that you set out to give them. But how can you really know what customers want or expect, and how can you be sure that they’re having the time that you hope they have? The easiest way to be sure of all this is to simply ask them.

Guest feedback reveals the difference between how you think your operations work versus how they actually come off to the consumer. You may think you’re making the smartest business decisions only to find that your most loyal customers actually want something different. Survey questions put the power of change into their hands by letting them choose and convey what’s important to them, so you know exactly how to satisfy your customers.

How do you get feedback?

There are different avenues for inviting customer feedback after a meal. Some restaurants include a web link at the bottom of the receipt where customers can fill out a survey from home, and you can program some self-service devices to prompt a quick survey after the transaction goes through automatically.

Still, you need to ask the right questions. Tailor your surveys to shed light on your strengths and weaknesses, but be careful: People don’t want to fill out long questionnaires, and two- or three-part questions will likely result in them skipping it altogether. Use a mix of multiple choice, yes or no, and open-ended questions so the survey doesn’t feel tedious.

Understandably, you’ll want to ask them everything about how to improve your business, which makes paring down difficult. Just because you can’t dump everything into one survey doesn’t mean you can’t get all the answers you crave. Rather, rotate out your questions so each guest gives a few vital answers, and multiple surveys come together to give you a fuller picture of the effectiveness of your service.

Now, you need to figure out what you want to ask in order to hone in on your restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses.

What should you ask?

The most important questions to ask at the top of every customer survey is: What was the best part of your visit? What was the worst?

These are the most crucial because they cut right to the heart of customers’ expectations, and whether you’ve failed or succeeded to meet them. You can split the remainder of your questions into a few categories to make sure you’re hitting the rest of the bases.

General

These are the preliminary queries that tell you a bit about the customers themselves.

  • How did you hear about us?
  • Is this your first visit? If not, how often do you come by?
  • What’s the likelihood that you’ll return?
  • Would you recommend this restaurant to friends? If not, why?
  • Is the facility disability-accessible and accommodating?
  • Were you comfortable?
  • Were the bathrooms and facilities clean?

You can also use this part to ask if they think your hours are amenable, if they found the restaurant family-friendly, how far they traveled to come here, if they’re here for any special occasion or if they’re open to any new ideas that you’re considering. If you’re debating a wine list, reservation system or adding something special to the menu, run it by some customers first and get an idea what they like. You can even ask them about the music and ambience if you’re really inclined to tailor the experience to as many guests as possible.

Food and Drink

Here’s where you can get more in-depth about your products.

  • Rate the food. (Use a 1-5 scale or whichever metric you prefer.)
  • Were the drinks satisfactory?
  • Was there something you wanted to order that wasn’t on the menu?
  • Did everyone in your party find something they wanted?
  • Rate the range of menu options.
  • Were all dietary restrictions met and handled to your satisfaction?

If there’s anything else you want to know, like specific feedback on a new dish you’re trying out, then now is the time to dig deep into customers’ individual opinions on matters like that.

Service

Rank the competency and effectiveness of your workers so you can streamline labor costs and manage your workforce to optimal efficiency.

  • How was your server? Were they friendly and accommodating?
  • Did the food come out quickly?
  • Was it served to your expectations and liking?
  • Did you experience any issues during your visit, and if so, did your server handle it well?

These questions will help you hone in on your most, and least, hardworking employees so you have more information when it comes to writing up employee reviews, determining promotions and pay, and seeing which areas of the business the team needs more training on. These questions help trim away the fat so you’re left with the best of the best.

Technology

Tech is such a critically important component of modern restaurants that you don’t want to neglect it in your assessment of the customer experience. You want to make sure that it’s working correctly but also that customers find all these devices easy to operate and understand.

  • Was checkout efficient?
  • Was the kiosk easy to use? Why or why not?
  • If you ordered online, how quickly did your food arrive? Was it presentable and to your satisfaction?
  • Which online provider did you use (if you have your own delivery platform and also partner with third party services)?
  • Did you use a discount or promo code?
  • Are you part of our loyalty program? If not, would you like to join?

Advanced Point of Sale systems, like the one powered by eatOS, integrate questions like these directly into the checkout experience so it’s the natural conclusion to every meal. You can automatically prompt the survey on receipts, over text or email, or during checkout so you’re sure to get feedback from all your customers equally, not just the ones who are already loyal.

Survey questions are one of the most important metrics for determining guest satisfaction and managing customer relationships. Working to optimal efficiency means meeting and exceeding expectations wherever possible. Schedule a demo with eatOS to learn more about how our Point of Sale makes every aspect of the customer experience a breeze.

Editor's Picks