How Your Restaurant Can Capture Customer Feedback

Are you listening to what your customers are saying?

Family having dinner together at table

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Would customers say your restaurant is a perfect 10 for food and service? If not, what is keeping it from being a 10? Asking for customer feedback is essential to gauge what is working at your restaurant and what needs improving. Feedback offers a way to identify and praise staff that do a good job and help those who are struggling to improve. There are many ways to capture customer feedback, from comment cards to social media. Negative feedback is never fun to receive, but it offers opportunities for improvement, while good feedback should be shared and celebrated with your staff.

Distribute Customer Comment Cards

How was everything? It is a common question that should be asked at every meal, to every customer. While some people will be blatantly honest if they aren’t 100% happy with their meal, not every customer feels comfortable complaining verbally if something is wrong. Offering a customer ​comment card at the end of a meal is an opportunity to gain valuable feedback, both positive and negative, about your restaurant. While it’s never fun to hear what people don’t like, comment cards give you an opportunity to make improvements. Comment cards are also a way to receive really good feedback about the food and service, offering an opportunity to celebrate.​​

Use Social Media for Customer Feedback

There are many different ways to use social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest for customer service. Like printed comment cards, social media sites are an opportunity for customers to share their experience at your restaurant. Unlike paper comment cards, which only you and perhaps your staff read, comments on Facebook or Twitter are broadcast to a large audience, almost instantaneously. It is great for good comments but can be detrimental if someone complains. The key to enhancing your restaurant’s customer service through social media is consistency. If you receive a negative comment on one of your social networking sites, don’t be afraid to address it, just as if you were talking with the person. Often times if one follower complains, a half dozen more come to the defense of a business, sharing their own positive stories.

Use Good Feedback to Your Advantage

If you receive good feedback about your staff, be sure to share it. Let them know you appreciate their hard work and dedication. Try posting positive comment cards in a visible place for staff to read. You could even encourage some healthy competition among your wait staff, offering some sort of reward for whoever receives the most positive feedback within a week or a month. Rewards don’t always have to be money. Try offering movie tickets or a gift certificate to other local businesses as a reward for the person with the most positive comments.

Address Negative Feedback 

There are two ways restaurants can look at negative feedback: as a problem or as an opportunity. If you are receiving complaints about a certain server or the food is taking too long during a certain cook’s shift, speak with that person. As far as individual customer complaints - most likely, you won’t be able to address every single complaint – but you can address every person who gives you feedback. If someone complains there aren’t enough vegetarian options on your menu (and you know that vegetarian just doesn’t sell at your establishment), you can still let that person know you appreciate their feedback and will take it into consideration. You probably won’t be able to accommodate every request, but you can make every customer feel valued.