Successful Fast Casual Restaurants Are Not Just About Food

Fast casual restaurants are on the rise in the United States and it’s growing no matter how you look at the numbers. The fast-casual dine-in restaurant sector grew 5.4 percent in 2018, easily out-pacing any other sector, with fast casual customers increasing their visits by 3 percent – a significant rise since last year.

If you’re a fast casual establishment, what are some areas that can be improved to achieve even more success? Up your game and ensure you provide an exceptional dine-in experience for customers. Here are some simple ways to provide an amazing experience for dine-in customers that goes beyond delicious food.

Inviting Environment
The décor of a fast casual restaurant can be a huge factor for people wanting to go to your dine-in restaurant over your competitors. Have ambient music playing in your dine-in restaurant. The music shouldn’t be playing too loudly over the speakers but should be a soft undertone that allows the customer to feel relaxed. Consider the dining room lighting and ensure it supports the brand of the business without being too bright or dark for guests. Use appropriate artificial lights or provide natural lighting to guests can read the food menus.

Great Customer Service
Any restaurant can have great food, but a major factor that separates great restaurants from the rest is the personalized experience for each customer. There are a number of ways to make every diner feel at home at a restaurant. Wait staff can address each diner by name or make suggestions for dishes based on someone’s dietary restrictions. You can also remember the drink orders of returning customers. Even just having an employee check on guests to make sure they are enjoying their meal can stand out in customers’ minds.

Get Customers Connected
Since we live in a world of social media, it is important for your business to connect to social media and review sites like Yelp, Facebook and Instagram. Restaurant reviews are influential to 55.5 percent of consumers, which shows just how important it is to gather and respond to reviews. High-quality reviews also mean a better ranking and exposure on local listings like Google or Yelp, but the main benefit of reviews may be that they provide incredible customer experience data.

Reviews are so valuable for customer experience data because they provide casual insights where the customer can say anything they want, and they provide the most accurate feedback that isn’t affected by the same structural biases that impact satisfaction surveys. And, once your guests realize your dine-in service is connected online, they are going to be more inclined to post pictures of their food to share and promote your business.

The foundation for increased customer retention and revenue starts with creating a great dining experience. By maintaining and improving the experience any restaurant can beat out the local competition and have customers lining up outside the building just to get a seat.