3 Simple Steps That Play A Huge Role in Getting You Online Reviews!

We live in a world where almost everyone uses the internet to share experiences and information, a good review can boost your sales dramatically.  As a matter of fact, over 80% of all people who will visit your establishment will have looked up what you have to offer online; before stepping foot inside.

An online presence on its own isn’t enough for your business to thrive. Good reviews from your clientele is equally important to survive and excel in today’s market.

Here’s how your wait staff can help you get more reviews:

You Must Ask

Let us tell you off the bat that the easiest way to get more reviews is simply by asking! Every customer understands the fact that reviews are very important to your business. As long as you provide excellent service and they have a good time, your customers won’t ever be annoyed if you ask them for a review.

If, however, you take reviews online, a simple “Hey Jack! I hope you had a great time tonight. Please consider leaving us a review on insert-website-name! It will help us improve your experience” will be perfect.

Rather than paying bloggers and influencers to put in a good word for you online, you must encourage your happy customers to review you online too.

Your staff are your brand ambassadors

You must remember that your employees are your biggest assets, not your four walls. Encouraging them to have a direct involvement in the success of your restaurant will create a sense of belonging, as well as help you in the long run.

Train them in a way that they are comfortable in having personal interactions with your customers. A lot of your wait staff have the ability to build an instant rapport with your customers, that is actually a very good thing.

If your customers feel at home, it will be very easy for you to get better and genuine reviews online. Having excellent rapport with your staff will pave the way; for if they feel at home, they will make your guests feel comfortable!

Have regular staff meetings, listen to your employees and be open to new ideas. Always look at the bigger picture!

Flaunt Your Reviews on Social Media

Incentivising diners to leave reviews is often associated with bribery and that’s definitely not the way to get authentic online reviews. But if you promote reviews left by diners on your social platforms, they’ll be happy to get recognition and other customers would also be incentivized to do the same.

Reposting images taken by diners is a great way of showcasing your dishes. It also ensures that your potential customers know how happy your loyal clientele is and how good your food is.

The most valued partnership in any business is between the boss and the employees. It is the same for your restaurant. You need to make your staff feel at home and train them how to deal and interact with customers properly.

If your employees feel a connect – a vibe, if you believe, will, in turn, connect better with your customers and help you get better reviews and recommendations.

How to Tackle Customer Feedback – The Good, the Bad and the Fake!

We all know that customer feedback is an essential component that can make or break any restaurant business’s reputation. Now if you’ve been receiving great feedback, your brand will automatically be held in high regard. On the other hand, even one bad review can go viral and ruin your brand’s image.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to own your feedback! A lot of times, feedback on third-party platforms are fake and unreliable. If you record feedback before the diner leaves your restaurant, you will be able to find out what your weaknesses are, track your staff’s performance and figure out what people actually think about your restaurant.

If you are reviewing feedback responses on other platforms, it’s important to identify whether the review is good, bad or fake. Once you filter them, you can develop different approaches to respond to all of them. The key is to set a few basic responses and personalise them as per every review that comes in.

Here are a few interesting tips, on how to handle customer feedback; the good, the bad and the ugly:

Make Loyalists Out of Good Reviews!

Appreciation from diners always means they’re already impressed with you. Now if you respond to these reviews with a personalized message inviting them back, they might just come back with a group of friends, helping you reach a new audience effortlessly.

Studies suggest that 78% of the time, customers prefer quick responses to good reviews about your restaurant. Engaging responses and thoughtful ones that reflect the review itself are even better.

Depending on InResto’s suite of products, such as the InResto Feedback application, positive reviews will expand your chances of building a larger forum for such reviews. It is always beneficial to encourage positive feedback from patrons and loyal customers soon after their visit.

Handle Bad Reviews Gracefully

Understand that not all negative reviews are bad.

Yes, you read that right! There’s an old saying that goes like, “Sometimes, a loss is more nourishing.” A negative review will bring to your attention the weaknesses of your restaurant.

Nothing pleases your customers more than seeing the management actively working on feedback and making their experience even better! The harder you work and listen to them, greater are the chances of customers becoming regulars.

How to deal with the negative feedback though?

  • Accept your mistake.
  • Create a personalized apology message.
  • Invite them back to your restaurant ensuring their issue is resolved in the next visit.
  • Follow up and make sure that the problem does not persist.

Ensure Prompt Responses

If a bad review on a feedback form at your restaurant isn’t taken care of in time, there could be angry rants on social media platforms the next day.

In order to avoid that, you must monitor all your reviews digitally and ensure that nobody leaves your restaurant unhappy. How can you ensure that?

InResto Feedback is the answer to the above. Not only will the application provide the customer a hassle-free feedback-platform, it’ll also instantly notify you if a review is negative.

How to Sort out the Fake Ones:

Heard about The Shed at Dulwich in London? If a fake restaurant could top the list of TripAdvisor’s restaurants, then a fake review to mar your brand’s reputation is definitely a cake-walk!

Usually, fake reviews arise from competitors, disgruntled employees or ex-employees getting back at you! Your response to these reviews can be identical to that of a bad one. You must ask diners for their contact details and invite them back, promising a great experience. Usually, the ones who don’t respond are fake reviews, which you can stop pondering over.

Although you must have a well-sought out manner for catering to feedback, your best bet would definitely be inResto Feedback. You can record all reviews digitally, and in case there’s a negative review, you get an alert immediately which leaves enough room for real-time grievance redressal. So, with inResto feedback, never let a diner walk out unhappy!

Offline marketing for restaurants

7 Offline Marketing Strategies Every Restaurant Must Adopt!

As digital marketing techniques have taken over the world, we often forget the offline efforts that need to be made to sustain the online ones. If you’ve gone all out with social promotions, support it with these on-ground marketing tactics:

Food Festivals

Whether it’s standing out of the crowd, approaching new clientele, interacting personally with customers or trying out new menus, food festivals are great avenues for getting word out about your restaurant. So, reach out to a wider and more diverse audience, and flaunt your USP to get more and more eyeballs.

Never Ignore PR

Looking at paid press or inviting some food critics to put in a good word for you in the papers? You must never ignore bloggers and social media influencers, along with hosting events. Everybody makes an effort to get highlighted by the press, but sometimes you get picked up organically. If it’s for positive reviews, you must showcase it in every way possible, and if you get beat up over something, you’ve got to respond to it immediately. One good practice to follow here would be to get notifications, through Google alerts, whenever your restaurant is in news.

Make Alliances

Getting into a partnership with another brand is a great way of tapping into a new audience and interacting with potential diners. For instance, Book My Show has started offering complimentary restaurant vouchers at cafes near movie halls. Dineout offers visibility on a new platform, promotions through events and other avenues besides much more. So, making an alliance that’s mutually beneficial, with an irresistible deal, would definitely get you a new set of diners.

Guerrilla Marketing

Advertising in an unconventional manner in a public space to attract eyeballs is what Guerrilla Marketing is all about. You can target billboards, vending machines, bus stands, park benches, etc. The main agenda here would be to have something so creative that it makes people stop, stare and remember. Run a campaign and club it with an exciting offer to attract a new audience.

Host An Event

If you invite a popular musician or DJ, you’re indirectly inviting their fan base to your restaurant. Events create a buzz on social media and, thanks to loyal fans, it also leads to massive word-of-mouth marketing. Apart from popular artists, you can also host Karaoke or Sufi nights to get music fanatics to your restaurant. Events can always be curated as per the clientele you’d like to lure in. For instance, Trend Bar & Kitchen recently hosted a Wine & Sangria Festival to attract wine lovers.

Discounts & Loyalty Programs

Promoting discounts online is usually to get new diners, but if you’re able to impress the existing crowd in your restaurant with a great offer or loyalty programs, you can make them regulars. A great example here would be TGIF. Their Rs 99 cocktail menu, Rs 199 2-course lunch and everyday Happy Hours. These offers could be anything ranging from 1+1 on food or dirt cheap alcohol; they’re the real crowd pullers.

Apart from regular offers for everyone, personalized offers for people on their birthdays and anniversaries can also win you some loyal diners. A personal message or invite voucher to your diner can really go a long way sometimes.

Branded Glassware

Rather than branding, a lot of restaurants opt for unique cutlery which gets eyeballs. But whatever said and done, it’s essential to get branded tableware as when people post pictures on social media, others can easily identify your brand. A great example here would be The White Owl Brewery’s beer glasses.

So, whether it’s bringing your A game forward at food fests, handling the press promptly, employing branded cutlery all around or focussing on eye-popping guerrilla marketing; you’ve got to master offline marketing to support all the digital effort.

Restaurant

3 Ways to Reduce the Table Turnover Time & Increase Sales at Your Restaurant!

The weekend is here, and along with it comes the huge trail of customers lined outside your restaurant desperately waiting to party over dinner and drinks. While peak hours increase your sales, they also increase the chances of chaos, frustration and conflict. No customer likes to wait, and don’t think much before heading over to another restaurant.

The careful balance we have to strike is between keeping our customers engaged and happy while ensuring we serve as many tables as possible and rake in as much revenue as we can from peak hours. We have some great ideas on how you can make that happen.

  • Make the most of peak hours

The maximum footfall restaurants encounter is usually between 8pm and 11pm. If you could save 10 minutes on an average for seating the customer, placing the order and then clearing the bill. This can help you save up to 30 minutes a table, allowing you to add one more table to your service during peak hours. This can give you a 30% increase in revenues during peak time alone, and an increase of 10% to the overall business.

That can be quite a significant part your growth strategy in the long term. But it’s easier said than done. Here are a few ways to make this happen:

  • Pre-assign table for a hassle-free transition between the guests in-waiting and the ones dining
  • Only accept walk-in customers to avoid dealing with no show parties from advanced reservations.
  • Keep track of the group sizes on your waitlist and rearrange your tables to cater to those that show up most frequently. For example, if groups of four diners are frequently waiting at your door, it may be a sign that you don’t have enough tables that seat four people. See if you can reorganize your tables to cater to this need.
  • Train your staff to politely ask if diners need anything else and then place the bill on the table quickly if the answer is “no”. If diners still don’t leave the table, it’s perfectly acceptable to go up to them and explain there are people waiting for the table.
  1. 2. Schedule your service staff effectively

Nothing is more irritating for hungry customers than waiting for waiters to come take their orders. Working out a strategy that helps your staff operate hassle-free with effective management of tables at the restaurant can save a lot of time. inResto Dine-in is an app that has a ‘Buzz waiters’ feature, with which diners can call the waiter by simply pushing a button that notifies them to come to the diner’s table. This saves a lot of time for both the diner and the waiter.

  1. 3. Keep your menu interesting, compact and online

The longer your menu, the longer is the time taken by your diners to make a decision. Give them options in the form of specials but keep the menu short, helping them land on a decision quickly. You could even consider digital menus which provide the customers the ease of ordering their meal on their smartphones. Decisions can be made quickly with the help of images and reviews by other diners. Moreover, digital menus give customers the liberty to decide their order while still waiting for their table. Then, they can order as soon as they are seated, without even having to wait for the staff. This can speed up your service significantly.

We admit, these strategies are a lot to handle. They take time, attention to detail and scrutiny of a wide range of factors.

However, there is an easier way. InResto’s suite of products – especially inResto Reserve, inResto Guest and inResto Dine-in – help you manage your rush hour queues, handle customer walk-ins, organize table reservations, analyze waitlist data, speed up the ordering process, and much more, to effectively increase the overall productivity of the restaurant.

Facebook Tricks

7 Facebook Tricks Your Agency Won’t Tell You!

You might have tried every trick in the book, but if you’re still not gaining new followers on Facebook, you’ve really got to rethink your current strategy. Showcasing your dishes, restaurant interiors and broadcasting events are some of the most common tactics, but you really need to go beyond these basic practices to stand out.

Share 360 Degree Photos & Videos

Showcasing your restaurant through interior shots is now passé. The new trend is to put up short videos of your restaurant as the cover image or to have a 360 degree image of the restaurant. All you need to do is; use a 360-degree camera to capture a panorama photo and then upload it as a regular image. Facebook’s algorithm would automatically convert your image into an interactive one.

Get Table Reservations Straight From Your Page!

It’s time to upgrade your “Call Now” button on your Facebook page to a “Book Now” one! Some reservation management systems, like inResto, can now put a Booking widget on your Facebook page, through which your followers can reserve their tables. All those reservations can then be tracked and managed through the inResto app. If the bookings reflecting on inResto are unattended, we’ve have our concierge team to take care of them too. As of now, we’ve powered Facebook booking widgets for over 400 restaurants.

Go Live!

Whether you’re sharing a sneak peak of your kitchen or your chef talking about your signature dish, live videos on Facebook get a much larger viewership as compared to normal photos and videos. In case of live videos you can add tailor-made filters, get live reactions from viewers, share it in a group or event besides much more. It’s a really good medium to share your brand’s personality. You can also make a very professional live video using Facebook API.

Ride the Trend

Recently, the liquid nitrogen fiasco in Sector 29, Gurgaon, India, was all over the news, and anybody who talked about the matter would get noticed. So, major news in the F&B industry or even simple topics like National Egg Day or National Whiskey Day could get you eyeballs if you tried a small engaging activity around it. It could be something as simple as a post, sharing a recipe or promoting a special dish available at your restaurant.

Share A Recipe

Offering an interesting cooking tip or an easy recipe could also hook your followers to your page. You needn’t spill the beans on your signature dish, but even if your chef gives a recipe of “How to make pancakes in 5 minutes” or DIY tacos, it would keep the ball rolling. All you need to do is give them something distinct, delightful and useful. Pro tip: The more decadent the food, the better.

Go Behind The Scenes

Flaunt your staff and chef to your audience through Facebook in different ways. You can shoot a short video of your signature dish being prepared or give a snippet of your daily kitchen regime. It portrays that you’re transparent and have a dedicated team behind your restaurant’s success.

Target & Retarget Diners Through Ads

Running facebook ads won’t be any good until you’re targeting the right audience. Facebook allows you to create your very own custom audience based on locations, age groups, interests, etc. You can also run special campaigns to retarget users who’ve visited your page. This is a great way of creating recall and if your offer or creative is catchy enough, users who’ve shown interest before would definitely pay you a visit!

If you’re apprehensive about what will work, let us tell you how Dineout achieved 6X increase in bookings, 80% lower cost per conversion, 3X increase in return on ad spend and 5X growth in overall diner base. The secret behind our growth was personalization and more importantly understanding at what point customers were turning away. After closely looking at the roadblock and segregating the audience, it was just a matter of conveying a different message to custom audiences as per their needs.

Since Facebook included Dineout’s growth through ads as one of its success stories, we’re proud to say we know what worked for us and how!

Apart from these hacks, if you post interesting content, engage your followers via quizzes and giveaways, and respond to all comments, you’re already on top of the basic tactics!

6 Important Lessons All New Restauranteurs Must Learn

Exploring business opportunities in the restaurant industry is a big challenge for every entrepreneur or, as we like to call them, restauranteurs. With increasing competition in the food and beverages industry, opening a restaurant can be a roller-coaster ride unless you are well prepared. It’s no surprise that a number of restaurant start-ups close down after the first few months. Why, then, would anyone even dare to start a restaurant?  

In this blog, we will look at some of the factors that can save an entrepreneur from facing an early closure of his restaurant business. There are various factors that are not in control of the owner, but by avoiding these common mistakes one can increase their chances of success!

Accurately estimating funding and start-up costs

It’s a real struggle to get traditional bank financing for a restaurant start-up. It has forced entrepreneurs to look for other funding sources. A proper financial analysis to budget the initial capital and operating costs is a must. It’s best to overestimate the initial costs and be prepared for higher costs than originally planned. According to Strategic Hospitality Advisor, Rifaquat Ali Khan Mirza, restaurant owners “need to have a realistic expectation of expenses and profits over time. They need to plan out their finances more specifically.”

Location!

If the real estate dealer’s mantra is “Location, location, location”, so it must be for restaurateurs as well! A restaurant’s visibility and its ability to attract the target audience highly depends on its location. Many restaurant owners settle for a location that’s slightly off the beaten path just because of lower rent and end up losing their potential customers. “Make sure your location is the ideal balance of cost effectiveness and great visibility for your target audience”, says Rifaquat.

Investing in social media

The internet is one of the most influential tools for businesses to use, especially restaurants. Research says restaurants are one of the most searched industries online. Hence, the reason to start creating a powerful online presence is quite obvious  –  that’s where your customers are! Running paid promotions and campaigns, addressing complaints and having conversations on social media are all tremendously important to build enduring relationships with your customers.

Keep an updated menu system

Many restaurant start-ups go through stagnant or dwindling sales in the first few months. That’s when it’s essential to check your menu for outdated dishes and understanding what’s driving your customers’ taste buds. Having a robust feedback system from the beginning will go a long way at this stage. In times like these, it’s wise to consider investing in a POS system having integrated management features to help you update your menus and inventory on a regular basis efficiently.

Focus on proper employee training

Unprofessional behaviour and questionable skills of staff members often lead to the loss of many customers and untold revenue. According to Rifaquat “giving top-notch training to all employees minimizes the chances of such problems at the very beginning. Also, give the staff a certain level of autonomy to make decisions that enhance diner experiences, like offering a free drink with compliments of the house or some other value add towards service recovery, without you having to be around.”

Keep track of your inventory and accounts

A majority of restaurant start-ups usually lack a well-organized accounting system that results in mismanagement of resources and wastage of funds. To implement a system that performs with maximum efficiency, you need to track and categorize revenues and expenses of the restaurants accurately. It’s essential to integrate all of these with your inventory and POS systems to have meaningful financial reporting mechanisms to be on top of your numbers at all times.

We all make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them. If you are planning to open a restaurant or already have one, it’s time to consider these points as a checklist to increase your chances of success. There are a lot more points to be discussed on this topic, so watch this space for future articles.