How do I manage my restaurant’s customer journey?

The customer journey is an essential part of your customer experience. This will determine all the contact points your customer will interact with. This interaction must be positive and generate emotion in your customer. Your customer journey must be well thought-out. So let’s take a look at how to manage your restaurant’s itinerary.

How do I go about implementing a customer journey for my restaurant?

Your customer journey can begin in one of two ways. Either when your customer arrives at your restaurant, or when he or she first searches the Internet, the first contact will be your website. Today we’re going to look at the practical side of bringing it to your restaurant. The website will be the subject of a future article.

The customer journey can differ depending on the type of restaurant concept. For this article, we’ll take the case of a fast-food, café, bakery and food counter concept. As mentioned, your customer experience begins as soon as your customer arrives. This experience begins in front of your shop or restaurant window. A beautiful, clean and well-groomed shop window is already an invitation to come in and get to know you better. It is imperative to work on this often neglected aspect. I also know that sometimes the administration can put the kibosh on certain projects.

Manage my restaurant’s customer journey, your outdoor menu offer!

The other aspect your customer will be looking at is your exterior menu, which advertises your service offer. On the other hand, this aspect is really neglected and lacks obvious enhancement. Yet we can’t help noticing how many customers take the time to read the outside menu, but then decide not to come in. You’re lucky to have a tool that works 24 hours a day for you. Even when you’re closed, people may find your menu interesting and come back the next day.

Your outdoor menu should be an experience in itself. It’s not a question of simply displaying a page of paper, but of creating an emotion. Certain information is essential to your customer’s decision-making process. From November onwards, and for several months to come, darkness begins to fall at 4.30pm. Lighting your outdoor menu is also part of your customer experience. It will catch the eye of your future customer and embellish part of your facade.

Once again, most of us are attracted by a beautiful window display. To enhance the experience, it could be decorated according to the seasons, a menu, the calendar (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day…) There’s no shortage of opportunities to be creative.

When your customers come into your restaurant, café, food counter or other establishment, they’ll start their customer experience at the front door, so try to differentiate yourself not only from them, but also from your competitors.

How does my customer begin his journey?

Reception is another stage in your customer journey. What have you planned to welcome your customer? Depending on the type of catering concept, the welcome can be different. This may be a member of your staff who is responsible for providing a personalized welcome. If the customer has to go directly to the order and information point, the reception will have to be adapted accordingly. For example, for a fast food concept, café or food counter, the information point is our next step. Your customer arrives at the information point, which is often a menu board. Unfortunately, several small details could make the customer experience a little disappointing. The writing on the menu is sometimes too small or illegible. The lack of information forces your customer to ask many questions and can delay and lengthen the waiting time for other customers.

Information and order point

The information point is directly linked to the control point, which is usually supervised by a member of staff. Here again, this stage is sometimes abused. When asked different questions, the employee may find it difficult to convey or give the right information to your customer. I’d say it’s really damaging in terms of your image and, above all, your sales. You risk losing your customer forever and receiving a negative review. It’s essential to pay attention to this so-called relational stage. You need to ensure that the person who represents your company and your image is capable of delivering a memorable customer experience. Your customers will be even more loyal, and will become true ambassadors for your company, generating new customers.

Through all these steps, your menu is an important one. When your customer goes to pay for one of your offers, the rendering of your dish must once again be an experience in itself. The visual aspect of your recipe is important. Packaging is another step. It must be in keeping with your recipe and, above all, its price. Your customer can’t buy a dish for $25 and receive Styrofoam packaging, for example. Your packaging must be part of your marketing strategy.

Integrating eco-responsibility

You can also include the eco-responsible aspect in your customer experience. Whether it’s using biodegradable packaging, favoring short circuits, promoting locavorism and many other aspects. All these aspects will contribute positively to your customer journey. People will be sensitive to this.

The moment of invoicing is an experience in itself. it’s an integral part of your restaurant’s customer journey management. It is very often neglected and often a little dull. You have the opportunity to be creative and make your experience total throughout your customer’s buying process, right up until they leave. We’ve already mentioned it, but your staff is directly linked to your customer experience. How? Through their professionalism, helpfulness, courtesy, dress and knowledge of the company’s products and services. As you can see, creating a customer journey involves a number of challenges in order to achieve the highest possible level of customer satisfaction. So how do you go about creating your customer journey?

How do I build my customer journey?

You’ll need to list all the steps your customers will take in your restaurant. It’s a map that highlights the points of contact your customers will have with your various service offerings. Through this mapping, you’ll be able to assess your customers’ various expectations. These expectations will be given special attention in order to enrich its experience. You also need to be able to follow up on every step you decide to take. The follow-up will enable you to make any necessary adjustments.

If you are the subject of certain more or less negative comments, you can immediately find out if the remarks are well-founded and put the appropriate procedures in place. A negative comment is a good opportunity to enrich your customer experience. They’ll be all the more surprised and pleased to see your service improve over time.

How to manage my customer journey: in conclusion

You need to be able to stand out at different levels of your service. The right way to do this is to set up your customer journey. Word-of-mouth advertising will be based on the quality of your service. It will remain engraved in your customers’ memories. Don’t forget that they are your ambassadors and the best representatives of your catering concept.

Philippe Bertrand

Founder of the Quebec Restaurant Entrepreneurship Center

  • Master of Restaurant and Hospitality Management
  • Licence Rights-Economy-Management: Creating and taking over a restaurant

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