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Blog at Chefify

How to Go Beyond the Expectations of Your Diners

Aug 5 2019 - 10:44am
According to Forbes, 17% of restaurants close within the first year of opening; this figure is particularly significant for smaller startups with 20 employees or less. If you fall into this category, differentiation is crucial in order to survive and thrive. Customers are overwhelmed with choice when it comes to eating establishments; this doesn't necessarily create a breeding ground for loyalty. So, the best way to boost your reputation and gain the support of your patrons is to go above and beyond. Too many restaurants float on mediocrity, but as the competition continues to increase, average ratings just won't do. With this in mind, let's take a look at how you can exceed the expectations of your diners and turn them into returning patrons.

1. Cater to the current market

Modern consumers have modern food requirements; these include lactose and glucose intolerance as well as a demand for vegan or vegetarian dishes. Ignoring these preferences not only isolates your businesses, but it may also be hugely disappointing to customers who are keen to experience the service and ambience in your establishment but can't find anything suitable on the menu. Diversify your offering to include dishes that are both healthy and inclusive of current market requirements. 

2. Personalise and customise

Millennials and Generation Z consumers are keen on personalisation and services that cater to their individual needs. Offering adaptable dishes and customised experiences within your restaurant is attractive to this demographic and very lucrative for your business. By connecting with your customers on a personal level, you are humanising the transaction and creating a unique experience for the customer that they will want to share with their friends on social media (free advertising for you) and keep them returning. 

For example, offer a special treat to customers who celebrate their birthday at your restaurant, offer loyalty schemes for frequent visitors and collect data that enables you to make relevant suggestions to your customer base when advertising on social media and the web. 

3. Environment and ambience

Generic decor and a school cafeteria vibe do not put you in a great position to charge customers premium rates. With more and more individuals choosing to order in and eat from the comfort of their own homes, your restaurant has to work harder to get clients through the door. A fantastic way to do this is by creating a unique and inviting environment. A few things contribute to this aspect:

  • Hygiene and cleanliness – Greasy tables, crusty cutlery and lipstick marks around your glasses are a surefire way to put customers off your restaurant for good. Making sure that everything is sparkly and clean will be greatly appreciated by many of your clients, so put in the effort and implement strict hygiene procedures for all your employees to follow. 

  • Decor – Put some thought into your restaurant's interior design. Small, personal touches on the table, interesting artwork on the walls and quirky furniture pieces will help customers to feel comfortable and engaged. If your restaurant is attractive on the inside, you'll find that many of patrons will be keen to share the exciting features online and enjoy spending their time in a space that has some creative flair to it.

  • Music and entertainment – Entertainment and dining go hand in hand. Yes, food is the main drawcard, but offering a fun or memorable experience to your customers will certainly delight them. 

4. Maintain quality and value 

If you have a signature dish that keeps customers coming back time and time again, don't be tempted to start swapping certain ingredients for cheaper alternatives; your customers will know, and they won't have anything good to say about it. 

It can be tempting to cut corners where possible or choose cheaper ingredients and materials to reduce your costs, but if you can avoid tampering with your food, you may prevent a lot of issues. Food quality should be your main priority; serving consistently delicious meals means you will never be in a position where you disappoint a customer who has come to expect one thing, yet gets dished up another. 

5. Keep your ear to the ground

Feedback, whether negative or positive, will only help you to strengthen your business. Showing customers that you listen, engage and take on board their concerns or praise is impressive to clients who want to feel heard. By inviting patrons to fill out surveys or promptly replying to reviews and comments regarding your establishment will show that you value feedback and seek to improve your service.  

6. Service that delivers 

Some businesses give off the vibe that their employees are very restricted in terms of how they can support customers; this only breeds contempt between employees and has a negative impact on the end-user. 

By empowering your staff to make on the spot decisions about how to improve a clients experience and educating them on the value of an excellent customer service strategy, you are ensuring that the people who are at the forefront of your business always represents your interests in the best possible way. 


Going beyond the expectations of your diners will help you to become a firm favourite in their books, and your table reservations should reflect this. Just don't forget that once you set the standard, you have to maintain it. So make sure that your team is entirely on board with the service you intend to deliver – at the front and back of house, that your branding and advertising is consistent with what actually happens when customers come to your restaurant and that you are able to repeatedly offer the same great experience to all of your customers.

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