Consumers have never had so much choice when it comes to dining out. So how do you convince them to choose your establishment?
According to Datamonitor surveys, opportunities exist to improve customer confidence in selecting somewhere to eat – largely by helping them feel more informed about your café or restaurant.
Datamonitor found intuitive layouts, clear pricing and nutritional information, and a friendly environment with helpful service are useful in establishing consumer confidence. They also noted the significance of “storytelling” in the marketing of a business.
This storytelling is especially important in a society where millennials make up a significant portion of the restaurant-going public.
As marketing expert Michael Parrish Dudell told MNN, millennials crave information.
"You have to remember, this a generation that was raised on unfettered access - access to ideas, information, knowledge, data, etc."
- Marketing Expert Michael Parrish Dudell.
“At the same time, millennials expect more from the brands they support and in many ways are savvier consumers.
“This has created a perfect storm or, as I like to think of it, a perfect opportunity for businesses of all shapes and size to have more authentic conversations with their audience."
But the work doesn’t end once you’ve convinced a customer to choose your restaurant.
Impressing those consumers as soon as they walk through the door is all-important for both repeat business and attracting new customers through word-of-mouth.
Datamonitor’s surveys found the personal touch was important for consumers in deciding on somewhere to dine.
When asked “Which factor has the most influence on your choice of restaurants,” 35% of those surveyed said “Somewhere I have visited before and know I like,” while 32% relied on a recommendation from friends or family.
Datamonitor concluded that despite an avalanche of restaurant review sites available, traditional word-of-mouth recommendations remained king, with recommendations from peers three times more likely to be a key influence than a favourable online review from a stranger.
“Knowing the reviewer seems essential,” they say.
Therefore, the old adage of creating a good first impression on a customer remains true.
As Datamonitor says: “The foodservice industry is besieged by a number of marketing gimmicks but they are ultimately nowhere near as powerful as making consumers enjoy their first consumption experience once they are through the door.”
Datamonitor Consumer Insight; 10 Trends to watch in Foodservice