What is really important to the guests and how they decide to which restaurant to go.
The way people find a restaurant has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. A restaurant has always had its regulars and walk-in customers. If it wanted to have more customers then they distributed flyer in the neighborhood or made an announcement in the newspaper.
With the introduction of information technology, this principle was completely turned upside down. More than 80% of people currently inform themselves online before they visit a restaurant. Most restauants however do not provide these potential guests with the relevant information. Instead, thousands of people daily evaluate, describe and illustrate restaurants on numerous platforms such as Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook or Instagram and the restaurants do not even notice it.
These factors determine the choice of a restaurant:
Distance to restaurant
If a restaurant is too far away, the probability of visiting it is smaller. However, there is one exception – if the other 4 factors are superior, then the guest will accept the longer journey.
menu and pictures of the restaurant
Do guests find something on the menu that appeals to them immediately? If so, then this point has also been chopped off. On the one hand, it’s about the situational, personal preference, but also about the special something. Realistic images of the food let the guests decide faster and better. In the end, the restaurateur also benefits from this, since expectations are in line with reality and so fewer dissatisfied customers and thus poor ratings are produced. The pictures taken by the guests themselves, which can be found on Google, are very often unattractive, partly coming from another restaurant and above all often outdated.
Price level in the restaurant
The reason for the restaurant search usually determines the restaurant category. A look at the lunch menu with prices between 4 Euro and 7 Euro is certainly a good option for a lunch among colleagues. A price range between 10 euros and 20 euros is more like a business lunch where you want to give your customer a good feeling. Does the customer the prices in the search are not, so he will choose less probably for this restaurant.
Pictures of the restaurant
What do the rooms and outside areas of the restaurant look like? Do I feel comfortable there as a guest, does it look suitable for the respective occasion and is there enough space for everyone who comes with me? Most guests simply imagine the situation they are in when they look at the pictures. If these pictures cannot be found online, the guest will not go to this restaurant.
The ratings on Google or the other portals are one of the most important decision factors for guests, but by far not the general one. The rating is an indicator of perceived satisfaction and quality. But we also know that bad experiences are more often posted than good ones. In the end, the question is always whether the guest’s expectations were in line with the restaurant’s communicated promise. Not everyone wants to spend 40 euros on an organic steak. Sometimes you just want to eat a simple fried herring.
What should caterers do to the ever growing group of „online“ guests?
The central element is the menu. It is not about the menu as it has been written and printed or as a PDF document, but about a real, digital menu.
This should provide information on all five building blocks presented above and be available online as a link on all relevant portals and websites.
Happz has developed an optimal online menu for restaurants according to the described principle. The system focuses on an easy-to-use portal with which restaurateurs can configure and update their menus in the future.