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What drives diners decisions

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What drives diners decisions

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When it comes to the guest experience, each guest is different with the decisions they make and what they expect which can of course make it difficult for restaurants to get it right when attempting to cater to all needs. Saying that, our latest survey in which we asked our panel of mystery guests about their latest dining experience, does show some trends in certain areas. We share results based on diner decisions made before and during their visit.

In terms of what encouraged guests to visit in the first place, word of mouth came out on top for 34% of guests where a friend or colleague made a recommendation. 28% of simply thought about going to the restaurant whilst at home and 24% decided whilst they were at work which indicates the majority had visited the restaurant before.

When it comes to research, 67% of guests looked at the restaurant menu before their visit with almost half of guests (49%) checking out the restaurants website and prices before visiting. 33% also looked at online review sites such as Trip Advisor prior to their visit.

48% of guests turned up without booking a table. Of those that did book, 45% booked over the phone, 40% via the restaurant’s website and 8% via a third-party website, with 28% booking en route. 4% actually walked in to make a booking.

When asked for what occasion guests last ate out, 44% had a casual get together with friends or family, 24% had an informal meal that wasn’t planned and 17% celebrated a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.

When guests arrived at the restaurant, 75% paid attention to the interior and design of the restaurant and 72% said the atmosphere and ambience was important to them. In terms of staff interaction, 78% were greeted by staff, with 73% being shown to their seat. 86% of guests said they always expect to be greeted on arrival and 83% expect to be shown to their seat, indicating there is room for improvement with this particular element of the guest experience.

In terms of the food, 33% were interested in the specials and 75% said there was enough menu choice overall, however only 56% thought there were enough drink options. 39% of guests had a clear idea of what food they were going to order before seeing the menu and this was the case for 33% of guests when it came to drinks.

Out of the 31% of guests whom asked a member of staff questions about the menu or for recommendations, only 6% of guests actually changed their mind on what to order based on this. This was the case for 5% when it came to drinks. Overall, team members impacted what 17% of guests ordered, with 67% of guests not being impacted at all so perhaps operators should focus on upselling opportunities.

When it comes to payment, only 6% paid cash, with 78% paying with card, 13% of which was contactless. Just 1% paid via a mobile app.

In terms of shouting about their dining experience, 51% told family and friends and 39% shared nothing. 10% shared photos of their experience on social media with 6% ‘checking in’ on their social media accounts.

We asked what the 10 most important factors were when it comes the restaurant experience:

1. Quality of food

2. Overall customer service

3. The price of food

4. The cleanliness of the venue

5. The atmosphere and ambience of the venue

6. The range of food

7. The presentation of food

8. Speed of service

9. The price of drinks

10. The authenticity of the food

When service isn’t so good, what do guests do? A surprising 45% have walked out of a restaurant. This was mostly due to slow service, particularly before ordering with some guests waiting up to an hour to be served. Some guests didn’t even get to that stage and waited too long to be greeted so left.

To find out how your guest experience matches up, get in touch today to discuss how we can support you in measuring and improving your guest experience on 01225 470999.

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