These Three Restaurant Fundamentals Ensure Guest Happiness in Uncertain Times

We live in uncertain times – in a maybe-recession, maybe-not recession, maybe-shallow recession. 

In the big cities where most of my clients operate, restaurants experience softer sales.

Guests are spending, but that spending happens while on vacation in France, Spain, the Bahamas, Florida, Colorado, California, Galveston, the Gulf Shores, or Padre Island. 

When school goes back and normal traffic patterns resume, we know we will have a clearer picture. 

Meanwhile, our good friends at Yelp say searches for higher-quality experiences are increasing.  

So deliver those in your dining rooms. 

Answer These Questions with Complete Honesty


  1. How do you rate the quality of the guest experience in your restaurants?
  2. How do your guests feel when they finish dining at your restaurant?
  3. How many guests are motivated to come back again soon and tell their friends to do the same?

Matthew’s Three Fundamentals of Ensuring Guest Happiness

Guests – the only people who pay for anything in our restaurants – exist at the center of our universe. 

But focusing on their experience becomes forgotten in the battle of cost management, supply chain, technology, hiring staff, and enjoying the summer with your kids.

So do this:  

  1. Know your guests. Constantly improve guest experience as a result of guest feedback – truly know your guests. Have a funnel of information that runs from servers and managers to ownership. Actionable information must be gathered in shift meetings, weekly operations meetings, GM meetings, mystery shops, and surveys.   
  2. Know your competition. Know what your competitors do better than you. Take action on that information. Most restaurateurs I know tell me they know their competition. But when I ask them the last time they had a meal in a key competitor’s restaurant? It’s been years. Also, their idea of what brands they truly compete looks too broad.
  3. Boost training and education. Your workforce remains less experienced than they used to be, and needs more help to deliver the expected experience. Boost education and training to prevent you from essentially asking your guests for forgiveness as you charge them full price for a sub-standard experience. 

You have a choice: to either doom-scroll on your phone and read about all the problems in the world, which leads you to worry about uncertain times, or instead allocate time to work on making guests in your restaurant happier. 

In any economy, someone wins. It may as well be you. 

Over to you. How do you rate your organization in knowledge of guests and competition, and boosting training to accommodate newer and less-experienced team members?