Your Dining Room: Don’t Work it Like a Car Salesman

Recently I had the pleasure of buying a new car.

I did not have a choice—mine got totaled. (We are fine, by the way. No injuries.)

Having no idea what I wanted, that meant interacting with lot of car dealers and a lot of car salespeople.

Four strange things happened:

  1. Two salespeople I met gave me their card (I asked) but did not ask for mine.
  2. Two other car salespeople I test drove with entered my contact information in their system—but I never heard from them again.
  3. One also took my info and called me – a month later.
  4. Another told me they would have a car I was interested in coming in a week. I never heard from them again.

I began to think this was some sort of strange psychological game where, by ignoring me, they thought I would want them even more.

You know, like dating.

One dealer did promote “no pressure.”

No pressure? The water was barely coming out of the faucet!

Connecting to Your Guest Is the Key to Restaurant Success

So what does this mean to you, my community of successful owners of independent multi-unit restaurant groups?

I want to remind you that your guest, your customer, wants to know you, hear from you, and have a relationship with you.

The last thing they want to feel? Ignored.

Too many restaurant companies get so tied up in process (how they do things) and profit (how much money is left over) that they forget about the guest—at their peril.

I see restaurateurs who underutilize their greatest advantage: that they can go to their dining rooms on any shift and see their end user.

In our modern economy, very few people can do that.

The most successful restaurant owners talk to guests, forge relationships, and get information about why they chose you over the competition.

This boosts revenue – guests increasing frequency of visits, telling their friends, staying loyal, and spending more.

That’s true whether you have one restaurant or 51.

On the extreme, I have even seen weekly operations meetings where no one mentions the guest.

And training programs that designate management responsibility for guest experience but offer no information on how to do that—or metrics for success.

What Will the Guest Contact Advantage Do for You?

When you use the guest contact advantage in everything you do, you stop ceding territory to the competition.

Focusing on the guest—above everything else—is your key to increased revenue, profit and net worth.

When you get better at this, what results can you expect? How do you start?