If a list is compiled of the most annoying trends or bugbears in a business sector, it is a handy opportunity for the customer-centric manager to run an inventory of how their business proposition stands up.
In the restaurant business, where customer advocacy is the most powerful form of marketing, being in touch with the zeitgeist is becoming ever more important. Social media represents a terrific opportunity to amplify word of mouth, while the upside is terrific, the downside can be detrimental. Against this backdrop, there is no doubt that leveraging customer insight is the best way to carve out opportunities and competitive advantage.
In 2011 Zagat came up with a list of the 10 most annoying restaurant trends To come up with the list they took suggestions from 30 people under 30 years old who highly regarded in the business, so these guys should know.
1. Communal Tables
2. “The Civil War” Look
3. Chalkboard Menus
4. Mustachioed Bartenders
5. “Gourmet punch”
6. Iceless Table Water
7. Pop-Up Restaurants
8. “Comfort-Food” Menus
10. Bread Baskets You Have to Pay For
Because this list was the most popular blog post Zagat had in 2011, last week they decided to give it a 2012 refresh, and here’s The list for 2012
1. Dogs in Cafes/Outdoor Restaurants
2. Tables Ridiculously Close Together
3. Overzealous Wine Pouring
4. Designer Ice
5. Enormous Wine Glasses
6. Ketchup Snobbery
7. Sparkling, Flat or Filtered Tap?
8. Unisex Restrooms
9. excessive punctuation/lower-case letters in restaurant names, menu items…!!
10. Wood-Infused Food
It’s no secret that owning a restaurant is a tough business and a primary concern for many restaurateurs is simply staying open for business. In order to do that, particularly in these challenging times, extra attention must be paid to customer engagement and voice of the customer initiatives.
Where possible, restaurateurs should take the opportunity to capture or log customer sentiment online, it makes it easier to track trends and is a neat way to build a rapport.
Restaurants are often an expression of the taste and preferences of the owner, and while it is nice to see the owner’s personality come out in what the service delivered, it is detrimental if this runs contrary to what the customer wants. Take the 2 lists above, for example, I have only taken the headings as they are fairly self-explanatory, what is clear, many of the items on both lists can be addressed quite easily, but failure to pay attention to issues like these will be costly in the long run.
Ken Blanchard the American author and Management expert famously once said that “Feedback is the Breakfast of champions”, a business where that most definitely holds true is the restaurant business. Savvy restaurateurs should look to key drivers of customer experience in every transaction, and continually look to determine the drivers of customer loyalty. This significantly increases the chance of positive word of mouth, which is unquestionably the best way to keep those seats filled.