As soon as you enter a restaurant, whether a fast casual or a fine dining place, chances are that there’s a Big Brother-type system in place and its primary purpose is to watch you and your fellow customers. The system usually includes closed circuit cameras, or surveillance cameras, placed in strategic areas that monitor the actions of customers and employees alike. These cameras, among others, are used as tools to monitor that employees are following protocols and customers aren’t stealing.
But there’s a new tool in town that ups the ante on Big Brother-type surveillance in restaurants! Outback Steakhouse has implemented Presto Vision, a program that synchronizes with existing cameras and utilizes machine learning technology. The program analyzes video footage of the staff while working and interacting with customers with the statistics sent to managers for appropriate action.
Are you, a frequent Outback Steakhouse customer, afraid yet of the possible implications? Well, you don’t need to worry so much since the program neither uses facial recognition technology nor identify individual customers, not even collect personal information. Plus, the video footages are deleted –not archived, mind you – within three days of collection.
But don’t panic as not every restaurant uses such a high-tech system. Most restaurants use technologies that are designed to measure customer satisfaction, not spy on them, and these technologies include the following examples.
Overall Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
If you’ve spent quite some time online, you’ve likely come across an overall CSAT tool that takes a few minutes to complete. The most common CSAT tool is, of course, the survey form wherein customers rate their overall satisfaction for several aspects of their dining experience, from the food to the service. The survey usually gives a scale rating of, say, 1 to 10 so there’s no need to write short essays.
Despite the advent of online survey forms, many restaurants still use the pen-and-paper survey forms since these have their merits, too. Customers may prefer the pen-and-paper method because there’s a certain sense of it being more personal than the digital form, not to mention that not everybody has the time to actually deal with pop-ups and the like.
In the Internet Age, it makes sense for restaurants to get a feel of their customers’ satisfaction through online methods. Indeed, analyzing what’s being said by customers about restaurants is among the best methods in determining their satisfaction or dissatisfaction and the reasons for it. Many restaurants even have dedicated social media marketing teams to keep updated about trends, reviews and the like.
Every time you write a restaurant review on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among other websites, as well as use hashtags, tag people, and other actions, it will likely attract the attention of somebody. If you’re lucky or you have a large following, your review may even go viral and it’s something that the concerned restaurant can use to their advantage.
Did you know that Yelp is considered as the predominant review site in the United States today? Indeed, it’s the most commonly used review site and it’s where your reviews will likely be read by restaurants.
If you like a more personal review than that offered by surveys with their scale ratings, then a written review posted on Yelp will likely be up your alley. You can be as brief as you want or as lengthy as necessary depending on your proficiency with the language, your eloquence, and your personal preference. You can write largely about a single aspect of the restaurant, such as the quality of the food, or write in general about the food and drinks, the service, and vibe, even the value for money aspect.
Restaurants that advertise in Yelp can also answer your concerns or express their thanks for your positive review. This is also one way of measuring customer satisfaction and encouraging repeat business.
Average Transaction Size and Up-Sell Rate
If you’re satisfied with a restaurant’s food and service, you’re more likely to spend more on your next visit – or as restaurants call it, an increase in average transaction size and up-sell rate. You may choose pricier dishes on the menu, bring in more guests, or buy more upgrades or add-ons like cocktails, desserts and appetizers. You may also recommend the restaurant to your family and friends.
This is the reason why many restaurants use a reward system to encourage their customers to buy more or visit more. Each time you buy food or merchandise from the restaurant, perhaps even bring a friend, you will get a certain number of points. You can use the accumulated points for freebies, among other privileges, which will also serve as an encouragement to patronize the restaurant more.
The bottom line: Speak up! If you’re satisfied with the restaurant’s food and service, speak up. If not, then speak up, too. Your opinions will not be taken for granted – well, at least, not by the restaurants that actually care about their customers and their reputation.