I remember when I was in high school and this quirky new restaurant opened up about 2 miles from my parents’ house. Blue Sushi or something rather. It was an interesting concept with a thoughtful interior. It was the first time I started piecing together that dining was beyond the food, beyond the service, but an all-encompassing experience which included every touch point a customer encountered.
Little did we all know that this concept would start with just one restaurant and expand into other cuisines- successfully implementing and branding them all.
But here’s the thing. None of this was by accident.
In fact, there are a ton of things they do exceptionally well that all other businesses, namely restaurants, can learn from. Here are things I’ve personally noticed:
In-Store Experience is Huge
In addition to offering delicious food, they take the entire dining experience seriously. They care about how you order, when your food arrives, the decor fitting the theme, and they’re certain to fix any wrongdoings on the spot. And here’s the best part. They do it gladly.
Because they know that it is FAR cheaper to remake an undercooked chicken teriyaki than run the risk of someone giving them a less-than-favorable review on Yelp. They know that subconsciously diners are taking note of their surroundings and accounting them into the mental score they keep on a restaurant. They know that people don’t necessarily remember specifically what happened during their time there, but rather how they felt when they left their establishment.
By the way, that undercooked chicken was my personal experience once at a Baby Blue and they were quick to fix it.
Social Media is Always Hopping
Do you ever feel that some businesses have faceless social media pages and they only maintain them because “their marketing agency told them to?” It’s especially disheartening when you log into your favorite restaurant’s Facebook page and realize they haven’t posted in 6 months…
Flagship Restaurant Group manages and posts regularly to all their social media pages so it gives me, a customer, a reason to keep coming back. I love to see when they have specials, new offerings, or any promotions they have going on. These critical interactions are just one other way that businesses can engage with their clients and give a personality to their brand. People like talking to people.
Yes, yes I know that social media is thrown to the back burner when you’re too busy running the business, but don’t let it slip you by. It’s a great secret weapon when used correctly!
They Manage Their Reviews Like a Boss
Too many businesses ignore their reviews- the bad ones and even the good ones. Flagship Restaurant Group does not overlook this. I’ve seen countless times on Yelp when one of their brand managers has replied to a negative review OR replied to a positive review.
I’ve personally written a 5-star review for Plank Seafood Provisions because I was that impressed and to my pleasant surprise, they reached out and gave me a gift card in appreciation for my feedback. The note was personable, hand-written and arrived within a few days of them messaging me. I couldn’t help but share the experience on my social media. I can only imagine the ROI on their $25 gift card (on me) went much further than it’s worth.
*Side Note: I now this doesn’t always happen so I was lucky to receive one, but I know they actively engage in the review process.
So What Does That Mean For Your Business?
So many times businesses/restaurants think “short-term”. They don’t try to make amends for when someone has a bad experience at their restaurant by either denying it happened, ignoring it happened, or worse, accepting fault and doing nothing about it.
Flagship has realized that the ripple effect of a negative review or impression hurts their brand much more than replacing a meal, offering a gift card, or otherwise. (Tangent: I know there are some people out there who simply complain to get free food and you run the risk of serving them when you have a restaurant. Consider them like thieves to a retail store and realize that it’s unavoidable)
Practical things you can do right away
- Claim your business pages on social media or set them up- Google+, Facebook, and Yelp would be a good place to start.
- Respond to every piece of feedback in humility or gratitude. Make restitution where necessary.
- Know who your loyal customers are and find creative ways to appreciate them. They are your brand ambassadors.