How to Get More Guests at Your Restaurant: Understanding the Guest Lifecycle

Mar 13, 2018

The dining experience is so deeply rooted in our culture that it’s not simply a matter of offering pleasing menu items, rather it’s about providing fare that nurtures the body while offering a level of service that nurtures the soul. Unfortunately, in many operations, much energy is devoted to food preparation and delivery without a full appreciation of the Guest Decision Life-cycle. This focus on the product rather than the guest, combined with a proliferation of dining technology and the pressure of constantly increasing competition, often results in an overly complex and limited perspective on guest service.

This blog explains the various decision points of the guest’s overall dining journey. That is, how the guest ends up becoming your guest in the first place, and what makes them become a repeat diner at your restaurant. Across multiple blog posts, we’ll look at the full experience - decisions made along the way and how you can leverage this decision life-cycle to attract and keep more business.

1: A Venue is Selected

The dining experience originates before the guest even selects a venue. Most venues are looking for creative ways to exercise their influence over a guest’s choice. Some resorts have a captive crowd with a finite number of in-house choices, but even these in-house venues have the opportunity to influence guests and encourage guests to patronize your other, perhaps higher-margin eateries, which in some cases might also focus on getting guests to patronize other on-property amenities.

Studies show the most effective methods for influencing guests to your venue are:

  • Social media (for reputation management)
  • Push notifications or location-based offers
  • Interactive digital signage on-property

2: A Reservation is Made

We already have an appreciation for the value of the concierge, host or hostess, and reservations agents. These roles each play a key part of the overall guest experience. And it’s important to leverage that initial contact in the guest decision life-cycle. Customer management systems capture guest and party data that:

  • Leverages POS system information
  • Informs the F&B staff about the guest and party
  • Shifts the guest’s demands to less busy times

Technology for Marketing. Technology can not only decrease friction in making a reservation, it can also be used by service staff to book the reservation on behalf of the guest. Use loyalty programs and casino management solutions to tailor suggestions based on the guest’s previous visit. Newer technologies are increasing the cleverness and immediacy of targeted marketing. Using location-based technologies, guests receive push notifications with special offers when on property. These solutions are critical in capturing and systematically sharing valuable information about the guest or party, making it essential for delivering next-generation service.

These first few guest decision points are designed to help operators understand how to attract the guest, where technology fits and that the dining experience actually begins before the guest walks through the door. In our next blog, we’ll uncover subsequent decision points and more insights.

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