Make a Successful Restaurant Through Discovering Human Nature

Woah! Psychology in the restaurant industry? Why yes. As early as the early 40’s and 50’s consumer psychology emerged. Contrary to popular belief, a successful restaurant isn’t always one that profits millions. Through discovery, some of the most successful restaurants today are thriving not only because they profit millions, but rather, these restaurants chose to adopt the desire to discover and understand human nature. Today, it is important to know what makes your services better than your competitors. Success embodies a list of factors. However, if you’re struggling perhaps it’s time to make a successful restaurant through discovering human nature. Here’s what I mean:

Figure Out What Drives Your Customers

So, you nailed down your staff, your BOH and FOH. You’ve worked your plan. Now, it’s time to get customers in the door. Knowing the preferences of your customers is a great way to get them in the door and keep them coming back for more. Don’t be afraid to change things from time-to-time, but take note of the customer reaction to those changes. You can upset your following quickly by thinking you know what’s best before gathering consumer data. Whether it be through advertising, marketing, packaging, or buying behavior, you want to track as much consumer data as you can so that you can pivot if needed. To this, I have seen so many companies take off quickly and then fail because they didn’t follow their consumer trends. Know thy customer. Learn what attracts them. Keep your consumers through learning how they buy and what they buy.

Get Into the Mind of Your Customers

The psychology of consumers can be challenging. You’re dealing with all different kinds of competing factors. Generally speaking, if you can first establish a positive relationship with the customer, you can then lay the path into their minds to then get other, valuable insight to propel your services even more. Neurochefisity.

The pressure to stay ahead in the food-service industry is enough to tip the top off of the tea-kettle. If you can tap into the minds of your consumers, you can create, implement, and make any necessary changes to keep yourself in the game. Below is a list of ways to understand the mind of your consumers:

  1. Market Research – A cool way to quickly see what the general population is already attached and attracted to. This can include demographics that will help you determine location, menu items and pricing, and what the market is accepting at one specific time.
  2. Customer Surveys – More consumers are willing to take a survey than you think.
  3. Walk in their shoes – Taste your food, read the menu, have a drink at the bar, wash the dishes and use your skillet. A great way to really know what you customers are thinking is to absorb what they absorb.

Market Research

If you’re not into data or interested in knowing what makes people tick or trip, you won’t necessarily like this, but I can promise you that without doing your research, you could end up in a saturated market. No one wants to invest money and time into a business that isn’t successful. Market research doesn’t have to cost you anything. Most of the information you need is public and free! The National Restaurant Association provides reputable information and stats into the restaurant world, including extremely useful reports to refer to.

Data – Data Does Matter

If your desire is to open a Fine-dining restaurant in a market with a low-income, it’s likely your restaurant won’t survive. Know your target market and you’ll set your restaurant up for success. Not to mention you’re going to need employees. Placing your restaurant on a route with low foot traffic isn’t going to give you the branding and support that you need to thrive. Same thing can be said about placing a cafe in a location that already has ten cafe’s. You can certainly have a cafe, but you better have a real niche and specialty. There’s nothing wrong with a little competition. In fact, it’s good! Just remember, you’re only as strong as your target market.

Market research will make a successful restaurant through discovering human nature by giving you access to what customers are already buying into. Research is not as daunting as you may think. Besides, the whole point of being a successful leader and restaurant owner in the industry is knowing thy enemy, i.e., the competitors and how you can level-up to provide the market with a service that is important and attractive.

Gathering Insights of Customers Through Surveys

Make a successful restaurant through discovering human nature
Survey your customers using tools like NPS (Net Promotor Scores) in order to better understand areas that need to be improved.

Knowledge is power. How many times have you purchased goods and received a circled code at the bottom to partake in a survey? I bet more than you can count on both of your hands. This isn’t an attempt to give you a headache, this is however an attempt to get information from customers so that services and products can match what consumers want. Also, they are often attached to obtaining deal and incentives only given to those who do complete the survey. I would fill in a few bubbles to save.

One fact one should accept to make a successful restaurant through discovering human nature is: you can’t possibly please everyone, but you can gather feedback sufficient enough to continue to provide to your customers. SurveyMonkey is great platform to produce various types of surveys. Plus, you can also get a QR code to attach anywhere in your restaurant. With a little placement psychology, you can get feedback right from the bar. Keep your survey length to no greater than five minutes to complete. Gear your questions towards how your customers truly feel towards services and products. Whenever you are gathering feedback, it’s important to know how you are going to then use that feedback to make improvements. This is called actionable data. Data you can’t use is useless. A good question example is: How likely is it that you would recommend our restaurant to a friend?

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friend – Walt Disney

Keeping Net Promoter Score

Why is the above question actionable? It’s actionable, because it’s not biased and is also a NPS (Net Promoter Score) question. NPS is a rating where your customers can rate the services on a 1-10 scale. A NPS question is beneficial to gauge whether or not your restaurant is on a path to grow or not. A high Net Promoter Score is an indicator of revenue and customer loyalty. When setting up a survey, include actionable questions and avoid “yes” or “no” questions.

Customer insights and needs change overtime. I recommend surveying your customers at least once a year. Additionally, I encourage you to engage with your customers on a regular basis. Though it does take time, surveying is a relatively easy and affordable way to tap into the minds of your customers and make a successful restaurant through human nature.

Is it any Wonder What Your Customers Really Want?

You don’t have to wonder if you eat what they eat and see what they see. If you haven’t tasted everything on your menu and expect that all of your customers to like it, you’re not doing it right. Taste before you place. Walking in the shoes of your customers gives you perspective into what they may experience while dining in or out at your restaurant. Take a day and taste everything on your menu and see how it is prepared, handled, and served. Maybe, right off-of-the-bat, you’ll find that it’s cooked inconsistently and served cold. If you assume that the food is good just because you place your restaurant on a pedestal, you’ll be disappointed when you find that the majority dislikes the menu.

If you want to know your customers, eat what they eat and don’t be afraid to make changes.

Test everything first. Have your staff taste what’s on the menu too. This is also a great way for your staff members to learn the menu. Don’t hang-your-hat on your opinion alone, because let’s face it, you’re going to be biased and you want to avoid any bias. If you want to be among the best, you must test.

Everyone wants to know the who, what, when, where, and why, but few will actually take the time to figure it all out. To understand your market, you have to research what your customers want, where they want it, and why. Otherwise, you’re heading into the unknown and the restaurant industry is already fragile. It can, however, be solid if you do your due diligence. Be in the industry to understand your customers and not to just make a profit. Pay attention to consumer trends and the psychology of their buying habits and you’ll be at an advantage to acquire a profit.

Sign up for newsletters, blogs, and restaurant consumer reports and you won’t have to dig too much for the info that will assist you. Make a successful restaurant through discovering human nature. It’s not rocket science, it’s food science.


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