Food quality has grown in importance, and people are worried about their health and the effects food can have on their bodies, making transparency highly important in today’s restaurant industry. Customers like to be informed, especially if they have any allergies, are on a strict diet, or are very serious about the kinds of foods they consume. These customers want to know how their food is cooked, with what, the process of getting there, if it is organic, etc. Knowing only what is included in their meal won’t suffice.
It is vital to respond to this new demand and provide transparency to your customers to show you care and understand their concerns. Take this as an opportunity, not a chore. This alone will create a bond between you, your customers, and your employees, which will result in trust towards the food and service and increase both customer and employee retention.
Provide ingredients and nutritional facts for your menu items
Having the option to make healthier choices is essential to your customers, especially if they are on a strict diet, avoiding certain foods, or have food allergies. Outside of those reasons, sometimes people just want to eat a little healthier. The added convenience of having nutritional information readily available will eliminate the guest having to make the request. When the menu lays out the meal’s ingredients and nutritional value, the customer will feel at ease and enjoy a stress-free experience. If available space prohibits adding all of this information to the menu, consider providing a QR code that links to the details in a separate document for your guests’ review.
Share how your company operates
Make it visible how your restaurant operates instead of leaving it up to the customer to wonder. There are many ways to manage your restaurant, including hanging up signs detailing the management’s expectations of staff members so that customers can view them during their visit. Another way is to make your staff seen. For instance, you could break down the wall covering the kitchen to allow guests to view the cooking area or add more windows externally or internally to make employees visible to customers. Not only does this create a trust for your customers, but it also encourages the staff to work efficiently and effectively.
Respond to your customers with honesty
Whether in person, on Facebook, through Yelp, or via any other form of communication, answer questions about your restaurant with honesty and transparency. Although it may seem like a risky activity, customers appreciate it. Transparency also shows confidence in your company when you avoid trying to hide certain or all aspects of your business. A relationship is established with both customers and employees. Staff members feel more confident in their duties since there is now trust established from management.
Control a situation, don’t let it control you
Making mistakes is inevitable. Therefore, there will be times that your restaurant will run into some adverse outcomes that can affect its reputation. Because this can’t always be avoided, be sure to control the situation and address it before someone else does. Proactively handling a negative situation can save you from developing a bad or indifferent reputation.
Be vulnerable with your customers
Creating an open relationship with your customers can evolve from having personal conversations. Setting all business-related discussions aside, allow yourself to open up about what your life is like outside of running a restaurant. This can be achieved through in-person dialogue or by using a digital platform such as a blog on your website. Sharing your story allows customers to relate to you. Another way can be through employee shoutouts on your social media sites with the title 10 Fun Facts about [Employee], or an Instagram takeover from a staff member where they do a Q&A on the company’s “Story” feature. This approach allows outsiders to see the company’s camaraderie and the types of people hired at your restaurant. It also makes people feel like they know each person individually and can relate to them somehow.
All in all, endless benefits come from making an effort to be more transparent. You’ll be trustworthy to your customers, employees, and partners, which overall creates a better atmosphere for everyone involved in your restaurant’s success.