Few things are as important in the hospitality industry as market knowledge. Getting in touch with your customers opens up the most important feedback a business can have, because it comes directly from the people buying the product. For a chain restaurant or franchise, the customer will already have a preconceived notion of how the restaurant “should” act, price, and behave. Taking advantage of those expectations and building on them through knowing the market is essential to success.
Marketing Your Chain against the Competition
Customers need to feel that their voices are heard when they have complaints, and they also want to express their preferences. For that reason, a good Public Relations department or firm can manage the relationship between the restaurant and customers. For example, the public relations team can generate buzz about upcoming sales and promotions via advertising and social media. This increases customer awareness both of the sale itself and the brand of the restaurant. While franchises often already have established their brand in the minds of consumers, notifying the consumers about promotions is a great way to get them in the doors.
Feedback and Delegation
Furthermore, when a customer has a complaint, they need to feel like they can speak to a representative of the restaurant. Sometimes, the best person to speak to is a manager, but having a PR team, especially one connected to social media, can take a lot of the heat off managers and let them do their jobs in peace. The PR team can listen to feedback, compile common problems or comments, and respond to customers in a way that makes them feel their voice has been heard. This takes most of the work out of customer relations.
The Power of PR
The next thing to do is capitalize on the information. A restaurant can have a sale on an appetizer that customers love, which will bring people in. The increase in orders will extend beyond just that one appetizer. Or a recipe that has not been popular can be altered to fit local tastes or even taken off the menu entirely. A healthy relationship with customers translates into better sales and repeat business. That makes having a good public relations team very important. They are the face of the business, listening sympathetically to customer feedback and informing the customers about changes. It’s the best way to keep customers happy and feeling good about the brand, even if they have a bad experience with it.