A restaurateur juggles a million different priorities, from marketing and menu building to delivering the best possible hospitality to guests. With all of the noise, one question that’s increasingly difficult to answer is this: Are you focusing on the right things?
Today, our partners at Toast released their industry report on Restaurant Success in 2019, which analyzes survey responses from restaurant workers and restaurant guests across the nation. They asked all about what makes a great restaurant, where they stand on tech trends and innovations, and what the future of the industry holds. The results illuminate insights across the board, but we were particularly interested to see where restaurant professionals and guests were divided in their opinions. Here are five things we learned:
How Guests Find Your Restaurant: Recommendations Reign
The Toast team asked diners and restaurant professionals a similar question: for the former, it was how they choose a restaurant, and for the latter, how they think guests find out about them. Both groups understand the importance of a personal recommendation, with 72% of restaurateurs guessing guests listen to advice from friends and family and 88% of diners confirming it.
The groups diverged in some key ways, too. Restaurateurs overestimated the impact of social media, including Facebook and Instagram (is it time to reconsider your spend on social media promotion?). Industry professionals may be surprised to see that television matters: only 3% of restaurateurs thought TV coverage was influential, while 22% of diners said it was.
What Matters Most: Quality Over Value
In addition to how guests find a restaurant, Toast asked why they choose the ones they do, considering all of the different factors at play – type of cuisine, price, atmosphere…the list goes on.
Both restaurant professionals and diners ranked quality of food first (65% and 72%, respectively). While 64% of restaurateurs thought value would rank high on guests’ priority list, less than half (48%) of diners placed it in their top three reasons for choosing a restaurant. Guests’ individual tastes and preferences also mattered more than restaurateurs expected, with 63% of diners counting them as an important factor and only 52% of restaurants agreeing. The findings suggest that how well you describe your restaurant – and set guests’ personal expectations – can make or break an experience. [Read more…]