If you’re a restaurant operator, you likely just had one of your biggest days of the year. Congratulations! Keep the momentum by carrying your Valentine’s Day success forward into the months ahead, leveraging learnings, and encouraging repeat business. First, take stock of how you did, from the hard numbers to guest feedback. Next, follow up with guests to make sure they come back. Here’s how.
Take stock of how you did
First things first: run the numbers. Pull covers and revenue data to measure the impact of the holiday. Look at the mix of party sizes, average turn times, and the pacing of seating. How did your game plan perform? Was the floor efficient? Did you have enough staff? What could have gone better?
Dig into guest and menu data. Review the books to see who dined with you on Valentine’s Day. Make note of first-time guests and repeat ones, locals and out-of-towners in guest notes. Integrate your OpenTable and POS systems to analyze the most popular and profitable menu items (from a regular or set menu) and beverages, such as cocktails or bottles of wine.
Close the loop on marketing campaigns. Restaurants using OpenTable’s marketing tracking feature can measure reservations and revenue back to digital marketing channels and campaigns. If you’re tracking already, see how many guests booked as a result of a Google Ad or email send. You can also track ROI on email campaigns with Venga. Whether you promoted a special Valentines Day menu or targeted your VIP’s to welcome them back, check in to see how many covers and how much revenue was generated directly from your email marketing efforts.(If not, be sure to set up tracking for Mother’s Day!)
Assess staff performance. Hospitality is paramount every day, but guest expectations for service are even higher on Valentine’s Day. Analyze staff performance with Venga’s Server Scorecard, which shows each server’s average feedback rating, server comparison data, and all reviews associated with that server. Identify and reward your top performers on the floor with a bonus or special shout-out, and tailor growth opportunities to each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
Read the reviews. Pull up all the review sites where you have a presence and start reading. Notice one-off criticisms, but don’t dwell on them. Instead, focus on issues that come up repeatedly, such as wait times, an over-salted dish, or an unenthusiastic server. Venga’s Sentiment Analysis feature aggregates and analyzes reviews from across the web in one place and matches sentiments to food, service, and atmosphere, so restaurants can take action on feedback. Finally, run keyword search for “Valentine’s Day” or a specific menu item to learn about guests’ overall impression.
Follow up with guests
Send a post-dining survey. To learn how your team delivered on Valentine’s Day, just ask. Send a follow-up email to guests who booked via OpenTable, asking them for feedback on their experience. Or, dig even deeper with a post-dining survey, which collects guest feedback and ties it back to individual servers. (Survey and review results can be analyzed together in the Sentiment Analysis.)
Say thank you. Create an email campaign to thank guests who celebrated the holiday with you and invite them back in. If you served a special menu on Valentine’s Day, showcase standout items from the regular menu to pique their interest. Consider an incentive for those who come back, such as a complimentary dessert. Don’t forget to add marketing tracking, so you know exactly what worked.
Plan for next year. Keep records of your covers, revenue, and other important stats in a safe place so you can use them to plan when Valentine’s Day 2021 rolls around. Save a list of guests, and reach out next January to invite them to celebrate with you again. As you think about next year, consider your staffing, menu, and all of the feedback you received this time. Note what you would do differently next year.
Celebrating success is just as important as optimizing efficiency and performance. Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, take a moment to thank your team for their hard work and pat yourselves on the back for a job well done.