How does value influence restaurant guest satisfaction?

In today’s inflationary times, consumers are spending their dollars wisely, paying attention to pricing, and weighing where to invest. Restaurants are seeing a drop in visits as guests weigh their purchases, tightening their belts to decrease discretionary spending. However, there is good news for operators: Technomic’s recent webinar reveals some encouraging data to help restaurants boost value and retain visits.

According to their research, 82 per cent of diners have accepted that restaurant visits cost more these days, so pricing becomes less of an issue for consumers than value. In January and February, traffic in all meal parts was down: breakfast (- 9.3 per cent), lunch (- 7.9 per cent) and dinner (- 3.2 per cent), but consumers in the $50,000 to $100,000 salary range are visiting restaurants once a week or more, despite the rising costs.

So, what does it take to offer restaurant guests the value they’re seeking to keep their business? Value comes down to the experience guests have and how they remember their restaurant visit. Making every visit count means focusing on what makes you different, playing on your strengths, and delivering on guest expectations. Guests are looking for value in the form of portion size for the price paid, speed of visit, prioritizing customer safety and satisfaction, and a convenient location.

For quick-service restaurants, customers’ top value drivers are food quality and a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. In contrast, for fast casual restaurants, consumers want an overall pleasant atmosphere and a staff that treats diners with respect. These are areas where operators can shine with exceptional experiences that encourage guests to return.

“Restaurants that do a better job of being restaurants have generally done better than those who do not,” says Jonathan Maze, editor in chief, Restaurant Business Magazine. A back-to-basics approach where operators focus on what they do best will better your guest experience and set you apart from the competition.

While price isn’t always a factor in the perception of value, LTOs and offers can help get attention and bring people into the restaurant – and that means getting the word out about your latest deals, menu updates, and more. Today’s marketers often focus on social media, but there are many places for you to reach your audience and studies show that they can all help attract attention. When asked where guests usually hear about deals or promotions, the top five answers were television ads, social media, emails from the restaurant, friends and family, and direct mail. So, making an effort to broaden your marketing strategy can bring better results.

The bottom line is that while inflation is affecting the economy, cost is still trumped by value for restaurant guests. Operators focusing on delivering that value will see results and come out ahead.