Grow Your Restaurant By Talking to Customers

If you’re a restaurant who isn’t regularly interviewing customers, you are leaving money on the table.

By not interviewing customers, you’re missing out on pieces of information that can help you sell more food, and unlock new revenue streams.

Below are some practical steps on how you can leverage customer interviews.

1. Start New Customer Conversations, and Listen Closely

You already talk to your customers whenever they come in. Take that that relationship deeper and learn about who they are, what their story is, what they do for a living, and what brought them into your restaurant.

Do this for at least 10 customers per day.

You will uncover common patterns from these customer conversations, that will help you spot improvement opportunities. 

For example, the customer conversation over Instagram shown in the picture below, resulted in discovering a new type of customer for a restaurant we work with.  

In the screenshot below, we discovered that other restaurants were buying ingredients from the restaurant (our partner).

Conversation with a Customer Who Shared They Get Restaurant Supplies from Our Restaurant/Grocery Partner

2. Create Content That Gets Views

The biggest mistake that restaurants make with making content, is that they create the content for themselves.

In other words, your biggest focus is how the content looks to you. This is the wrong way to go about things.

Instead, focus on creating the content for your customers.

That will require you to understand what kind of content your customers already like. To find out, you can ask them questions like:

  • Who are your favorite food blogger?
  • What social media food pages are your favorite social media pages to follow?

When your customers provide an answer, ask them why they like that particular vlogger or influencer. You might find that they like the content because it evokes a specific feeling, such as feeling hungry. Once you have this information, then you need to take the following actions:

  • Review the vloggers or influencer pages your customers shared.
    • Review the last 30 pieces of content for each of these accounts, and analyze the video recording style, the actual content, and how storytelling is or isn’t used.

After reviewing and analyzing content provided by your customers, then you can start creating content that emulates content your customers already like, while evoking the emotion that your customers enjoy (e.g. hunger).

3. Always Be Changing

The initial customer conversations provide immediate improvement opportunities, but the key is to always stay in touch with those customers and building relationships. You’ll need to do this in-person, over social media, over social media messages, emails, and more.

This form of long-term relationship building will help you always know what your customers are thinking. Then you can regularly adapt your social media strategy based on their feedback.

Below is an example of real customer feedback, which resulted in our restaurant partner making physical changes in their restaurant. 

Customer Feedback About Dining Experience

 

4. Get More Followers By Being Human

Rather than relying on paid ads, focus on building a real human connections. By nurturing connections through strategic partnerships and authentic content, you create an avenue for real conversations with potential customers. Here are some practical ways to have real conversations.

  • Greet every customer that comes into your restaurant, 100% of the time.
    • If you struggle with this, train your staff to always greet customers.
  • For every paying customer, give them an opportunity to follow your restaurant on social media and subscribe to your email list for special deals.

5. Sell More Through Conversations: Turning Followers into Customers

As your following grows, leverage social media to have meaningful conversations with your customers. Engage them, showcase your restaurant’s unique aspects, and entice them to return. The real magic happens when these online connections translate into physical visits and, ultimately, increased revenue.

Below is an example of how conversations turn into revenue. In the real example below, a small restaurant received a request for a catering opportunity worth more than $1,500.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering social media as a restaurant owner involves a strategic blend of customer understanding, emotion-driven content creation, and continuous feedback loops. By prioritizing genuine connections over paid promotions, you not only optimize your social strategy but also foster a thriving community that translates into real-world success for your restaurant. Embrace this organic approach, and watch your restaurant’s presence on social media evolve into a powerful tool for growth.

If you are trying to leverage social media to sell more food, contact kamran@47consultants.com