Value for Money – Getting it Right
As you get ready to re-open 'indoors' on the 17 May we'd thought we would look at what makes a truly GREAT dining experience and delivers true VALUE for MONEY.
With only a few weeks left until you can fully reopen and welcome back your customers, we thought we'd look at what contributes to maximising the customers dining experience and in turn provides true value for money. Regardless of whether the customer is paying £20 per head, or £200 per head, providing value for money or VFM is key, which may determine whether a restaurant is always full or remains empty night after night.
So, before your next big opening it doesn’t hurt to go back to basics and focus on the quality of the food, creating the best ambience and dining experience, ensuring staff are knowledgeable and courteous, whilst getting your price point right. This heady cocktail of elements, will, when right, deliver that overall VFM experience.
When your guests walk through the doors their expectations are high, looking forward to enjoying their meal and a good restaurant should never compromise when it comes to serving great food. Setting high standards for food quality is vital, ensuring that quality is delivered every time. Check that chef has the best ingredients (within budget of course) and perhaps focusing on good seasonal British, as post Brexit and during lockdown consumer trends have shifted to support local producers in the UK.
Apart from being served excellent food, customers are looking for that overall dining experience. Good waiting staff help to enhance the guest experience through being courteous and maintaining a great attitude, whilst being knowledgeable about the cuisine they are serving, being especially helpful when customers want to know more about a dish or a cheese or a producer. Addressing issues promptly and making sure that food and drinks get to the customer in a timely manner and with a smile is key, as are the little touches, such as more chips to finish off the last piece of steak, or more Yorkshire puddings with Sunday lunch, or providing a pudding to share 'on the house' if diners skip the desert course. Little things can make a big difference and are remembered.
There is good reason why successful restaurants invest vast resources to create the perfect atmosphere. The atmosphere can go a long way in determining whether customers keep coming back or stay away. The factors that affect a restaurant’s ambience include decor, comfortable seating, background music at a level that isn’t offensive, lighting that isn’t harsh and unflattering, the list goes on. A wonky table, an empty table left uncleared, or a table top that’s sticky and not cleaned can bug a diner, remember bad news will travel quicker than good news. So, don’t give the diner cause to complain to friends and not you!
Most customers are looking for something different when dining out, seeking an experience that they cannot get at home, that's why they are sitting in your establishment. With lockdown easing diners have high expectations and a good restaurant should promise to offer something that is not available elsewhere. If providing good food and service is all that a restaurant can offer, that is nothing new. If customers can get the same experience from dozens of other restaurants, they are bound to overlook yours. A great restaurant will have one or several unique features that will stand out in the patron's mind and this creates a competitive advantage.
Remember, diners are paying for the overall experience, not just the food, which is why some establishments charge more than others. Restaurant customers expect prices to reflect the type of food, level of service and the overall atmosphere of a restaurant. People will not complain when they feel that they are getting value for their money and a reputable establishment will always strive to set a balanced price. Prices that seem unreasonable will upset customers, discouraging repeat business while unreasonably low prices tend to raise suspicion about the food and service quality. On the 17th May, we hope that the UK public will be beating a path to your door, and by revisiting some of the basics above we hope that you meet their expectations, and the customer leaves on a cloud of satisfaction, having had a true value for money experience.
Written by Simon Binder, a restaurateur with over 40 years' experience, a restaurant consultant and now the Chairman of specialist hospitality accountants, Paperchase.
For over 30 years Paperchase have supported hundreds of hospitality brands around the world and we continue to do so. If you require guidance as hospitality reopens we are here to help. To speak with a member of our team please call 020 8633 7700 or email email@example.com