How Casual Dining Restaurants Can Successfully Win More Customers


It’s competitive out there. Today’s environment provides consumers not only a wealth of dining options from which to choose, but instant information at their fingertips. With just a few taps on their smartphone, within seconds they can determine which restaurant serves the best burger on the block, which is known for terrible service, and which needs to update their décor. They make decisions quickly based on this readily available information. The new norm for casual dining restaurants is to provide a customer experience above the norm.

Here are a few telling statistics that help make the picture even clearer:

  • Casual dining was the weakest performing segment in May of 2017 according to Nation’s Restaurant News, and ended Q2 with a 0.6% same-store sales decline. 
  • By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product quality as the key brand differentiator, according to a Walker study.
  • Eighty-six percent (86%) of consumers will pay more for better customer service according to the same study.

So how can operations and marketing leaders ensure each location is meeting or exceeding these new levels of customer service, while also knowing exactly where to focus attention and resources to improve? Launch a mystery shopper program.

The out-dated perception of mystery shopping is that “big brother” is watching or persnickety guests will try and pick out useless details just to try and find something wrong. But today’s extensive programs are designed to measure whether the company’s brand standards and the customers’ expectations are being met; two critical elements in providing an exceptional, differentiated customer experience each and every time.

Effective Mystery Shopper Programs start with a specific, custom questionnaire designed to measure distinct elements, where mystery shoppers focus and collect data. This data is then captured and provided in reports to identify exactly where your time, energy, and resources should be allocated. Providing a clear picture of the customer experience ensures brand standards are met, and operations and marketing leaders can make quick, effective decisions.

In this economic environment, you can’t afford to lose even one customer. The only way to growth is building market share and you do that by winning customers. In the end, it is customer satisfaction, loyalty and referrals that drive profits.

Want to learn more about rolling out a Mystery Shopper Program for your brand? Contact us for a personalized consultation.