Love. It isn’t a word often used in businesses, but it is a word often used about businesses.
Whether a customer loves your brand, loves your menu, loves your servers or loves your culture translates into whether your business will thrive. Love is a word businesses should get comfortable with.
The annual Consumer Picks special report from Nation’s Restaurant News and WD Partners is a measure of restaurant brand success from the eyes of their guests. Surveying customers to the tune of 37,339 ratings, including specific data points on 10 restaurant brand attributes like Cleanliness, Value, Service and Craveability, Consumer Picks ranks 173 chains on whether or not their guests are feeling the love.
In this year’s report, there is valuable analysis on top strategies to win over the customer, from the simplicity of cleaning the restaurant to the more complex undertaking of introducing an app to provide guests access to quick mobile payment options. Some winning brands relaunched menus and others redesigned restaurants. It is very clear through this report’s data and operator insights that to satisfy today’s demanding consumer, a holistic approach to your brand — who you are, what you stand for, the menu items you serve, the style in which you serve it and the atmosphere you provide to your guest — is required.
This isn’t anything new. Anyone in the restaurant business knows what is expected. But it’s the execution that counts. And it’s the execution that is so hard — mostly because it requires people, in real life, making it happen, to the best of their abilities, day in and day out.
In-N-Out is a dominant player in Consumer Picks, each year winning top scores nearly across the board. The burgers are great; it’s fun to see the hand-cut fries; and the service is fast and accurate. But it’s the team that makes that happen.
“We hire friendly, hard-working associates who are committed to making sure that every time a customer visits one of our 311 restaurants, that customer enjoys a great experience,” said Carl Van Fleet, an In-N-Out spokesman.
It doesn’t stop at the hire. In-N-Out pays higher wages than many limited-service restaurant chains and offers some full- and part-time benefits like paid vacations, free meals and a 401(k) plan.
Morton’s the Steakhouse, also a winner with top scores across the board, said investment in re-training of servers and staff was key to customer appreciation. The brand worked on the menu and on the restaurant atmosphere, but it doubled down on the team.
Time and time again we hear — and see — that efforts placed against engaging and strengthening a restaurant’s workforce, from the corporate C-suite to the hourly worker, is the best indicator of success with the customer and success with the business.
Spreading the love through your workforce is the best way to feel the love from your guests.