Hacking the dining experience
In the old days hungry diners like me had relatively few places to learn about restaurants and low expectations for the experience when we sat down. Not that we thought the food would be blah or the service indifferent, but that, more or less, you sit down and follow the script as given. Want sauce on the side? You are one of those kinds of people. Most of us stayed in line.
Today tons of information- from Yelp reviews to health department scores- focus our attention on small differences between restaurants.
There is a yawning gap between a diner’s information and a restaurant’s. This is where the dining experience needs to be hacked.
I choose my restaurant based on many factors- location, cuisine, price. Am I eating alone on the road or close to home with my kids? Looking for someplace familiar or new? As a rule of thumb I will eat in a specific restaurant about every six weeks. All those other meals? Your experience didn’t align with my interests.
The restaurant on the other hand, is standing in line next to all the others, hoping to get picked like a 4th grader in gym class. A restaurant menu changes seasonally, if that. Customers change by the hour.
The ultimate hack is unlocking data to create a service experience that is about me, the customer, not what the chef and manager dreamed up before opening for business. The more you know about what I want in the moment I want it, the more orders you’ll get from me. A huge opportunity for your bottom line.
I’m not suggesting overhauling your menu for each customer every day. I am thinking about all the ways you interact with a customer- the email newsletter, social media, how well you understand my order history to remind me of what I love about you. Maybe the food too. Find me where I am online and let me order- don’t force me to come to you.
This kind of hack would make me happy and dine with you more often. All those extra orders will flow to your bottom line. We should all get behind this. And start hacking.