IMG_1887John Oakes, Chief Operating Officer of Revenue Management Solutions has some wise words for restaurateurs wanting to keep their customers happy and their tables full. Rather than do a full-bore overhaul over your business, some simple, incremental steps can make a huge positive difference. Here are some tips that Oakes recommends.

Know your customers “Need States”.  This means have a real-life understanding of what your customers wants from the dining experience.

Drill down and look at receipts for all your locations to get a clear picture of peak times, meal flow, meal preferences. This will tell you what’s selling, when is your business the most busy, and inform you about menu specials.

“…a person’s “need state” may change depending on his circumstances. For example, a truck driver may decide to eat at a truck stop during the workday because he needs to have a convenient spot to park his truck, but would have different needs when he is out with his kids on a Saturday morning. So understanding each customer’s behavior will lead you to understand what they are comfortable with in terms of menu choices and other factors at each location.”

On any given day or time, check out the dining room, look at your customer’s body language, the emotional tone of the meal. Are people looking like they are enjoying what they’re eating, having fun, comfortable with their surroundings and your staff?  Nation’s Restaurant News has more.