Deliver a Remarkable Guest Experience
Does your brand deliver a uniquely different and remarkable brand experience?
Every restaurant wants a line out the door. Are you delivering an experience that’s worth it? Is everyone on your team from HQ to the restaurant level focused on delivering the brand promise? Concept leaders need to think more holistically about their brand and how they are connecting with guests on an emotional level at every step of the guest journey.
Winners are winning bigger and losers are, well, losing
I recently was at a presentation where Wally Doolin of TDn2K showed a chart on how the gap between the top performing concepts and bottom performers has widened significantly in the last few years. It should be a wake up call for a lot of established chains. Evolve or become irrelevant.
Good execution is table stakes
It seems like every week there is a new restaurant company closing stores. With our industry facing headwinds of declining consumer traffic, increasingly there are winners and losers. Clean restaurants, high quality food, convenience, and great service are no longer differentiators. Winning brands make an emotional connection and are extraordinary at something that matters to their guests.
Investing in the Guest Experience needs to be your #1 focus
Often the first item on restaurant CEOs playbooks when sales soften is to cost cutting. They fool themselves into thinking they can cut costs that “won’t impact the guest”. Cutting food costs or labor typically leads to poorer guest experience. And ultimately to a downward death spiral.
When traffic begins to soften is often the exact time to double down on improving the guest experience, not cutting it.
What is the brand promise & guest experience?
Brand positioning and the guest experience is often misunderstood by restaurant CEOs and Front Line Operators. It isn’t a fluffy concept that CMOs and ad agencies invent to create feel good ads and social media posts. Delivering the brand experience is job #1 of everyone in the organization.
Creating a remarkable guest experience and delivering on the brand promise should be the central core of everything we do. Every team member, every day. And it is the idea that the entire concept should revolve around.
A brand is brought to life one guest at a time. It must be real in the restaurant. The hourly worker taking orders, the line cook, the hostess. They are your brand ambassadors.
Authentic delivery of the brand positioning and solid execution on fundamentals are the keys to creating loyal guests and growing a brand that stands out.
It is critical that every employer from the CEO down to hourly employees have a deep understanding of the brand positioning and their role in delivering the brand promise in their part of the customer journey.
When in Doubt, Double Down on Increasing Value
As the battle for traffic has heated up recently, we’re seeing more brands fall back on price promotions to drive traffic. While having accessible value on the menu can be an effective tactic, CEOs should be very cautious in over-using price as a tool. And too often they have to cut other critical elements in the Guest Experience to do it.
Delivering more value, not lower price is the key to winning in the long run
What is “Value”? Put simply, value to the guest is the price you pay for what you get.
The sustainable path to delivering value is to make sure you are delivering more value to the guest on the numerator than you are charging in price.
CMOs and CEO that don’t have a deep understanding of how to deliver a remarkable guest experience that’s worth the price, have to fall back on price reductions. As a tactical tool, offering price value can be an effective tool – especially brands whose promise revolves around low prices. But it’s like a drug. Get hooked and it will ruin your brand.
Winning concepts don’t reduce prices/offer discounts, they create remarkable guest experiences that earn their business every day.