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Using Customer Feedback to Build a Better Hospitality Experience

We partnered with Resy to share ways that restaurants can gather customer feedback including online tools to improve the dining experience

Restaurant staff with a coffee and glass of water on a tray

What does hospitality mean now in the face and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic? The reality is that what hospitality means has changed over the last year — both from the restaurant’s and diner’s perspectives. However, what hasn’t changed, is the need to prioritize the guest experience whether on-premise or off. 

Understanding how diners feel about a recent dining experience is invaluable information for restaurants. There are several ways that restaurants can gather feedback to create a better, more hospitable dining experience whether on-premise or off. We spoke with the team at Resy, a restaurant management and table reservation company, to learn more about how customer feedback tools can help restaurants grow and provide stellar experiences. 

When to Ask For Customer Feedback

Many restaurant owners are hungry for feedback from their guests, whether it’s about the meal they ate or a bottle of wine that was recommended. But feedback can also be applied to other types of operations. The Resy team agrees that “the frequency of seeking feedback is dependent on the operator and their relationship with their guests.”

Additionally, having feedback from one guest isn’t enough to warrant a change in operations or remove something from the menu. Gathering feedback in bulk can provide enough data for operators to know what needs to be improved or not. But it doesn’t have to be about one specific item to gain feedback on. 

Feedback can apply to many different areas of a restaurant’s operation. For example, The Resy team adds, “Operators typically like to group additional feedback requests with current happenings in their restaurants. Events, specials, new menu items, seasonal menu updates or operational changes are all great examples of items that can be paired together to ponder on and work on accordingly.” 

That said, restaurant operators and their staff should implement a variety of ways for their guests to provide valuable feedback in a manner that is efficient and natural for both parties.

How to Ask For Customer Feedback

a person holding a cell phone

Gather feedback from on-premise diners directly

Speaking with on-premise guests is one way to quickly gather feedback about their experience. The Resy Team adds that this is one of the most preferred ways for many operators but with a caveat. 

“Most restaurant operators agree that speaking directly to their guests in-house is the ideal way to gather valuable feedback from their diners. However, it’s not always possible to do so and speaking to every single table can be challenging.”

To combat this challenge, The Resy Team suggests that by automating guest feedback forms through a customer feedback tool, “an operator can maintain the same direct, internal communication with the same tone and language as the restaurant uses, without missing anyone.”

Entrance to Brasserie Cognac in New York City

Entrance to Brasserie Cognac in New York City

Direct customer feedback tools also are efficient in housing information for operators to use when making a decision on changing certain aspects of the restaurant’s operations. The best decision-making is made using trusted data.

Use third-party services to gain customer feedback

Direct customer feedback tools are efficient for quickly gathering valuable information from guests. Resy uses its “Survey Feature” to help restaurant operators directly gather feedback from their guests. “Surveys are used to automatically send feedback requests via email to guests after they dine. The most appealing part of this tool is that it is completely internal versus feedback that is created via a public forum or an online review. After diners have submitted their feedback, Resy provides a direct path of communication with the diner and the restaurant, so that the operator can follow up when and if necessary.”

An example of the Resy survey email that recent diners receive

An example of the Resy survey email that recent diners receive

Read More About The Resy Survey Guide Here

But this is just one tool that restaurants have at their disposal. There are a number of more “in-house” operations that restaurants can implement to gain the feedback they need to improve their product. 

Direct guests to the contact form on the website

Additionally, a simple way to gain customer feedback is to direct guests back to the website. Use contact forms as a way for guests to reach out and tell of their experience while dining.

An example of a contact form on a restaurant website that’s designed by BentoBox

An example of a contact form on a restaurant website that’s designed by BentoBox

Having guests respond directly using contact forms allows for operators to manage all feedback in one space such as the backend of a restaurant's website. Guests have the option to leave their contact information using contact forms which operators can use to remedy any negative feedback and turn an unhappy guest into a repeat customer.

Create a Form to Gain Valuable Customer Feedback

A simple way for restaurants to gather customer feedback is by creating a Google Workspace account to create custom forms. Restaurants can create unique forms to capture the guest’s name, email, and comments. Restaurants can tailor questions to their liking and even have the ability to customize to their brand by uploading their logo or other images. All responses are viewable by the form owner to download and use however they see fit. Restaurants can simply copy and paste the link to the survey and share it across their social media channels, via email or use it to generate a QR code for printed or digital materials.

An example of a customer feedback form using Google Forms

An example of a customer feedback form using Google Forms

Google isn’t the only platform to easily create forms. Restaurants can check out other sources that allow for more customization such as:

Add a QR code to takeout orders to drive customer feedback

With the COVID-19 pandemic came the rise of contactless dining — solutions that allow for guests to browse menus, order items and pay using their mobile device. Although QR codes have been around prior to the pandemic, they’ve become incredibly useful in this technology. QR codes can also aid in the process of gathering customer feedback. One way that restaurants can effectively use them is by generating QR codes and applying them to receipts or promo cards in takeout orders. 

When a guest receives a delivery or takeout order, they can easily scan the code which will take them to the restaurant’s preferred feedback destination — whether it’s a special URL (such as a Google Form) or the restaurant’s contact form on the website where the restaurant can collect and store feedback all in one easy-to-manage place.

a man and woman preparing food in a kitchen

Tip: Creating a special QR code is easy. Restaurants can use the BentoBox backend to generate custom QR codes for menus, event pages and more.

An example of how to create a QR code for a menu using BentoBox

An example of how to create a QR code for a menu using BentoBox

Applying Customer Feedback into Operations

Once restaurants have a solid amount of feedback about varying parts of their operations such as on-premise dining, takeout, events or even navigating the website, it’s time to apply this to create a better experience. The Resy Team admits, “There are so many different options for this information and how it can be applied to operations that it’s hard to pick just one. From hospitality-focus to menu-focus — even to if they liked the music that was playing, the options are truly endless. We typically see restaurants aggregate this feedback and distribute it to their different teams where it is applicable, as a means to improve their product or operations.”

Something else for restaurants to keep in mind is that many less-than-enthusiastic guests leave a restaurant without saying anything negative about their experience. The Resy Team notes, “This creates a disadvantage for the operator, as they are no longer in the building to change the experience for the disappointed guest. Feedback collection from the operator is a great way to combat this and keep the guests happy and returning.”

If you’re a restaurant operator interested in direct customer feedback tools, visit Resy.com to learn more about their services. 

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