Your customers’ meal experience will determine your profit and loss. Think of it this way, customers have to make an opportunity cost decision. They have a choice to spend or not, whether to eat in or out, and where, and type of cuisine. But another way a food service operating has to attract the customer to buy their product service offering against another spending choice for example, theatre, cinema, concert or stay at home.
Possible reasons to dine other than at home, convenience they are shopping and they are hungry it’s easier to eat where they are. Variety, they want to be advantageous and try new cuisine. Another reason they don’t want to prepare and serve an event celebration meal and clear up afterwards. Other drivers self-esteem sense of status implies others in their social economic group eat out or they have business clients they wish to impress.
Culture and tradition can be a driver for example a religious event is followed by a social gathering and meal, or an event to get to know people. Impulse snap decision for instance a business persons meeting is cancelled their flight isn’t for four hours so they choose to purchase a meal while waiting for their flight. No choice, captive market, you’re in hospital or care home.
The above suggestions are simplistic people are different as any demographic breakdown illustrates. The key factor to remember, some types of food service operation will attract very specific demographic type. Having stated this customers’ are attracted to satisfy their needs at the time of need. The decision to eat out is split into two decisions; one the reason stated above two the type of experience sought (augmented distinctions).
Summary of factors.
- Type of food and drink on offer (range, choice, availability, order flexibility and quality).
- Level of service sought. Dependent upon the occasion for example a business meal compared to a quiet romantic meal for two. You’re choice of venue will probably have different selection criteria.
- Level of cleanliness and hygiene. Covers premise, equipment and staff. Generally these days’ people are more aware of the importance of hygiene issues.
- Value for money and price. Customers have a predefined expectation as to what they expect to pay. However most people will exceed their budget if they perceive the value of what they receive to be greater than what they pay.
Noteperception is subjective.
- Establishment atmosphere. Tacit implicit and emotional factors therefore difficult to quantify. Generally tangible aspects that influence the intangible are décor, design layout, lighting, heating, furnishings, acoustics, noise levels, other customers the staff and their attitude and venue smell.
The better you understand such factors the more likely you are to perceive the customers point of view. Don’t allow yourself to focus on décor, design and equipment. Train your staff. Employees have a very significant customer relationship role to play. Your, staff create the emotional attachment to generate further business. Yes the core product is important but don’t forget the total augmented package.