Business Insights

Reinventing the Restaurant Experience

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The Elements of Exceptional Experiences

Genuine hospitality is the foundation of a great experience - and it goes beyond a warm greeting and an invitation to visit again. It's all about creating an overall sense of well-being and belonging that makes guests feel that your place is their special place.

Customers come to restaurants for more than just the food - they want special experiences.

In today's treat-forward culture, people are looking for consistent and reliable indulgences. Providing them is essential to competing successfully in today's crowded foodservice marketplace.

"There's a reckoning. Consumers will spend their money where the experience will be the most outstanding."

-Michael Stevens, Shamrock Foods Vice President, Emerging Accounts and Business Consulting

Here are 10 Ways to Create Distinctive Experiences:

  • Find your POD

    "Having a point of distinction (POD) is essential," says Jeff Pivin, Shamrock Foods Business Review Specialist, Arizona. "Something that's familiar but not ever seen before, so guests don't know how to attach a price to it."

  • Serve Exceptional Quality

    Maintain the highest standards for ingredients and finished-dish quality throughout the menu.

  • Create A Welcoming Environment

    Make sure that lighting, seating and tabletops are in order. That everything is clean, bright, and shiny inside and out.

  • Keep The Comfort Coming

    The resurgence of comfort food over the last two years shows no sign of slowing down. Research firm Datassential reports that over half of consumers seek comfort in their food choices. 

  • Deliver Notable Value

    Never cheapen the experience. Offering more bang for the buck comforts customers who are making choices about where to spend their disposable income in inflationary times. 

  • Communicate Caregiving

    Extend hospitality and set expectations about what to expect from your operation’s experience even before guests visit. Post information on social media about typical wait times, parking considerations - and even whether waiting areas might be warm or chilly.

  • Be An Oasis

    “Remember that your restaurant is a place for fostering human interactions- a place to get away from the stress of everyday concerns,” Pivin says. Make comfort and lack of distractions a priority.

  • Facilitate Affordable Indulgences

    Transforming luxe entrees into lower-priced small plate items encourages splurging. Include other forms of indulgence in the experience you offer. "Think tableside service, product presentation and product education," says Tim Maness, Shamrock Foods Business Review Specialist, Colorado.

  • Stay on brand

    Your brand's culture is what attracts customers to your operation in the first place. "Create a relatable experience that's on brand – whether it's a smiling face at the door or a thank-you note in the takeout bag," Maness advises.

  • Offer Memorable Convenience

    Busy consumers appreciate convenience that frees up the "me time" that's a top priority for them these days. Streamlined online ordering, subscription services, premium meal bundles and dinner kits offer convenience and make an impression. "Make it easy to use your brand - easy to find things, easy to order, easy to be seated, easy to pay," advises Jim Hargrove, Shamrock Foods Restaurant Consultant. Ditto for takeout and delivery customers. "Create a translatable type of experience that's on brand and also infuses hospitality away from the restaurant," Hargrove says. Offer exceptional, non-traditional services, such as adding an on-site mini market with wine, bread, packaged goods, grab-and-go items and/or frozen and refrigerated food. These set your operation apart from the pack, offer convenience and are a way to capture additional revenue while you have guests’ attention.

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