Why is a premium impression important?
- If you don’t get it right then you may lose the customer forever.
- People tend to share first impressions much more frequently now via review sites and social media. A premium first impression could contribute to a better profile and more custom whereas a poor first impression shared by a customer could do a lot of damage.
- When customers clearly have a good first impression the impact on staff is positive and motivational.
- It’s not just the big restaurant reviewers who have power over your business’ reputation today – any diner could be a food blogger or influencer so every first impression must be premium.
- Competition is fierce – customers have a lot of choice and make quick decisions about where to spend their money, so first impressions are everything if you want to create a competitive edge.
How can you create a premium impression for your restaurant?
- Your website. Many of us will go straight to a restaurant website to check out menus and décor, prices and ambiance before we dine there. If your website takes ages to load, has no images or is poorly structured or out of date then the first contact a potential customer has had with your brand has been negative.
- Menu and pricing. Whether online or off, the menu could also be the first contact a customer has with your business. Is it clear, properly priced and presented in line with your brand values? Is it emotive and immediately engaging for the customer? All of this will contribute to what the customer takes away from their first encounter with your food and brand.
- Social media marketing. It’s becoming more and more common for customers to follow their favorite restaurants on social media and so this may also be where a first impression of your business is formed. Make sure your social media presence is well curated in terms of appealing images and content and plenty of engagement with followers.
- Staff appearance. This is one of the most significant elements that make up a premium first impression “in real life.” Key factors here include clean outfits or uniforms, well presented people and clothes that are consistent and fit with the tone of the restaurant. For example, you don’t need to have a specific uniform but consistent style and color schemes can be important.
- Friendliness and approachability. How is a customer received when they first arrive and how long does it take to get someone’s attention? As a customer, being ignored or faced with an unfriendly staff member when you’ve come to a restaurant to spend money will both be a fast track to a poor first impression and a bad review.
- Customer service responsiveness. Sometimes first impressions are created by remote contact. For example, if a customer calls to book a table and no one picks up the phone – or the person who answers is unhelpful or rude - they may choose to go elsewhere.
- Minimizing wait times. Despite the fact that many restaurants feel long queues indicate popularity to the outside world, this may not last as customers just don’t want to wait to eat. Creating a premium impression means managing wait times so that they are reasonable and finding solutions to busy periods so that customers still feel appreciated.
Being able to create a premium first impression will help to build the profile of your brand and increase the number of potential customers you can reach. No matter what stage your business has reached, it’s time well spent.