Yair Ariel • June-6-2016
With your customers staying longer in your restaurant, the more likely they’ll order more food, right? But what about quick service restaurants? Isn’t the goal of a quick service restaurant to get people through the queue as fast as possible? For drive-thru customers, sure. There are people who want to take a load off and rest inside, too.
The lobby experience shapes how a customer feels about your restaurant. If lobby customers feel like they’re rushed out or unwelcome, they won’t come back. If your lobby feels welcoming, though, people will linger a bit longer than usual. That could lead them to ordering that high-profit dessert item.
Let’s talk about some of the powerful tactics that you can use to keep your customers staying longer in your QSR.
Adjust your music and background noise
Have you ever walked into a quick service restaurant and it’s just too loud to think? Maybe the music was just wrong or there was a huge party? The music and background noise at your location play a huge part in whether your customers enjoy the experience.
The right music in an establishment can encourage people to eat more and get your customers staying longer. The fast-tempo raucous music that you’ll experience in a bar or nightclub agitates people. It makes them want to do anything other than eating. Quieting down the music encourages diners to stay, chat, and enjoy. Guests will respond well to soft, medium-tempo music, as well as familiar music.
Once you make sure that the music is enjoyable, it’s time to look at the volume. Studies have found that the average sound level in restaurants is about 70 decibels. Patrons find it difficult to listen to conversations at noise levels above 60 decibels. OSHA requires that noise levels be under 90 decibels to avoid hearing loss. (http://morestaurants.org/sound-advice-an-acceptable-level-of-noise/). If you have a noisy space, turning up the music to drown out conversation isn’t going to help. Try these tips instead:
- Move the tables away from each other so conversations don’t overlap.
- Make efforts to use soundproofing material on the walls and on the furniture. Cloth seat covers can go a long way to reducing the noise levels.
- Make sure your music volume isn’t up too high.
Embrace all the senses
People eat out at quick service restaurants for many reasons. Food is the obvious one, but restaurants are also meeting places and rest stops. They’re meant to relax people and make them feel at home. The more relaxed and enjoyable the experience the more you have customers staying longer. So, the sensory experience of a restaurant should encourage rest. All of the senses should be engaged to promote this feeling.
Keep your store clean and tidy
A dirty quick service restaurant is a poor place to rest. Even if it’s clean enough for the health inspector, a tidy restaurant is a relaxing restaurant. If things are out of place, it can make the space feel uncomfortable on the eyes. It can also ruin the sense of touch. A slight bit of grease on a table or finding a few crumbs with your hands on a bench seat can turn a customer off.
Encourage your employees to have a good attitude in their speech
It makes a more pleasant work environment, but it also makes customers feel more welcome. If tempers are rising among employees, tell them to talk in private outside or in an office. Don’t let it spill out into the lobby.
Do you have something that smells fantastic?
People are attracted to smells because they can trigger deep-seated sensations. For certain smells, it reminds them of warm, safe places. Your cooking will take care of this for you, but if something burns or smokes do what you can to cut the odor.
Taste, of course, is covered through your food
Make sure it stays at a high quality. Even if you get everything frozen or packaged, you still have to maintain equipment and follow the procedures. If you have bad food, people won’t come back.
The more that you can relieve your customers’ stress, the longer they stay within your restaurant. And, the longer they stay, the more they will spend over time.
Provide something unique
We thrive on experience. Look at the rise of different theme restaurant concepts where you’re watching medieval jousting, becoming part of the play in a mystery dinner theater, or even making your own food. While these activities might not be part of the QSR concept, there are still things which you can do to set your restaurant apart. Moe’s has a welcome cheer that lets you know you’re acknowledged, for instance.
Provide free (and fast) Wi-Fi
Most QSRs have free Wi-Fi. It’s often slow. Try bringing in a laptop and streaming a few videos. If it doesn’t work, consider getting an upgrade to your Wi-Fi service. If your restaurant is near an office complex or a college, busy people with laptops will thank you and they’ll keep coming back, with business customers staying longer.
Design a Can’t-Be -Beat kid’s area
Children are often the ones who determine when it’s time to leave. They also play a part in determining which quick service restaurant you go to. That’s why some QSRs take up a lot of valuable space with a gigantic play area.
More modern restaurants are using a simpler option. The BEAM interactive projector games system allows children to play with one another, is easy to clean up, and lets kids explore and enjoy their play area. There are no huge structures for the employees to wipe down, either. The system also has plenty of games from which to choose, and more are being added every month.
Make a small show for celebrations
This is borrowing from fast casual and casual dining restaurants. Have the employees do something special for birthday celebrations. It doesn’t have to be much, but people will remember those little touches.
Networking meetings are places where small business owners can get together and share their triumphs as well as make connections with other similar business leaders. These are held in small restaurants and QSRs across the country. If your lobby has a slow time and you have regular business clientele, consider hosting one to have your customers staying longer, while enjoying the meet-up.
Keeping your guest comfortable can encourage them to stay longer and spend more. By showing you care by keeping a clean, quiet environment, with a few unique activities, you can set your restaurant apart from the average quick-service restaurant.
BEAM interactive projector games is an award-winning interactive projection game system that instantly enhances the customer experience at your business with endless fun, excitement, entertainment and engagement. For more information about the BEAM system and how it can help improve your children’s play area, contact the BEAM Team today!