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There are dozens of reasons why people don’t return to restaurants. Perhaps they aren’t big on the cuisine offered, the service was underwhelming, or they’re not a fan of the neighborhood. Many reasons are out of your control, but a handful of key reasons are well within your power to manage. Here are three things we guarantee will lead to fewer repeat guests if left unsupervised.

#1 – Dirty Bathrooms

Yuck, yuck, yuck. If you’re comfortable with me walking into a dirty bathroom, what are you comfortable with going on behind closed doors in the kitchen? Should I even be eating the food? Create cleaning checklists, ensure they’re being followed and step up your game to make restroom cleanliness a PRIORITY. 

Trust me, bathrooms have an incredible impact on the guest experience. I’ve actually watched 4 and 6-tops leave restaurants after seeing the state of bathrooms in the past. Think about what your average 4-top brings in revenue-wise and imagine it walking out the door on a daily basis – that’s the cost of unclean facilities.

#2 – Untrained Staff

Don’t know what ingredients are in the dish I’m asking about? Can’t pronounce Sauvignon Blanc? Don’t know the difference between a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet? Sorry, but try again.

Contrary to popular belief, there is an art to serving and the foundation of that art is solid training. Make sure that your staff is always up to date on your service standards, menu items, and beverage options. Truly successful servers are confident, well-mannered, and empowered by management.

If your guest count is dwindling, staff turnover is high, and you’re not seeing many repeat customers, it may be time to take a step back and examine your restaurants training program. Make sure you’re providing them with the proper tools, training and education to provide the kind of experience people are willing to come back for.

#3 – Poorly Created Menus

First impressions are important in the restaurant world. If you can’t provide a clean, well-designed, and up-to-date menu, guests will question what’s going to be coming out of the kitchen.

Are the photos on your menu professional or does it look like they were taken with an iPhone? Do you have too many items on your menu (or too few)? Are your appetizers complimentary to your main dishes and priced properly?

The point is, today’s diners are looking for quality and variety, but don’t want to be overwhelmed. A professional menu should be well-designed and shouldn’t read like War & Peace.

A Final Word

Unless you’re in a transient, tourist-filled city, local business is your restaurant’s bread and butter. You only have one shot to get it right. Don’t allow factors well within your control to be the reason they decide that they prefer your competition over you.

Sign up for our Secret Shopping Services to make sure you’re getting the unbiased, anonymous feedback necessary to understand your guests and what they want! Feel free to contact us here as well.

» Born and educated in the United States, John Stocki launched his career on a global scale working in Australia, United Arab Emirates, China and the US, as well as traveling and training in over 30 countries. He brings a straight-forward approach, laced with direct personal experience, to his special style of training which is what makes his company – Stocki Exchange – so distinctive. Founded in 2012, the Stocki Exchange enables John to travel throughout the US and abroad helping others to grow their businesses through innovation and inspiration. John is also a contributing writer to The Huffington Post.

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