Service Trends Fusion: Combining Restaurant Service Data and Consumer Trends into a Secret Sauce

To pay homage to the trend of fusion cuisine taking shape worldwide, Coyle combined the findings from service evaluation data and consumer trends from its global evaluator panel to form a list of tips to stay ahead of the competition in 2014.

Service Evaluation Data

Using 2013 data from over 6,000 unique evaluations at 755 restaurants in 90 countries, Coyle analyzed 3,606 standards across 380,299 data points to discover key gaps in restaurant service worldwide:

  • Staff forgot that the phone call is often the first impression; basic courtesies and name usage can put you ahead of half the competition.
  • Chivalry is dead; doors were only opened half the time for guests.
  • Offering a specific drink at the table engages guests and increases revenue; servers only did this a third of the time.
  • Naming specific desserts after the meal entices patrons to order more; this was only done a little more than half the time.
  • Over half of all guests were never touched by a manager or supervisor during a dining experience. Management attention allows customers to feel like guests and elevates the experience.
  • Bartenders only up-sold food and drinks at the bar half of the time. Studies prove that suggestive selling not only engages guests to order more, but of course it brings more to the bottom line.

Global Evaluator Panel Trends

Coyle surveyed over 2,500 frequent diners and travelers in its panel who represent the pulse of the global restaurant industry. An open-ended question was asked about trends they see forming in their respective markets, and panelists told us in their own words what they saw to be the most vibrant predictions for 2014. A team of Coyle analysts synthesized the data, and some major themes emerged:

  • Awareness of diners’ allergies and preferences (e.g. gluten-free, vegan) is appreciated by guests.
  • Diners crave local and sustainable ingredients.
  • Quick and healthy; grab-and-go dining options allow guests to maintain wellness routines while traveling.
  • Elevated ‘comfort food’ is seen worldwide. This is cross-cultural from burgers to dim sum.

Secret Sauce for 2014

Savvy restaurateurs can leverage the best of service data findings against consumer sentiment to discover the secret to staying ahead this year. Here are some suggestions:

  • When guests call your restaurant, engage with them and ask about any dining preferences or specific diets. Vegan? Assure them you can hold the goat cheese on that flatbread pizza.
  • Offer healthy drinks during service to encourage that upsell: “May I cleanse your palate with a pomegranate fizz?”
  • Be more open to menu customizations, fostering an open environment for guests to substitute items and make the experience more personalized.
  • Make sure managers are on the floor and engage guests beyond the typical “How is everything?” Highlight the local farmer who provided the sustainable grass-fed beef or offer to take a picture to share/tweet/Instagram.
  • People want to feel appreciated when they spend money at your restaurant. Don’t forget to hold the door open or invite guests to return.

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