9 Factors Affecting Customer Satisfaction in Restaurants and How to Use Them to Increase Loyalty

factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants

Getting clients into the restaurant is a great first step, but if you want to build a large pool of recurring clients, you need to offer an amazing customer experience.

What can you do to increase customer satisfaction and get more positive reviews? We’ve gathered data from two studies (1 & 2) on factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants and we’ve compiled a thorough list.

On top of these factors, we made sure to add some useful tips on how to better please your client. Read on ->

Factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants

There are countless options for people to eat food around your area. How can you convince people to not just visit you once, but become loyal customers? By being aware of the factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants and implementing measures to create an unforgettable experience.

Read more: How to Measure and Increase Restaurant Customer Satisfaction Online

We’ll show you how:

1. Menu composition

One of the biggest factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants is the menu. Here are some of the restaurant menu elements that encourage people to come back:

  • Short menu: people often get choice paralysis if they are confronted with a big menu. Furthermore, they may think you don’t deliver quality if you offer countless dishes from many types of cuisine. Go for a short menu that can be read at a glance and focus on perfecting your menu items;
    factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants
  • Seasonal menus: people may have some favorite dishes at your restaurant, but they don’t want to eat the same thing over and over. You should try and add some seasonal items that will be sought-after such as pumpkin-spiced items in the fall. If you use our menu builder, you can update your menu as many times as you want, for free;
  • Menu with customization options: clients love customization options because it gives them the opportunity to create the perfect dish for them. With the menu creator from GloriaFood, you can allow people to choose sizes for their menu items and also add as many toppings as they want;
  • Menu with allergen and nutritional information: if you want to expand your client list, you must cater to people who suffer from food allergies or who choose to have a specific diet. Use our menu builder to add allergen and nutritional information to your restaurant menu in minutes.
    factors affecting customer experience
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2. Food quality

Food quality is probably one of the most important factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants. Clients can ignore the small space or a one-and-done bad interaction, but if the food is not excellent, they will not come back.

Do the following to ensure consistent great food:

  • Focus on quality ingredients: the taste of the ingredients will be obvious in the final dish, so make sure it is exquisite. You can also build trust with your customers by indicating ingredients origin, be it locally sourced or imported;
  • Train your kitchen staff: give your employees the tools they need to make satisfying dishes every time. You can even invite guest chefs to teach your staff how to prepare certain menu items;
  • Implement restaurant standard operating procedures: with strict rules in place, the chance of food-borne illnesses decreases considerably. If kitchen staff follows the same procedures to prepare food, the results will be the same, you won't have amazing food one day and barely edible dishes the other;

Read more: 20 Essential Restaurant KPIs You Should Be Tracking and How to Measure Them

3. Menu pricing

Menu pricing is one of the obvious factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants. The hard part is finding an equilibrium between how to price menu items to make a profit yet have prices that regular customers deem fair. Here are a few tips for success:

  • Offer value for money: there is no problem if you have high prices as there is an audience for everything. The problem only arises if there is no equitable value for money. For example, if you run a fast food with prices closer to a high-end restaurant. Research your competition to see how they price their food, so you can use prices similar to theirs;
  • Add promotions: using restaurant promotions can be a great way to both attract new clients and convince customers to come back. With our online ordering system, setting up a restaurant deal only takes seconds. You can also customize the promotions to only be available to returning customers.
  • Implement portion control: restaurants often have very big portions that clients can't finish which leads to food wastage. To offer a smaller price without eating into your profit, you can make the portions smaller. This way, clients won’t be unhappy that they paid money and weren’t able to finish the dish and they may also want to order more.

4. User convenience

If you did a poll among your clients and have them vote on the most important factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants, convenience will surely rank at the top. Eating out or ordering in should be an easy and pleasant experience, not a complicated one.

Here is what you must do to increase client satisfaction:

  • Add an online ordering system to your website: don't make clients call you when they want to order because you risk getting orders wrong. Instead, allow people to order directly from your website in just a few clicks. They will surely appreciate the fast and straightforward ordering process.
  • Use a table reservation system with an order ahead feature: at times, clients will be in a hurry and want a speedy service, especially during lunch hour. With GloriaFood, you can get a table reservation system that empowers clients to order their food and pay for it when they book a table. This way, they can be served as soon as they are seated.
    factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants
  • Allow clients to order by QR code: while customers may be seated fast, it can take some time until a server can take their order, especially if it’s a busy day. Use our online ordering system to generate a free QR code that you print on flyers and place on every table. This way, clients can browse the restaurant menu with a simple scan and order when they want, freeing up your employees' time.
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5. Hygiene

Hygiene is one of the deciding factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants. A hair in the food or dirty tableware will not only guarantee the client never returns, but it also increases the chance they will leave a negative review.

Therefore, if you want to persuade clients to come back, implement strict hygiene rules and ensure employees stick to them. These elements should always be spotless:

  • Clean table, it should be sanitized after every client
  • Clean tableware
  • Staff hygiene, both the ones that interact with clients and the ones in the kitchen
  • Clean facilities, such as bathroom and sinks

6. Service quality

If you went to a restaurant where you had to wait for more than half an hour to get a menu, place an order, or pay, would you come back? Probably not. Nor would other people, because service quality is one of the factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants.

Here is what you can do to improve service quality:

  • Rely on technology: a POS(point of sale) system and a KDS(kitchen display system) are a must for efficient and fast ordering, paying, and preparing food. It will make the service time way faster than having servers noting down orders on paper and running to the kitchen to let them know what they should prepare next;
  • Schedule employees according to expected traffic: if there is only one server per ten tables, the serving time will be very slow, and both clients and employees will be frustrated. Take a look over restaurant reporting data to see when your place is busy and schedule your staff accordingly;
  • Promote your table reservation system: encourage people to book a table so you know how many clients you will be serving. This will allow you to plan the food and schedule employees for the best customer experience.

7. Staff behavior

Working with clients is one of the toughest jobs out there. If your employee is having a bad day, it may be reflected in their interaction with clients. And if a customer is served by a rude employee, they will associate them with the whole restaurant and tell everyone about their bad experience.

Here is what you can do to ensure your staff's behavior is irreprehensible:

  • Have procedures in place for every type of situation: everyone working at the restaurant is only human and errors can occur. An order may be forgotten, or it may be wrong. However, the way employees react to these situations can save a situation and still satisfy customers. Create procedures for every type of possible event, so your employees know how they should react;
  • Ensure fair treatment and scheduling: if employees are unhappy with how they are treated, they won't be motivated to offer clients a great customer experience. Therefore, take all measures to help them feel satisfied with their job such as fair scheduling, benefits, and time off when they need it;
  • Train your employees to offer excellent customer service: your employees are your restaurant’s image, so you should train them to stand by your branding. Have them taste all your menu items so they can make great recommendations.

Read more: How to Counter the Restaurant Employee Shortage by Leveraging Technology

8. Ambience

Going out to eat is no longer just about the food, people seek an experience. It should come as no surprise that ambiance is one of the factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants. Here is what you should look out for:

  • Lighting: different lighting creates different ambiances. For example, powerful lights all over the ceiling are expected in a fast-food restaurant, but for a fine dining establishment, clients expect a lot of small lights for a romantic atmosphere. Keep in mind that you should still have enough light so that clients can see their food and their dining companions;
  • Sound: people expect to hear some music in the background, but that’s exactly how it should remain. You run a restaurant, not a club, so clients must be able to have a conversation without having to yell over the music;
  • Décor: who doesn't like to hang out in cute spots? In this era, people appreciate restaurants with an out-of-the-box décor they can use as a background for their photos. It is also beneficial to you because they will tag your place in social media posts, encouraging others to visit you.

9. Sitting arrangements

You might be tempted to cram as many tables as possible in your restaurant to serve more clients at the same time. But customers don’t want to be touching strangers when dining or struggle to fit all their food on the table because it is too small.

Therefore, if you want clients to come back, you should have:

  • At least 1 meter between tables to allow people to move around comfortably;
  • Tables big enough for the number of people. For example, if it is a table with four chairs, the tables should fit all their dishes and drinks with space left to spare;
  • Comfortable chairs with amenities for the weather. For example, if you have outdoor seating, you can provide blankets in the cold weather.

Final Words

Knowing the factors affecting customer satisfaction in restaurants will help you identify your vulnerable points and find ways to better your business. The happier your clients are, the more positive reviews you get that, in turn, attract even more customers.

Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos is sometimes a content writer, other times a copywriter, but always produces high-quality content that helps clients up their marketing game. She devotes her attention to helping restaurant owners have a successful business with well-documented and SEO-optimized articles.

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