According to a report by Business World, the Philippine fast food industry is growing by 12 percent every year, which is unsurprising, given the Filipinos’ busy lifestyle, need for convenience, and love of comforting food at reasonable prices. While it may appear that the food business is an easy way to make good money, it is necessary to point out that the rate of new quick service restaurant (QSR) openings is nearly as high as the rate of closures.
This reality clearly shows that, contrary to what many entrepreneurs believe, the food business is not the ultimate cash cow but a serious business venture that needs careful planning and attention. To be successful in the QSR business, one needs to have the basics in place - favorable location, great quality food, efficient supply chain, and, most importantly, the know-how to keep customers happy.
As a fast food restaurant owner, you probably already know full well that customer satisfaction can make or break your business. When customers are pleased with every aspect of how your place operates, they will visit more often, bring their family and friends with them, and maybe promote it to strangers online with a good review or two. If you are looking for ways to make your customers happy with your business, consider the following tips.
Filipinos are generally patient and forgiving. Very few of them will actually complain if the staff is rude or if the service is poor. They will simply show their dissatisfaction by not going back to the restaurant where they experienced bad customer service and telling their family and friends about their negative experience. You should avoid such damaging publicity by ensuring that everyone in your staff knows how to offer an excellent customer experience.
One study on customer satisfaction revealed that for Pinoys, quality service is linked to generating repurchase intention (i.e. customers will come to order food again), achieving first-in-mind status, and encouraging promotion by word-of-mouth.. Essentially, when you give Filipinos good service, you can be assured of positive returns. You can even leverage this to increase your restaurant’s competitive advantage, particularly if you are new in the food service industry.
Improving service quality does not have to be complicated. You can start by ensuring that your staff is:
While Filipino customers are used to paying in cash when dining in quick service restaurants, a recent study by Visa Philippines on the payment attitude of consumers revealed that Filipinos are generally interested in cashless transactions. In fact, 45 percent of Pinoys are already using cashless options when paying for their fast food purchases. Respondents of the study shared that they are willing to go cashless for convenience, speed, and innovativeness.
If your business continues to accept only cash, you are bound to make many of your customers unhappy. To accommodate the preferences of more people, you should offer different payment options, such as debit and credit cards, QR Code Payments, or payments by e-wallets or mobile wallets.
You should definitely make contactless payment easier, especially now that the country is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people are worried about physical contact with other people and with potentially contaminated surfaces and objects. You can rely on a fast, responsive, handy, and all-in-one payment device like PayMaya ONE Lite, for example. You can use this portable payment gateway when accepting payments for for dine-in patrons and even for deliveries since it is small enough to fit in a pocket and is completely wireless. Using such a solution will make payments more convenient and safer for both your employees and your customers.
Also consider leveraging the friendliness of Filipinos by connecting with them on a personal level. Offer freebies to your regulars after visiting a specific number of times. Train your staff to greet frequent visitors by name and with an extra friendly smile.
You can also consider giving those who are celebrating their birthday a free cupcake, balloon, or a special food item from your menu to make the occasion more memorable. Exerting a bit of effort to make your patrons feel more appreciated will surely benefit your business. Remember that it is easy for Pinoys to become loyal when you make them feel like family.
Your QSR’s cleanliness and sanitation are essential elements in enticing new customers and creating a loyal following. Pinoys, especially those who are upwardly mobile, are drawn to places that are clean and with good ambiance. They are willing to spend money just to have a pleasant experience. Why do you think some coffee shop franchises are growing fast in a developing economy like the Philippines despite their high prices?
Keep in mind that you are in the food service industry. As such, you cannot afford to neglect the cleanliness of your store. Nobody will feel happy eating in a place with sticky floors, dirty tables, and even filthier restrooms. You may trick a few people to try dining in your establishment, but they will likely never come back.
Make sure that everything is clean and well-maintained by establishing a regular cleaning schedule with your employees instead of just assuming that they’ll figure the cleaning out themselves eventually. Train new and old employees continuously on how to keep the place sanitary and presentable.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to ensure that your customers have a pleasant experience dining in your QSR is by viewing things from their perspective. Your customers are people just like you, which means you should be able to readily empathize with them.
What are the things that will make you happy when you eat in a fast food restaurant? You will most likely look for good food, respectful and friendly staff, quick service, attractive surroundings, and a secure and orderly location.
Listen to the “customer” in you and apply this strategy in every aspect of your operations. Pinoys are easy to please and naturally loyal. When you take the time to truly understand what they want and exert effort to provide for their wants and needs, you will surely enjoy their business for many years.
If you want your fast food restaurant to build a loyal following, consider the pointers above, and consistently find new ways to increase customer satisfaction. Always remember that happy customers are loyal customers. And when you have loyal patrons, you get free referrals, positive reviews, social media mentions, and other forms of social proof that will eventually translate to an increase in revenue.