It is common knowledge that the food, staff and ambience are the main reasons customers keep coming back. And the more they get what they expect, the more likely they are to return.
Change however, is something that should be expected. This is why it is absolutely important to know how to implement change without unsettling your customers.
Most customers become quite familiar with your wait staff and baristas. Besides the friendly banter, there is a sense of satisfaction when a customer reaches the beginning of the queue and finds their coffee ready without having to actually order it. Unfortunately, this level of service walks out the door when your staff leave.
To ensure continuity in service standards, make sure new staff are trained in not only what they need to do, but also how they interact with customers.
Take a cue from Richard Branson about investing in employees. The business magnate, investor and philanthropist says, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to”.
Check out these links for more info on training staff:
Design and layout
This can be a double-edged sword. It can be either welcomed or rejected, depending on customer perception. If they don't see it as an improvement – they are going to see it as a barrier to their regular experience.
So to swing this type of change in your favour, make sure they are aware that a change is coming. Inform them in advance to give them time to get used to it. You could also undertake customer polls to take their opinion into account.
Updating your menu seasonally makes sense as it means your produce is fresh and ensures competitive pricing. However, making a radical flip from one season to the next can upset customers who have personal favourites on your menu. Instead, offer additional seasonal variations of menu favourites. You can use your least popular dishes for more experimental replacements.
Stay on top of what’s in-season and what’s not across New Zealand with this resource:
By keeping the fundamental aspects of your café the same, customers will feel welcomed, at home and continue coming back.