Around 72% diners place food quality over other factors contributing to the total guest experience. Image Credit: Pixabay

Numerous studies in F&B enumerate that customer happiness is more significant than customer satisfaction, overlooking the conventional discussions around dining experiences.

On that note, many restaurants follow and adapt strategies heeding to customer happiness —restaurants that consider delivering outstanding customer experiences through every touchpoint pivotal will be rewarded with customer loyalty.

The UAE is the second largest F&B market for online food delivery in the MENA region, with an annual market size of $834 million. The number of online food delivery users here is expected to be 5.5 million by 2026. As this is such an integral part of a restaurant’s business model, brands must focus on top-notch customer experience to ensure customer loyalty.

To foster customer delight, brands must know their customers’ rapidly transforming preferences and evolve by offering unique experiences. Understanding the customer’s needs and serving them accordingly will also give restaurants leverage among their competitors.

Today, the global food delivery market is worth $150 billion, nearly triple what it was in 2017. User-friendly apps, tech-enabled drivers, and shifts in consumer demands brought about the rapid evolution of the food-delivery ecosystem, which became the saving grace for restaurants.

One of the key factors in a comprehensive customer satisfaction strategy is engaging with diners, essentially through feedback. The emergence of digital channels has given them the power to express their opinion on various forums. Thus, restaurants must take necessary steps to remap the customer journey.

The roadmap to a successful delivery service:

Attract: Guarantee the provided value before earning the value;

Capture: Make it convenient, appealing, and valuable;

Mutual success: Our success is customer happiness.

A few factors that ensure a great customer experience:

Personalised services by knowledgeable staff: The employees in a restaurant contributes maximum towards generating engagement, and they must be hospitable and well-informed to resolve any queries and offer valuable suggestions.

Quality food: According to Benchmark, around 72 per cent of diners place food quality over other factors contributing to the total guest experience. It is important to manage the time of meal preparation, packing and dispatch as well as the estimated delivery time to ensure that the order reaches the customer’s doorstep on time. Then, quality and freshness criteria are guaranteed. Some menu items cannot be home delivered at the same level of quality as they would be if consumed in-restaurant. These need to be removed/customised specifically for takeout.

Food delivery time: In a recent survey, 60 per cent of customers named speed of delivery their No. 1 priority. Customers who order through food delivery apps get regular updates on where their order is at every step — this means that if the delay is from the restaurant’s side, they are informed. The team should flow smoothly to deliver the food on time.

Secure and personalised packaging: It will ensure that food quality is uncompromised, reflect the brand’s message and provides an opportunity to up brand recall value.

Pay attention to special requests: Restaurants must consider any allergy notes, add-ons or replacements that customers request with their order. Skipping these is a sure-fire way of losing customers.

Freebies and discounts: Rewarding customers with freebies such as vouchers, discounts, and promotional offers can also significantly impact brand loyalty. Discount offers for a first-time customer is a good way to engage with new customers and encourage them to try out the cuisines at the restaurant.

Embrace technology: Restaurants’ top priority should be to enforce a high-quality user experience on their website and apps, as most modern diners look for ease of use first.

Providing real-time accurate information and prioritizing customer preference is the ticket to extending customer experience into diners’ homes and helping your restaurant grow.