Restaurant Surveys: What Questions to Ask?

Restaurant Surveys: What Questions to Ask?Surveying customers is an easy, inexpensive, and beneficial way to solicit direct feedback from your guests. Feedback that can help you improve the customer experience, make menu updates, revisit your staff’s customer service capabilities, etc. As a restaurant owner you’re often so engrossed in the day-to-day operations of your business that it’s easy to miss what’s happening right in front of you. Customers are your most valuable asset—and their opinion is critical to the success of your business.

Restaurant surveys are most often presented with the check, after a guest has finished their meal and their dining experience is coming to a close. These surveys should be snappy—just a few questions—and offer a place for guests to leave information such as an email address, which you can then add to your mailing list. And don’t forget the pen! Hardly anyone carries a pen these days; if you don’t drop one off with the survey, chances are it won’t get completed. Additionally, surveys can be sent digitally to your email list.

What are some of the questions you should be asking on these surveys? Let us first urge you to opt for open-ended questions. By this we mean, stay away from questions that require only “yes” or “no” responses, as the information you glean from them isn’t as detailed as what might prove useful for you. Surveys should also be concise and not take more than 5 or so minutes to complete. If your survey is coming at the end of a meal, your guests are itching to head home. And we all know how short attention spans are these days, so email surveys should follow those same guidelines.

Probably the most common question asked on restaurant surveys is, “How likely are you to dine with us again?” Have customers rate their likelihood on a scale of 1-10. Similarly, you can ask “How likely are you to recommend this restaurant to friends and family?”

While we did mention avoiding closed-ended questions, it is a good idea to ask customers if they’ve dined with you before (or worded differently, “Is this your first time dining with us?”). This will give you a good idea of how many repeat customers you have.

In the era of COVID-19, a critical question to ask guests is “What did you think about the cleanliness of the restaurant?”

When it comes to menu offerings, asking “What entrees would you like to see on our menu that you didn’t notice during your visit?” and “What additional drinks or desserts you would like to see on our menu?”

Gathering feedback on your staff is another way to gauge how well your restaurant is running. Don’t shy away from asking how the service was, if the wait time for a table or food was reasonable, or if their server did his/her best to meet their needs. Responses to these types of questions will make it easier for you to address issues that you know about, rather than being ignorant to them or going off rumors.

Again, keep your surveys quick and easy. The faster a customer can read and respond, the more likely they are to do so. Customers are placing increased scrutiny on restaurants these days amid the coronavirus pandemic. If you haven’t been sending surveys, now is the perfect time to start listening to your customers even more.