What Do Customers Expect from a Great Restaurant?

What makes a restaurant truly successful in the eyes of a customer? The answer may seem obvious, as good food, friendly service, and cleanliness are typically the first things that come to mind. However, statistics show that only 10% to 20% of new restaurants make it past their first five years in business. So, what’s with the disconnect? Often many people operating within the food service business fail to take into account the following factors:

First Impressions

The initial encounter with a restaurant for customers can make or break the entire dining experience and determine whether or not they’ll even consider coming back. Have you ever walked into a restaurant and found yourself looking around, unsure whether to seat yourself or wait to be greeted by the host? This type of situation can make customers feel confused; not exactly the best way to start off on the right foot. Ensuring that a host is available to greet the guests upon entry with a warm and welcoming smile is absolutely vital to making a great first impression.

Avoiding long wait times is another important factor to consider. The last thing your restaurant needs is a lobby full of “hangry” customers. Be sure to avoid overbooking reservations, and have some tasty samples from the kitchen ready to go whenever your staff finds itself in the weeds. 


These days, there is an endless amount of dining establishments to choose from. What makes your restaurant so unique that it sets you apart from the competition? Find your niche by examining your location and customer base, then align your décor and dishes with your findings accordingly. A family restaurant is more likely to serve generous portions of classic meals at an enticing price; meanwhile, a hipster hangout puts the focus on high-quality fusion foods that can’t be found anywhere else.

Pay attention to the details. All of those little things really add up to create the overall tone and setting of the restaurant, including everything from employee restaurant apparel to the linens on the table. A recent TRSA study revealed that the majority of consumers expect better service and a higher quality of food at establishments that use tablecloths, and 55% are willing to pay more at a restaurant simply because of this one specific detail.

Customer Appreciation

It feels good to be appreciated, and customer appreciation is a big part of generating repeat business. Some ways to inspire customers to return include remembering their names, as well as their favorite drinks and dishes. Be flexible with their dietary restrictions and palette preferences, and compliment their meal decision by letting them know they’ve made an excellent choice.

Prompting returns by providing the occasional free appetizer or dessert is another great way to make repeat customers feel special. Alternatively, comping certain items from the bill from time to time lets people know that their business is remembered and valued.

Marketing & Social Media

Today’s ever-expanding digital age requires active participation within the digital space. Attract more customers to your restaurant by expanding your marketing efforts online through popular social networks. Instagram is a hub for foodies across the globe and is also a great way to put your most delectable dishes on display for the whole world to see. In addition, be sure to utilize relevant and trending hashtags to maximize your audience reach to its greatest potential.

Establishing a social media presence is just one piece of the puzzle, which is why inspiring customer interaction on a regular basis is another key component to digital marketing. Consider hosting a contest for a free meals or gift card, and provide special incentives and perks for customers who follow your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to optimize the customer experience in order to create an unforgettable encounter from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave the table. By making customers feel respected both inside and outside of your establishment, positive word-of-mouth and reviews will spread like wildfire, taking your business to astounding new heights that may have once seemed unimaginable.

Company Bio

Prudential Overall Supply has been a trusted leader in providing reusable textiles for businesses since 1932. Restaurateurs across America rely on their high quality work uniforms, and linens to ensure employee safety and customer satisfaction. Learn more about what they can do for your business online at or give them a call at (800) 767-5536.