Surveying Your Customers – 10 Most Important Questions To Ask

Surveying Your Customers - 10 Most Important Questions To Ask

Surveys help you improve your restaurant and increase profits.

Have you ever thought about surveying your customers? If not, it’s something to consider.

Surveying your customers provides you with a wealth of information about how your diners feel about your menu, food, customer service and overall restaurant vibe.

When you survey your customers, you get an inside look that can help you improve your restaurant. It also helps you understand where you shine and where you fall short. (tweet this)

You can use survey information to fine tune and to market your restaurant to new customers.

To help you survey your customers, we look at the 10 most important questions to ask. First, let’s look at some survey tips to get you started.

Avoid Yes/No Questions

Often called a polar question, the yes/no question is a question with only two possible answers.

You want to avoid this type of question because it doesn’t give you an actionable data.

For example, a yes/no question might look like this: “Do you like our pizza toppings?”

A better question looks like this: “What kind of pizza toppings would you like to see on our menu?”

The yes/no question only lets you know that they either do or don’t like your offerings. The better question asks them specifically what they’d like to see. Who knows – you just might get half of your respondents asking for pineapple!

The other negative to yes/no questions is that they can be leading. You can bias your customer with this type of question because there is no way they can give you an authentic answer that relays their real thoughts.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

An open-ended question is one that asks your respondents to make a comment. This could be one sentence or five, but the important thing is that you let your customers have their say.

You don’t want a whole survey of open-ended questions – a couple will suffice.

If you’re worried about long-winded responses, you can set your text box to only accept a certain number of characters.

Use One Question

“How did you like our food? Was your service good? Was the music too loud?”

Believe it or not, we’ve seen survey questions where all three of the above were asked in one question. This is not a good survey practice.

You want to keep your survey questions simple. Make sure they only have one idea in them at a time.

Here’s another bad example that we’ve seen: “Did you enjoy your meal at our restaurant, and if so, why?”

This is just as bad as the question with three ideas. Why? First, this one leads the respondents to like the meal they had because it’s a leading question.

It assumes they liked their dinner, and they’ll tell you why.

Here’s another bad example: “Was your server friendly and timely?” This one is bad because while the server may have been friendly, perhaps the server wasn’t timely and neglected to refill drinks.

When crafting each survey question, ask one idea at a time.

Avoid Biased Questions

You want to be careful when asking questions that you don’t bias your respondents.

For example, imagine this question, “How well do you think your server did taking care of your table?”

This question has no objectivity because it assumes the server did well. Your respondents may answer differently than they would have if you’d simply asked, “How did your server do taking care of your table?”

You don’t want to pressure your respondents by asking biased questions.

Test Your Survey Before Sending

It’s tempting to craft a survey and immediately hit send.

You want to make sure you test your survey before sending it. Pre-test it on multiple devices and in several different Internet browsers.

In addition, send it to your staff. Ask them to complete it, and then ask them if they found any questions unclear or hard to answer.

Testing your survey before sending helps ensure you have a better response rate.

Surveying Your Customers

Happy customers often like to tell you how exceptional your service is.

Question Ideas:

We’ve looked at some best practices on how to survey your customers. Now, let’s look at the 10 most important questions to ask your diners.

  1. Would you recommend our restaurant to family and friends? If they answer yes, take them to another question asking why. If they answer no, again include conditional logic to ask them why not.
  2. How often do you dine at our restaurant?
  3. What did you like about our food menu?
  4. What did you dislike about our food menu?
  5. Are there any drinks you’d like to see on our menu?
  6. How did our wait staff do?
  7. How do you feel about the speed of your service?
  8. Did our staff meet your needs?
  9. Please rate the cleanliness of our restaurant.
  10. Would you eat here again?

Keep the Survey Simple

While we’ve mentioned the 10 most important questions to ask in a survey, we advise you not to ask them all at once.

The best surveys are short and take less than five-ten minutes to complete. Any longer than that, and survey fatigue sets in, and your drop-off rate rises significantly. (tweet this)

Try to keep your survey under five questions for the best results.

Only ask the questions you intend to take action on immediately. You can always ask the other questions later on down the road.

Final Thoughts

Do you know your customers? Do you know how to meet their needs as well as their expectations?

While you may think you have an understanding of your current customers, we encourage you to survey them at least once a year.

You may find out that your customers feel differently than you first thought.

Surveying your customers is good for your restaurant because it shows you where you excel and where you need to change.

Using your survey data allows you to craft the best solutions and marketing strategy to position your restaurant as the best in your community.

When surveying your customers, be sure to follow up with them in an email with your findings. Let them know what you’re going to do to address your survey data.

Follow-through is key because it shows your customers that you value their feedback and intend to act on it.

At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can use your site to survey your current and target customers. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: QuickOrder and Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

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