Editor’s Note: This article is a recap from a panel discussion — you can watch the full recording by clicking on the thumbnail below.
Guest feedback shouldn’t be a source of complaints and negativity. When used correctly, it’s a powerful driving force for restaurant sales.
From weekly operations meetings based on guest feedback, to understanding the reasons behind repeat visits, Red O has mastered the art of “staying in tune with your guests”. Hear from Corry Reid, Head of Marketing at Red O, about how this fine-mexican dining concept in Southern California consistently exceeds guest expectations using Tattle.
- Corry Reid, Head of Marketing at Red O Restaurants
- Isabella Jiao, Head of Marketing at Tattle
Why is guest feedback so important to Red O?
Corry Reid: From inflation, to labor shortage, to supply chain issues, there are so many challenges facing the restaurant industry — which is why building your customer base and getting those repeat visits is so important. We have to make sure every guest that comes in is having the full Red O experience because their money is important.
We want to make sure that when they spend their hard-earned money, we’re exceeding their expectations. They need to get the whole “Red O” package. That’s how you build trust with your customers. This way they’d feel like it’s worth it to visit your restaurant — and they’ll do it again.
How were you collecting feedback before Tattle? And how’s that different after Tattle?
Corry Reid: Before Tattle, we weren’t really collecting feedback at all. We had no idea what people thought of us, why they liked us, why they would return or not…we didn’t have a pulse on what guests thought. At most we had one or two anecdotal feedback here and there, but really nothing that informed us one way or another.
After we implemented Tattle in January, it really changed the way we do things. Tattle became one of the most talked about tools we have — we put so much emphasis on goal-setting and action plans inside the Tattle dashboard.
Our operations team have a weekly meeting to go through the Tattle dashboard and metrics. For the first time ever we had a guest feedback tool that allowed us to pinpoint where we have opportunities, and see it by location. Especially since none of the Red Os locations is close to one another, they have very different improvement opportunities, guest experience and demographics.
The really cool thing we see with Tattle is that where we see the bigger operational issues are completely aligned with our sales. If we see a dip in guest satisfaction, our sales will be affected shortly after as well.
Since we use Tattle for dine-in guest feedback and there’s no integration in place for that, we simply export the emails saved in our reservation platform, and our Account Manager at Tattle will help us send a survey email to these customers shortly after their experience.
Previously when I was at Fresh Brothers, which is another Tattle customer, we had an integration with Tattle so that Tattle can send an automatic survey email using the order data we have, so no manual effort was involved at all.
How do you go about designing a guest survey in Tattle?
Corry Reid: Tattle already has a ton of suvey templates for us to choose from, so we really leaned on their expertise to advise us on what’s the best.
We also first looked at our internal goals, which is to make sure that every guest gets the full Red O experience that exceeds their expectations. So we included questions in our surveys like “Did the manager stop by your table?” That is something outside Tattle’s standard five operational categories (i.e. food quality, hospitality, speed of service, accuracy, atmosphere), but is unique to us. Now in Tattle’s dashboard we can see people’s responses. If a manager isn’t stopping by their table, we can attribute that survey response to a specific date, day part, and therefore employee, so that we really ensure accountability that way.
Another example is our tequila tasting where we roll a tequila cart by each table to offer an experiential tasting service. In Tattle we specific include a question asking if they had a cart roll by their table, so we know which servers are doing it and which aren’t. This can have huge implicationg for us financially and it needs to be part of the Red O experience. So this is really helping us measure our teams’ effort and outcome.
Is there an example of a Red O location using Tattle data to make certain decisions?
Corry Reid: At our Newport Beach location, we have a very lively bar together with the full service dining section, so we started getting feedback on Tattle that the noise from the bar was carrying into the dining room. In order to make sure the noise level is appropriate, we started using decibel meters to take into consideration both the music volume and people’s conversations’ volume. For example, we can’t set the same music level on Monday night, which is less noisy, and on Friday night, which tends to see a bigger and noisier crowd. So we adjust the music level accordingly by monitoring the decible meter.
Could you give us some examples of how different departments use Tattle?
Corry Reid: Our operations team can use Tattle to make staffing and scheduling decisions, such as determine the right type of employees to staff for different shift, and how many employees are needed per shift. For examples, if we see Tattle feedback rolling in indicating that “Attentiveness” under “Hospitality” is an issue, maybe our servers are taking too many tables and not as attentive as they could be. So we might want to beef up staffing to make sure guests are getting the same amount of attention.
When we started receiving feedback on “Speed of Service”, our team implemented handheld devices for check out to speed up the ticket time, which was highly effective.
Since each Tattle survey is tied to a specific visit, we can pinpoint down to the specific date, day part, shift, and server. In this way Tattle is a great investigative tool for us internally to get to the root of an issue.
And even our culinary team benefits a lot from our survey responses. In Tattle survey templates there are even cuisine-specific questions. That’s when we discovered that a lot people who don’t come as often is not because of an unsatisfactory experience, but simply because they don’t want to eat Mexican food as often. This inspired our culinary team to put items on the menu that are healthier, and perhaps more appropriate as a lunch item. This way our dinner experiences are reserved for the more indulgent experiences, but our lunch options open up to a wider customer base. Tattle was able to show us that even if someone had a 5-star experience, there’s not much we can do if our cuisine type is percieved as “less healthy”. But at least from the marketing side and culinary side we can do more storytelling to emphasize our healthy options, our responsible ingredient sourcing etc. to entice those customers.