Creating a Culture of Consistency and Accountability in Multi Unit Restaurant Chains

By Sarah Miller March 7, 2023 Blog, Restaurant
Multi unit restaurant employees giving each other a high five

For multi-location chain restaurant operators, ensuring that customers receive the same level of quality and service with a visit to any unit is essential to success. Defining brand standards and committing to them creates a sense of trust and reliability between a business and those who frequent it. Few factors are more critical to the effective cultivation of customer loyalty and repeat spend than holding locations accountable for meeting those brand standards yet, in one study, more than 70% of respondents said that it was a challenge. The best way for multi-unit restaurant owners and operators to minimize expenses, restore performance at problem sites, and grow revenue is by creating a culture of consistency and accountability. The best way to make it happen is with the implementation of digital checklist and auditing tools.

“Focus on building the best possible business. If you are great, people will notice and opportunities will appear.” – Mark Cuban

The Value of Repeat Customers

Multi-unit restaurant operators must focus not only on attracting diners. Those that understand the value of repeat customers take steps to prioritize building those relationships. Repeat customers not only spend more money over time, but they also require less spend to bring them back. Estimates vary, but experts agree that it costs a minimum of 5X more to attract a new customer than it does to entice a satisfied previous customer to return. However, after a first visit, there is only a 50 percent chance of return so restaurants have to do everything possible to make a good impression. Diners must be delighted with every aspect of their experience, including food, service and ambiance.

The good news is that the likelihood of return increases with each successive visit, jumping to 70% after just a single follow up visit. After a customer’s fourth visit, there is an 85% chance that they will be back within six months. The relationship between visit frequency and spend is clear: the more loyal the diner, the higher their value. One RJ Metrics study concluded that a customer who has been doing business with a company for 30 months typically spends up to two-thirds more per order than they did on their initial visit. That same study found that, across industries, a company’s top 10% of customers – those who come most often – spend 3X more per visit that the other 90%. The top 1% spends 5X more per order than the remaining 99%.

The Impact of Consistency on Loyalty

65% of consumers have switched brands after a poor customer experience (Khoros). Consistency in food quality, service, and cleanliness helps to create a positive experience and establish trust between diners and restaurants. In turn, that trust leads to customer loyalty and increases revenue. Customers opting to visit a multi-unit restaurant chain expect the same food, service, and environment regardless of the location they choose. Whether alone or with family and friends, they must feel confident in that brand’s ability to provide that reliable experience in order to relax and enjoy their time on site.

Customers who have an outstanding experience often go on to recommend a restaurant to others who then become customers themselves. Touchbistro reports that, “91% of restaurant-goers had visited a restaurant they’d never been to purely based on a friend’s recommendation. 68% were willing to try a restaurant based on positive online reviews and 41% were willing to plan a visit based entirely on positive feedback on social media.” Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and consistent experiences are critical to creating positive recommendations in person and online.

Areas in Which Restaurants Should Strive for Consistency

Consistency is essential across all aspects of restaurant operations. Specific areas in which multi-unit operators should strive for consistency include:

  • Food Quality: Establish standard recipes, portion sizes, and cooking methods.
  • Menu: Offerings, presentation, and specials should be identical across locations.
  • Service: Train employees to provide the same high level of service, regardless of location.
  • Cleanliness: Provide a clean environment with excellent food safety protocols in the kitchen, sanitary dining areas, and sparkling restrooms.
  • Ambiance: Create consistent decor, lighting, and music across all locations to create a cohesive brand identity.
  • Signage: All visible signage, including printed menus, should accurately reflect your company’s branding.
  • Uniforms: If employees are required to wear a work uniform, it should be clean and fit appropriately.

How Managers Can Hold Store Leadership and Employees Accountable

After brand standards have been defined, establishing a culture of accountability is critical to maintaining consistency across locations. Area managers play a vital role in ensuring that store employees uphold brand standards. Here are some strategies that area managers can use to hold store employees accountable:

  • Communicate Clear Expectations: Area managers must make sure that all employees are clear on expectations for each location, including standards for food quality, service, cleanliness, and ambiance. These standards should be communicated clearly and frequently to all employees.
  • Regularly Monitor Performance: Area managers need to regularly visit each location to monitor performance and ensure that employees are meeting expectations.
  • Establish Performance Metrics: Stop guessing. Performance metrics have to be put in place to quantify and track each location’s performance. These may include customer satisfaction scores, sales, and food waste.
  • Coach Underperforming Staff Members and Locations: Improvement is always possible. Offer training to help struggling employees or sites.
  • Reward Positive Performance: Rewarding positive performance helps to reinforce the importance of upholding brand standards. Be generous with incentives such as bonuses, promotions, and public recognition.

Improve Operations with Digital Systems

Highly-configurable digital checklist and field audit apps such as DailyChex and AuditApp by MeazureUp improve efficiency by eliminating the need for paper-based systems and offer numerous advantages over analog systems. With a digital app, employees can quickly complete checklists and managers can conduct audits using a mobile device. The results are automatically synced to a central database, reducing errors and maximizing resources. Additionally, digital apps can send automated reminders and notifications to employees, ensuring that tasks are completed on time.

Digital checklist and field audit apps increase accountability by providing a digital trail of completed tasks and audits, empowering managers to track performance and identify areas where additional training may be needed. These high-tech apps also offer real-time reporting with photos and videos, giving all stakeholders immediate access to critical data, allowing for quick identification of issues and the ability to take action before problems escalate. Real-time reporting can also help identify trends and opportunities for improvement, enabling companies to make data-driven decisions.

How could implementing digital checklist and field audit systems create a culture of consistency and accountability and grow revenue at your restaurants? Let’s find out together. Schedule your free demo of DailyChex by MeazureUp today.