Taste, Value & Service: Guest Return Intent Drivers

Every time a guest visits a restaurant they learn something as a result of the experience, and depending on what they learn, they adjust their behavior based on the experience.  The guest may stay longer or leave early, purchase more items or purchase less, tell others of their experience, or decide to return for a repeat experience.  This link between the experience and guest behaviors offers managers a clear path to manage the guest experience in profitable ways.

Kinēsis conducted a survey of 800 respondents asking them to recall their most recent experience at a restaurant and rate the experience across the following 16 attributes grouped into five dimensions.

Dimension Attribute
Arrival Greeted promptly and felt welcomed
Greeting friendly and cheerful
Seated quickly
Service Food delivered in a timely manner
Server attentive to needs
Prompt attention of server
Friendliness of server
Food Order delivered accurately
Taste of food
Temperature of food
Overall presentation of the food
Value Good value for the money
Portion appropriate
Environment Server’s appearance neat and clean
Restaurant clean, comfortable and appealing
Table clean, dry and presentable

Additionally, to serve as a dependent variable for additional analysis, respondents were asked to rate their return intent on a 5-point scale.  We then cross tabulated the responses by positive and negative return intent to determine the frequency in which each attribute is positive in surveys with positive return intent compared to those with negative return intent. This cross tabulation yielded the following results:

Attribute

Positive Return Intent

Negative Return Intent

Greeted promptly and felt welcomed

75%

61%

Greeting friendly and cheerful

81%

58%

Seated quickly

74%

65%

Food delivered in a timely manner

79%

58%

Server attentive to needs

80%

58%

Prompt attention of server

74%

66%

Friendliness of server

77%

58%

Order delivered accurately

75%

65%

Taste of food

94%

34%

Temperature of food

76%

61%

Overall presentation of the food

80%

58%

Good value for the money

86%

49%

Portion appropriate

76%

62%

Server’s appearance neat and clean

75%

65%

Restaurant clean, comfortable and appealing

78%

63%

Table clean, dry and presentable

73%

67%

Combining these into one net difference between surveys with positive and negative return intent ranks the attributes in terms of the strength of their relationship to return intent:

Difference Between Positive & Negative Return Intent

Difference Between Positive and Negative Return Intent

Grouping these attributes back into the dimensions described below reveals the following average net strength of change in return intent by dimension:

Dimension's Difference Between Positive & Negative Return Intent

This analysis gives managers an informed view of which attributes in which to invest.  Clearly, the experience attributes that will yield the most ROI in terms of return intent are the quality of the food and perceptions of value for the money.  Next is the human element, how are guests greeted and made to feel welcomed and how they are served throughout the visit.  Finally, the physical environment plays an important but secondary role to the quality of the meal, perceptions of value and service.The quality of the meal and perceptions of value for the money each have the strongest relationship to return intent, followed by the service, greeting on arrival and the environment.

Click Here For More Information About Kinesis'; Guest Experience Research Services

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About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at: www.kinesis-cem.com

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