Two Powerful Ways to Keep And Win Catering Contracts

January 13th, 2021

As a Catering Manager, you know that high diner satisfaction is the key to winning — and keeping — contracts. You also know that understanding diner satisfaction is easier said than done.

Let’s say you’ve hired an on-site team of interviewers specifically for this task. Unless the interviewers are perched like vultures at the exit points — or worse, interrupting diners while they eat — good luck getting any type of response!

Those that aren’t phased by the interruption and actually take the time to answer are, at best, unreliable. They either loved or hated the service, and are looking for someone to discharge their “enthusiasm”.

Or they’ve already forgotten about the food they ate while they distractedly scrolled through social media.

Let’s not even start to talk about the fact that less than 30% of comment cards ever get filled out.

The best you’ll get is a muddled recollection patched with minor observations and emotion. Not very useful data.

This is where capturing real-time feedback can help. This is the raw, unadulterated feedback that tells you how diners truly feel about your services — right as it happens.

So what can real-time feedback do for you? And what tools can help you capture tons of it?

Overview of diner satisfaction across all locations

Let’s assume you’re the catering manager for 20 sites. You want to meet and exceed diner expectations, but you’re already at 110% capacity.

How can real-time feedback help you be in 20 places at once?

In each of the 20 locations, you could place a smiley feedback terminal and ask “How was your breakfast/lunch/dinner today?” You’d ideally place them at a high-footfall exit point, so that diners see it on their way out.

Since leaving feedback with OMBEA terminals is a matter of hovering (not touching) their hand over a smiley face, it takes less than a second to leave a response.

Related: Learn more about our on-site ExpressPods for diner feedback

Responses are sent to your dashboard as they come in. Here, you’d be able to see the distribution of positive and negative responses over a time period (hour, day, week, month, year). You’d also see responses for each dining location, giving you a birds-eye view of your entire operation.

Diner responses are aggregated and presented as an Insights Index, which ranges from 1 - 100. You could, however, choose to display the results using another indicator such as Net Promoter Score (NPS). Each individual location also receives its individual score.

Whoever told you you can’t be in 20 places at once is a liar!

Related: How Fairview Dining uses OMBEA to track the ebb and flow of diner experience

Know when to intervene, and learn from the best

Having a birds-eye view of your 20 locations, you can compare which ones are performing well and which are lagging behind. In those locations that are receiving large amounts of negative feedback, you know that you still have time to act before it’s too late.

Remember, you’re capturing unadulterated diner feedback from all your locations right as it’s happening. This allows you to immediately shift your priorities so you can focus on fixing — and preventing — dips in diner satisfaction.

Real-time feedback can also help you understand what your top performers are doing right. It’s as simple as asking diners themselves!

One way to do this is by changing your smiley terminals to fit multiple-choice questions. If you’d like to understand whether specific factors impact diner experience, our OMBEA ExpressPods allow you to replace the smiley buttons with A B C D E options. Now you’ll be able to ask a question such as this:

“What do you think contributed to a good dining experience?”
A) Atmosphere
B) Variety of food
C) Cleanliness
D) Staff
E) Quick service

As with smiley questions, the feedback data is gathered in the central dashboard, where you’ll be able to see the results distributed by location.

You can also use real-time feedback to uncover the specific reasons for why certain locations are top performers. In this case, you can set up a 1-question survey with the question “Could you tell us why you like dining here so much?” and provide an open-text space. You'd then place QR codes at your location's high footfall areas and prompt diners to scan using their own devices. This'll take them directly to the survey, which you can also distribute through email or SMS.

You can then create a multiple-choice question to validate some of the input. Let's say that you checked your OMBEA dashboard and you noticed that "friendly staff", "Good food" and "clean area" were common phases used.

You can then create the following multiple-choice question:

“Which of the following made the biggest difference in your experience today?”
A) Staff
B) Food Quality
C) Cleanliness

Related: OMBEA Anywhere Module for real-time feedback on any device

Final Thoughts

From traditional paper surveys to on-site personnel conducting interviews, there’s more than one way to understand your diners’ experience.

But can any of these help you track diner experience in more than one location simultaneously? Can any of these give you the information you need quickly so that you can address negative feedback? Do they give you a quantifiable score that’s easy to understand?

Using real-time feedback tools, you’ll be able to stay on top of your catering services no matter how many locations you serve. Plus, you’ll be able to quantify diner feedback with either an Insights score or an NPS.

The next time you’re at a performance management meeting, or are on the hunt for new business, you’ll be able to present hard evidence that you’re delighting your diners.

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