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PerformanceScope & Del Pez: How Guest Feedback Helps Independent Brands Deliver Exceptional Guest Experience

Operators know that consistent delivery of an excellent guest experience is crucial to their success. However, for independents and small to medium-sized chains, it’s even more important. Independents don’t have massive budgets to flood marketing channels with tantalizing discounts. With 20x higher marketing budgets, national chains can endure customer churn and crank out more ads to drive traffic. Independents on the other hand, need to deliver with every guest to ensure positive word of mouth and repeat visits.

So, how do top-notch independents like Del Pez ensure they are delivering an excellent guest experience every day? They ask guests for their feedback.

“Measuring guest experience via structured feedback, the critical touchpoints along the guest journey, enables operators to ensure they are living up to their brand standards,” said Mark Netsch, founder of PerformanceScope. “There is a reason you see businesses soliciting feedback, it helps them track and manage one of their most crucial key performance indicators, guest experience.”

Netsch, who has helped operators ranging from independents to national chains for over 20 years, worked with Wilmington, Del.-based Del Pez Mexican Gastropub to better understand and manage its guest experience. Del Pez opened in 2016 and is part of Hakuna Hospitality Group. The restaurant is run by general manager Eric Wood, who has a 16-year relationship with Netsch and PerformanceScope based on his former role with another award-winning restaurant chain.

“We used PerformanceScope extensively at my former employer, so when I shifted to Del Pez I was well aware of the results PerformanceScope could bring to the table through their surveys and voice of the customer insights,” Wood said. “I turned to PerformanceScope again in my new role so I could see where we’re hitting the nail on the head in terms of our guest experience and where we needed to focus our energy to improve.”

Building Customer Bridges

When Wood began his tenure at Del Pez, the restaurant was using comment cards on tables to solicit input from guests. The cards, Wood said, went through several hands before making their way to management.

“Because the comment cards had to go through wait staff first, I wasn’t always convinced of the accuracy of the information we were getting. I wanted a way to have that guest feedback go directly through me first,” he said. “I really want to provide and improve upon the level of hospitality we are giving to our guests. Having great food is not enough anymore so we must deliver on our hospitality, too. When I first started with Del Pez, we had great food but our service levels were lacking. So, I want to be able to hit the mark on the areas where we’re not excelling.”

The direct guest feedback surveys are a great way to understand where service levels are meeting – and missing – guest expectations. This is amplified by the lack of marketing budgets many local brands have for advertising and promotions.

Guest Feedback

Sunday, July 21, 2019

“Our bartender provided us with excellent service from the time we walked thru the door till the time we left. She made us feel welcomed and explained all the meals in detail and answered all questions. She was very attentive. We never had to look for her. We never felt rushed.”

“Smaller, independent chains have to be better to compete, they have to make every visit count,” Netsch said. “That’s why it is important for brands to invest in their people and products, they must consistently deliver great experiences with every guest, and the realities of employee turnover make it that much harder to be consistent. Word gets around which restaurants are consistently excellent, and word also gets around which restaurants are inconsistent. We all have our favorite local restaurant we wish was more consistent...if only they knew where they could improve.”

The guest feedback collected by Wood and Del Pez will provide a clear picture of the experience his team delivers and provide an easy way to capture information. Guests provide their email when they complete the short survey, giving Del Pez a way to also build their email list.

Mobile Survey

“The survey gives a great way to collect information without us having to prompt or nag our guests for it. We really like that and it gives us some demographic information as far as age, gender, distance travelled, etc. Understanding who our guest is was another selling point because it helps focus our marketing efforts,” Wood said. “This allows us to build a bridge between our restaurant and our guests.”

Another big benefit: the survey provides actionable opportunity for coaching employees to provide better customer service that coaching isn’t just the manager talking about service, it’s based on the voice of the actual customer. Employees were made aware of the survey launch prior to deployment with Wood and his team turning it into a contest to raise awareness for the survey launch.

“We ran a contest within the first two weeks rewarding employees for talking about and promoting the survey,” he said. “So, to get it rolling we focused on the positive aspects of the survey. Once we have more results, we will use the feedback as a coaching tool to train our employees. This will improve the experience and operation for everyone and have an overall positive effect on employee performance and repeat business.”

The Pursuit of Excellence

Netsch spent his early years in restaurant operations. He developed PerformanceScope’s Voice of the Customer survey programs because he understands the issues facing restaurant operators and managers. Between online reviews, which can have a measurably negative impact on restaurant sales, and guests’ reticence to fill out paper comment cards, direct guest feedback surveys provide an opportunity for honest, actionable feedback that support a culture of continuous improvement and excellence.

“Review sites have turned up the heat for operators,” Netsch said. “While it’s great to receive open-style feedback from guests (clears throat), that form of dialogue doesn’t yield actionable or trackable data for operators. With our guest feedback program operators can get in front of reviews by knowing their strengths and weaknesses from a structured guest feedback program. It’s the actionable and specific feedback that allows operators to stay on target and maintain their standards for excellence.”

Through the help of Voice of the Customer, Wood and Del Pez no longer have to guess what their guests are thinking about their experience, nor do they have to read about the experience online from review sites. And moving forward, Wood said the company is in talks to roll out the survey to Hakuna’s other restaurant locations so all locations will know their PerformanceScope score so they can deliver consistently high levels of guest experience.

“The Voice of the Customer survey is central to our coaching and culture. Plus, we have the opportunity for guest recovery if a guest is unhappy,” Wood said. “Fixing these issues immediately creates trust and a stronger guest connection for both our guests and employees.”

Hakuna Service Comment Hakuna NPS

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  • Capture customer and employee feedback
  • Review real-time analytics
  • Discover your business's strengths and weaknesses
  • Create the best customer and employee engagement
  • Improve your business
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"PerformanceScope has a simple, affordable way to quantify culture and measure our health on a consistent basis."

John Pepper, Founder, Boloco

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“We used PerformanceScope extensively at my former employer, so when I shifted to Del Pez I was well aware of the results PerformanceScope could bring to the table through their surveys and voice of the customer insights...”

Eric Wood, General Manager Del Pez Mexican Gastropub, Wilmington, DE

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“It is my pleasure to recommend Mark Netsch and PerformanceScope. In my 30+ years in the restaurant industry, PerformanceScope is by far the best company I have dealt with for measuring guest satisfaction. Mark and his team...”

Jay Ellis, District Partner Bravo Brio Restaurant Group