Connecting With Your Guests Part 2 of 3


5 Questions You Should Ask Your Guests

Hi all!  I'm back for Part 2 of the 3 part series focused on connecting with your guests.  In Part 1 we talked about some ways to increase your survey count.  Remember, guests are more likely to fill out a survey for YOU, not for the incentive, if you can make a quick connection.  In Part 2, I am going to give you 5 simple questions that you can ask your guests during table touches that will provide you immediate feedback to share with your team.  Before I go into the 5 questions, you should first think about the questions you ask when you perform table touches.  Here's the question I hear most often:

How was everything today/tonight?

Seems like a perfectly legit question...and the answer should provide us with tremendous insight, right???  Not so much.  Your guest will give you as much juicy information when asked this question as your kid does when you ask them, "How was your day at school?".  This question is super easy to dodge.  Most of the time, I would imagine your guest would give you a simple, "good", "fine", perhaps a "great"...same with your kid. 

The 5 questions below encourage and promote a deeper discussion, but can still be answered in a matter of seconds.  I want to mention a couple of things before we dive into the questions. 

  • Don't try to ask these questions when their food has just been delivered.  Let them eat first!  
  • Be careful about approaching the table while the guest is eating.  No one wants to talk with their mouth full, so give them a break and let them finish. 
  • The ideal time to approach a guest is when they are finished eating, but they are still seated and have their trash ready to be collected.  As you collect their trash is a great time to ask your question.
  • Keep it genuine and keep it quick.  Ask maybe 1 or 2 questions per table.  Respect their time & thank them always.  

Here are the 5 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Guests:

1. Do you mind if I ask you a quick question or two? 

This one is always first...DUH!  This should be asked right after a brief introduction.  Example:

"Hi there!  Can I grab your trash for ya?"
"I'm Bo, the General Manager here.  Would you mind if I asked you a few questions?"

Asking this question gives the guest an option to opt-out if they are pressed for time or just not in the mood.  If they decline, don't sweat it.  Thank them and wish them well.  Easy peasy.

2. Have you been in before?  And if "YES" it should be quickly followed by How often do you come to our restaurant? 

This gives you a chance to determine if they are regulars or first-timers.  Any feedback you can get from either group is incredibly valuable!  If they are regulars, make sure to get their names, thank them for being loyal customers, and tell them that you look forward to seeing them next time!  Then, in a notepad, jot down their name, a brief description, and how often they visit. This extra step will help you retain their name which can really help you connect with them on their next visit.

3.  What is one thing we did really well today? 

This is obviously an opportunity to get some positive feedback to share with your team.  Let's go back to the "kid getting home from school" comparison.  I've started asking my 8 year old to tell me her favorite part of her day.  I get more information and it often leads into a deeper discussion and easy follow up questions. 

4.  What is one thing we could do better? 

This question is attempting to uncover an opportunity for improvement.  This question may catch them by surprise, so, if you feel the need, you can add something like, "We are really wanting to improve our hospitality here, so based off your experience what is one thing we could do better?"  Keep in mind, you are simply gathering information.  Don't argue, attempt to justify, or push back in any way.  Regardless of what they say, the best and only response is "Thank you for your time and feedback!" 

5.  Why did you decide to come to Arby's today? 

The final question may be the most awkward, but it could also produce some incredible value.  What can you learn from this question?  Well, if you can determine a pattern as to why your guests are choosing you over the competition, then you can communicate with your teams the key areas that ACTUALLY drive guessing, nothing lost in translation.  This is solid info coming directly from the source.  Doesn't get much better than that.

There you have it.  Again, don't try and pepper a guest with all 5 of these at once.  Asking these questions on a consistent basis can give you valuable insight and can help keep your attention on the right things if you're struggling with survey count. 

It may take you some time to get used to this, but if you aren't a little uncomfortable, then you're not growing.

Here's your challenge:

Ask at least one of these questions on your next 5 shifts. 

BONUS:  Have your assistants shadow you and have them ask at least one of the questions on their next 5 shifts.

Once you've completed the challenge, come back to the blog and leave a comment . Also, please share any "go-to" questions that you ask when connecting with your guests.

Hope you found this information useful.  We are just over a month away from Development 24!  Get excited!  More info to come.  Until then, Be Proud, Be Humble, Be Helpful, and Always Represent!


This is part 2 of a 3 part series discussing the guest experience and BPS.  Part 3 is called “Hiring For Hospitality:  Interviewing Techniques Focused on Friendliness".