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As a restaurateur, it can be hard to know what you’re getting right – and what needs to improve. Sales and profits tell part of the story. Reviews also tell part of the story, but not every customer is willing to provide public feedback. You likely don’t have enough insight to know whether there is something that you could tweak to make your guests’ experience even better.

Enter the restaurant survey. Asking your customers to give you feedback can be an invaluable way to know what works – and what doesn’t – in your restaurant. Their input may allow you to improve service, a dish on your menu, or even the decor in your restaurant, and ultimately help your business become more successful.

At Budget Branders, we know how important customer feedback is to running a business. We’re proud to have developed great relationships with our clients based on our great products, fair prices, and commitment to customer satisfaction. If you’re interested in custom-branded disposable products, reach out today for a free quote.

How to Run a Restaurant Survey

There are lots of ways to run a survey. You can offer comment cards, give guests a link on their receipt, or even hand them a tablet to fill out a survey. In most cases, business owners provide a small incentive – like a chance to win a gift card or a percentage off of their next meal – to complete the survey.

No matter how you conduct your restaurant survey, the important thing is to ask the right questions. After all, if your questions aren’t designed to gather information that you can actually use, then there is no point in conducting a survey.

There is a lot of science behind survey design, particularly when it comes to collecting data on important topics. For your restaurant survey, the goal is to collect information that you can use, not to make sure that the results are scientifically valid.

To that end, consider using a mix of open-ended questions and multiple choice questions. Avoid multi-part questions, as guests will most likely just answer the first part and skip the rest. You should also try to limit the total number of questions that you ask, as most of your customers won’t want to spend 20 minutes on a restaurant survey.

Finally, think about what it is that you want to know when choosing questions to ask. If you are most concerned about service, for example, your survey could focus on queries about whether their server was friendly and welcoming. Alternatively, if you want a broad overview of the whole restaurant experience, use questions that cover all of the issues that you want to know about, like food and drink and facilities.

Ready to get started? Check out this list of great questions to ask on your restaurant survey, grouped into broad categories.

Basic Information Questions

Before you dive into specific topics, it is a good idea to get some background info on your customers – like if they’re frequent guests, or only visit every so often. This data can inform what you do with the survey responses, as you may take suggestions from regulars more seriously than those offered by someone who is unlikely to visit again.

  1. Was this your first visit to our restaurant (Yes or no)
  2. How did you hear about our restaurant? (Drop-down or multiple choice options such as: social media, advertisement, personal recommendation, or drove past it)
  3. How often do you visit? (Drop-down or multiple choice:  once a week, one to two times a month, several times a year)
  4. How far did you travel to visit us today? (Open-ended question, or multiple choice with mile ranges)
  5. How likely is it that you would visit again? (Multiple choice – very likely, likely, unsure, unlikely, or very unlikely)
  6. Are our hours convenient? (Yes or no, with an option to explain more)
  7. Do you think that our restaurant would be a good choice for a celebration? (Yes or no)
  8. If we offered ______(new product or service), would you try it? (Yes or no)
  9. Is there anything that we could do to make our restaurant more family-friendly? (Yes or no, with the option to explain or give examples)

Physical Space Questions

You may have devoted a lot of time and energy to setting up your restaurant, but if your customers think that it’s too loud, too hard to read the menu, or is simply inaccessible, they won’t visit. These questions are designed to get at the heart of any problems that you may have with your facilities.

  1. Was it easy to find our restaurant? (Yes or no)
  2. Did you have any trouble with parking? (Yes or no)
  3. If we offered a valet service, would you use it? (Yes or no)
  4. Were the bathrooms and other facilities clean? (Yes or no)
  5. How was the lighting level? (Multiple choice – too bright, too dim, or just right)
  6. How was the music volume? (Multiple choice – too loud, too soft, or just right)
  7. Were the seats and tables comfortable? (Yes or no)
  8. For customers with disabilities, is there anything that we could do to improve accessibility? (Open-ended question)

Customer feedback alone shouldn’t determine what you have on your menu. After all, there are lots of important considerations when it comes to your menu, such as food cost percentage. However, it is good to get an idea of what customers think about your food and drinks so that you can refine it and better meet their needs.

  1. Were you pleased with the food options on our menu? (Yes or no)
  2. How would you rate the number of food choices on our menu? (Multiple choice – too many, too few, or just right)
  3. Did the menu describe our food items well? (Yes or no, with an option to explain)
  4. Is there something that you would like to see on our menu? (Open-ended question)
  5. If you have food allergies, were we able to accommodate you? (Yes or now, with an option to explain)
  6. Were you happy with our selection of beverages (Yes or no, with the option to explain)
  7. What are your thoughts on the value of our food? (Rate on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst value and 5 being the best value)
  8. Do you think that our restaurant has options for everyone? (Yes or no, with an option to explain)

Service Questions

Even if you have the best food and drinks around, if your service isn’t great, then your patrons won’t leave happy. Asking these questions can help you figure out if there are any problems with service so that you can address them.

  1. Who was your server today? (Open-ended question)
  2. Was your service friendly and helpful? (Yes or no, with an option to explain)
  3. Were you made to feel welcomed by our host? (Yes or no, with an option to explain)
  4. Did your food and drinks come out fast enough? (Yes or no)
  5. Did your server check in on you to see if you needed anything during your meal? (Yes or no)
  6.  If you had any issues with your food, drink, or something else, did your server address them for you? (Yes or no, with an option to explain)

Technology Questions

If you use any form of technology in your restaurant, it is a good idea to learn about the experience from your customers’ point of view. For example, if you use a QR code instead of a physical menu – an increasingly popular choice during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond – ask your customers what they think about it.

  1. Did you enjoy viewing our menu on your phone? (Yes or no, with an option to explain)
  2. Was our checkout system efficient and easy to use? (Yes or no, with an option to explain)
  3. Did you use any discounts or special offers today? (Yes or no)
  4. Would you prefer to pay your check through your server or using a handheld checkout system? (Prefer paying server or prefer checking out myself)
  5. If you ordered food online, how quickly did your food arrive? (Open-ended question)
  6. If you ordered food online, how did your food taste and appear when you received it? (Scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being bad and 5 being great)

Big Picture Questions

Finally, give your guests an opportunity to tell you, in their own words, how they feel about your restaurant. These three questions might be the most important that you can ask, as they allow your customers to express themselves without being confined to a multiple choice or drop-down box of options.

  1. What did you like most about your visit to our restaurant? (Open-ended question)
  2. What is one thing that we could improve? (Open-ended question)
  3. Do you have any other suggestions for us? (Open-ended question)

What’s Next for Your Restaurant?

Once you have gathered feedback, make sure that you take the time to use it. While customers’ opinions shouldn’t  trump your own business, they may have spotted issues that you didn’t notice. Take the time to go through the survey responses, and make a game plan for how to use them to better your business.

Once you have done that, consider how you can boost the success of your restaurant with branded disposable products. Budget Branders, offers custom printed disposables at prices and in quantities that work for small and medium-sized businesses. When you add your name, logo, and/or slogan to your cups, bowls, coffee sleeves, and takeout bags, it can make a real impact on your outreach efforts.

To learn more about our products or to request a quote, contact us today by pressing the live chat button, or filling out our online contact form.