We know what some of you out there might be thinking: “What could another show about food really teach me about running my own restaurant?”
But “Best New Restaurant” takes a very different perspective toward dining out — and our data shows that adopting this attitude toward your own restaurant could have a major impact on your return business.
The Best of the Best
Rather than concentrating solely on the culinary expertise of each location or chef, Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant,” premiering tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET/PT, tests restaurants on everything from the décor to the overall concept.
For each of the first eight episodes, restaurants — including Rewards Network partner restaurants Dolce Italian, Doma Beverly Hills, R House, Tongue & Cheek, and Little Sparrow — are paired based on similarities in their cuisine or concept and compete in a series of challenges.
The first, a “Pressure Test,” evaluates the overall strength of the staff by subjecting them to a rush of 30 hungry diners descending on the restaurant at the same time. In the second challenge, “Undercover Diners” wired with hidden cameras secretly film their visit to get a better understanding of the average patron’s experience.
After one more challenge testing each restaurant’s concept, the remaining two finalists are then tasked with serving up the best meal and overall experience possible to 50 VIP diners at “Best New Restaurant” host and judge Tom Colicchio’s New York City-based restaurant, Riverpark.
This broad take on each restaurant — judged by BlackboardEats.com’s Maggie Nemser,‘wichcraft’s Jeffrey Zurofsky, and Colicchio himself — contradicts the popular belief that food alone dictates diner decisions.
But as the Rewards Network report “Two Factors that Impact Return Visits to Your Restaurant” shows, diners really are considering much more than taste when choosing which restaurants they’ll return to again and again, and which they’ll leave for the competition.
Rewards Network analyzed 99,000 verified diner surveys to identify what actually motivates return visitors, and the results were surprising: diners’ overall experience more strongly influences their decision to return than any individual aspect of the restaurant — including the food.
In fact, regardless of how many stars customers rated the food at a particular restaurant, if their experience rating was even one star lower, they were 20% less likely to return. If there was a two-star discrepancy between food and experience, they were nearly 40% less likely to visit again.
Even the likelihood customers will recommend a restaurant shows a strong downward trend when overall experience ratings — including the restaurant’s cleanliness, value, and service — are even slightly lower than those for food.
Ninety-five percent of diners who gave their overall experience a rating of five out of five stars said they would recommend the restaurant to a friend or family member. If the overall experience score was a three, however, the likelihood of a recommendation drops to only 6%.
To learn more about how to influence diners to return to your restaurant again and again, check out the full report — and watch Rewards Network program restaurants vie for the coveted title of “Best New Restaurant” tomorrow night on Bravo!