People with Diet Restrictions Can be a Restaurant’s Best Customers

People with diet restrictions have limited options when it comes to dining out.   So the potential universe of restaurants they can eat at is limited.   Obviously that means that they would routinely go more often to those that do cater to them.   For example, if you look at two individuals one with diet restrictions and one without.  The person without diet restrictions may find restaurants they like and go back to those, but it’s also easy for those people to try new places.   The person with diet restrictions can only go to places where they can safely eat.  So assuming both of these people eat out at the same frequency, those restaurants that serve the person with diet restrictions will find those customers to be more loyal.  Customer loyalty means additional revenues for the restaurant, without the need to generate new business with promotions or marketing spend.  So a loyal customer is a more profitable customer.

People with diet restrictions can live in constant fear of eating out.   Even though they may think a restaurant can accommodate their needs based on their personal analysis of the restaurant’s menu, they know that they are still dependent on the server and the chefs to: First understand their needs & second to properly prepare the dish to meet those needs.   Given that restaurant staff are busy and it may not be the restaurant’s core competency to cater to those with dietary restrictions, it introduces a lot of ways that things could go wrong.   The server could underplay the need of the customer to the chef.  The chef might also not understand when cross-contamination could be an issue.   The result is the constant fear that things will go wrong.

In order to best tap into the potential customer loyalty that can exist from people with limited diets, the restaurant should strive to put the customers’ fears at ease.   One key way to do this is to have the restaurant decide in advance what they can offer to people with various diet issues.   We are seeing a lot more menus showing gluten free items, and that helps those that can’t eat gluten know the restaurant has put some forethought into catering to gluten free diets.   But the same issue exists for people with food allergies or intolerances to other things like dairy and other allergens.   Clearly labeling a menu in advance with all of the ways customers can want items to meet specific diets, is critical for this community.

This is easier said than done.   Restaurants can’t possibly be constantly re-printing their menus to adopt all of the allergens or special diets customers want, plus there isn’t physical room on paper menus for this type of information.   Nor can they easily ensure that all staff are fully versed on how to handle special requests.   Chompadoodle helps this entire process by giving restaurants a way to pre-validate their menu with many different food needs.   For example at current count, we support 20 different labeling options for a menu item.   By pre-labeling their menu, the customer’s fears can be at least partially allayed that the restaurant has thought about their needs in advance, and will be more likely to trust the restaurant the first time.   If the meal then is properly prepared, the restaurant stands a good chance that the customer will be back.  When new food restrictions become known by the restaurant, they can quickly add that ‘label’ to their menu on Chompadoodle and instantly cater to a new set of customers.

The restaurant that uses Chompadoodle can simply and easily point their patrons to the restaurant’s menu on Chompadoodle.com and the user can quickly sort/search the menu for those items that the restaurant has pre-validated will meet the customer’s needs.  This results in a customized menu for the individual, where the customer can take comfort in knowing the restaurant believes it can meet the customer’s need.

One final aspect makes the person with diet restrictions a great customer to those restaurants that cater to them.   People who have limited options are used to feeling constricted in their choices.   When they find a place that removes that constriction they tell their friends who also suffer from the same dietary restrictions.  So not only is the initial customer more loyal to the restaurant, but they also drive other similar loyal customers to the restaurant.

Its not easy to cater to people who have special food needs, but restaurants that do – can find huge rewards in terms of additional revenue that didn’t require large marketing expenditures.   Chompadoodle can help restaurants see these benefits with almost no effort on the part of the restaurant.   Contact us to learn how we can help your restaurant see the benefits from catering to those with diet restrictions

Jon Clemens

Chompadoodle CEO

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