Service or Food: Which One Drives Repeat Customers?



Ideally great restaurants would always offer the perfect combination of exceptional food and outstanding service. Realistically however, few establishments successfully achieve both on a regular basis. So that leads to the question, “What drives repeat customers more, food or service?”

There is a  tendency to judge a restaurant as one overall impression, but food and service are the two major elements at work–often not in unison. What is most important is not necessarily to answer the question, but to evaluate the possible different answers.  Doing that exercise should change how you evaluate your dining experience and even how you look at your own restaurant.

For each of us, one element is usually paramount. Think about your favorite establishment. What is it that makes you love it so much? Wonderful food can be overshadowed by poor service; aversely, wonderful service can compensate for mediocre food. Every detail makes a difference–whether it is the perfectly-balanced dish or a charismatic server intimately familiar with the menu and wine list.

Many think an accomplished chef is the only key to a restaurant’s success. But do not overlook the people that greet the guests and present the chef’s creations to diners. As you enjoy your next restaurant experience take in the whole picture, but also look deeper and pinpoint what is the element that will bring you back or leave you disappointed. Your customers will thank you for it!