45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
World War II veteran Freddy Simon is the inspiration for the fast casual restaurant chain Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, which is recreating the diner and time-with-family culture prevalent in the thriving post-war economy.
At the heart of the restaurant chain’s concept is the distinct brand of guest hospitality and optimism common in the 1940s and 50s. Popular menu items include hamburgers, hot dogs, patty melts, and frozen custard.
Mr. Simon’s two sons Bill and Randy, and business partner and friend, Scott Redler, co-founded Freddy’s in 2002. Two years later, Freddy’s opened its business to franchisees as requests came in, and the chain has since grown to more than 150 locations across the U.S.
The co-founders’ original intent was to open just one location.
Managing Feedback and Engaging With Customers
According to Val Cowan, director of social media and project development for the Wichita, Kansas-headquartered restaurant operation, Freddy’s monitors social media channels and online review sites during all the hours the restaurant locations are open.
The social media and guest relations team responds to customer feedback in a timely manner, logs feedback into a database, and sends the feedback data to “the corresponding restaurant management team for a personal follow-up.” All operations involving the management of customer feedback are also updated on a consistent basis.
“Freddy’s accommodates groups of all ages and all sizes,” Cowan said. “In fact, large groups are encouraged to scoot the tables together, relax and enjoy a quality meal with family and friends. Prompt service, clean restaurants and freshly-cooked food combine to create a dining experience that’s pleasant, and one they’ll want to enjoy again and again.”
She added that Freddy’s engages with guests across social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as online review sites like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
“We have also made a point to speak to our guests in our real voices, rather than using generic responses,” she said. “Using real voices has proven to be the best way to begin a conversation online.”
When responding to customer feedback, the team at Freddy’s always strives to be personal. They use the guest’s name and include everyday language in the response, and sometimes, where appropriate, the team even uses emoticons.
Guest feedback is used to improve business locations. For example, because of customer feedback, the department became aware of an issue in communication.
“Many of our guests have written in requesting a gluten-free bun option,” Cowan said. “We’ve always had the option available for sandwiches to be wrapped in lettuce, but many of our guests are unaware of this option. We’ll be adding to all of our menu boards with a line that states, ‘All sandwiches are available as lettuce wraps.’”
In addition to these listening and monitoring efforts, Cowan’s department also posts news, food photography, and videos every day on social media.
Cowan has this advice for engaging with the customers of your business:
“Guests genuinely appreciate when they receive a response to negative feedback, but they also enjoy when their positive feedback is acknowledged and a conversation occurs with the company, as well,” she said.
“It’s important to ‘retweet,’ ‘favorite,’ ‘like’ or react with an emoticon to all positive feedback, or even respond with a comment that says something along the lines of Thanks for the kind words!”
Read MORE: “Best Practices for Responding to Online Reviews”
(Image credit: Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers)