How are we doing? How to set up a cost-effective customer survey program for your restaurant

By Tricia Hoy

Did you know that a customer survey actually improve customer satisfaction—even if the customer never responds? A Harvard Business Review study concluded that just the act of asking customers, "How are we doing?" has a major impact on customer retention and loyalty.

Surveys show customers you value them, and help build a stronger sense of community with the people whose business is your bread and butter. A survey may also point out problems with your food, staff, policies, hours—even problems with your bathrooms or parking lot—that you may never have known otherwise. A little feedback can lead to major changes in your business, and a significant impact on profits.

So how do you set up a survey program that gets the feedback you need with minimal effort?

Use the receipt: An easy place to start is at the point of sale: with every customer receipt. A POS system like SpeedLine may give you options for printing survey questions right on the receipt—or printing a message that directs customers to an online survey.

A short, printed survey -- especially one with a bounce-back coupon attached -- may be the best way to get feedback from customers. But you will need someone to decipher and enter those handwritten responses into a spreadsheet or database for analysis. What makes online survey services so convenient is the great reporting. You get instant access to overall trends and detailed survey responses online.

Many online survey services offer limited surveys for free. Check out,,, or do a Google Web search for "online surveys."

Offer an incentive: As an incentive, consider offering customers a discount on their next order, or entry into a monthly free pizza draw, with a completed survey.

Collect contact info: Surveys can be a great way to collect address information from your dine-in and carryout customers. Consider asking for an e-mail address in the survey, and permission to send offers and coupons. You may find, however, that you get more candid responses with an anonymous web survey.

Keep it short: If you're printing the survey on the receipt, keep the questions short, and don’t ask more than two or three. A web survey can be a little longer, but be respectful of your customers' time.

Survey every customer, or a percentage: In SpeedLine POS, you can control the time period of the survey and frequency of printing. Print a survey with every customer receipt, or with a percentage of random tickets.

Narrow your target: Need feedback on your delivery service? Survey only delivery customers. Trying to build your customer contact database? Target a survey to dine-in or pick-up customers.

Want to learn more about SpeedLine POS marketing and loyalty features? »»


Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 @ 13:01 PM.
Updated on April 25, 2019 @ 4:46 PM PST.

Posted by Tricia Hoy

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Tags: Restaurant Marketing

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