The restaurant business is increasingly competitive. Restaurants are always competing for new customers, while at the same time trying to retain and build loyalty among existing customers. Their success could be measured through parameters such as: menu, price, quality of food, service, ambience, etc. Successful restaurant management always comes down to the customer 's opinion. If we want to be successful and healthy with the business of our establishment we need to listen to the customer, not only today but always.

Nowadays the internet gives us the opportunity to listen to the customer on a continuous basis, it is a good medium. Customers use this medium because they can express themselves anonymously and be as explicit as they wish. Many lessons can be learned from their active listening; however, trying to read all messages, besides being an arduous task, can be an almost impossible challenge due to the volume of information that is difficult to analyse and process in detail the messages, not only those addressed to us but also those of our competitors.

BRAINTRUST uses the NPS (Net Promoter Score) index to analyse the feedback received by restaurants to improve the customer experience. The NPSgives us two clear advantages: firstly, it allows us to see how the customer's opinion of our business is evolving and, secondly, it allows us to compare ourselves with our direct competitors. Thanks to techniques such as Web Scraping it is possible to extract and examine information from websites. An example is the following graph, in which the Recommendation Index is analysed with the opinions expressed on Google about the 22 restaurant chains distributed in 1,960 establishments in Madrid.

This information, obtained from the opinions of thousands of people, has been measured homogeneously over a period of time and has provided us with sufficient validity as to objective indicator of the customer experience. BRAINTRUSTthrough the process of analysis ETL (Extract Transform Load), it inquires about the motivations that have led the customer to recommend one restaurant or another. The ETL reads, analyses and converts the comments into a database. This database is examined by a standard analytical programme and allows us to know what the customer is saying, why our NPS and that of the competition.

The study uncovers very significant issues related to the importance of the personal touch: many mentions of specific named employees (waiters) as the cause of a memorable experience (or the opposite); few mentions of price when the experience is good (is it possible that we can charge a little bit more...?); specific dishes that work and don't work (is it so complicated to change menus?); portions that are too small and make customers angry (does it really pay to save 30 grams on sirloin?); or chains that base their advertising on promotions that customers don't talk about at all (are we communicating well?).

Location and market share are two other key elements to take into account, to know where we are, how many potential customers pass in front of the door, which competitors are next to us, which ones are taking customers away from us... Google' s public information makes it possible to know the relative "market share" in an area by time slot and to support our decisions of offer, promotion, location with "hot" data. Undoubtedly, the data contains very valuable information for managing a restaurant.

After the analysis, it is time to start thinking about and implementing the constant demands of our customers through improvement plans, carry them out and check that the changes are perceived and valued by the customer in order to differentiate ourselves positively from the competition. The information provided by the feedback of different metrics will simplify and support strategic decision making in terms of optimisation and profitability of our restaurant. The key to the restaurant business is based on a solid active listening to the customer, through the internet, in order to obtain a direct connection between our business and the customer experience.

Graphic: own elaboration. Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash.