Customer Satisfaction System: What Metrics Really Matter


Customer satisfaction the metrics that matter

Customer Satisfaction What to Measure?

The quality of customer experience needs to be measured to have any such chance of improvement. The primary tool available to restaurant is the use of comment cards.There are two question

1 What to measure?

2.How to measure?

What to measure?

A guest consumes a meal experience. What attributes does the customer want. It could be taste of food , speed of service, accurate billing, outstanding ambience, accessibility. There may be several attributes which the customer sees what you need to identify as which are the most relevant to your guests.

To start this makes a lit of critical success factors from the point of view of the customers. Give these factors a weightage and then take the top 10 or top 5 factors which your guests thinks are relevant. As an exercise you can do this from your restaurant perspective. There will be gaps. Here the critical success factors are limited to what the customers sees.

Sn No CSF/ attributes Importance
1 Taste of Food 3
2 Speed off Service 2
3 Cleanliness of toilets 1
4 Portion size 4
5 Reasonability of price 5

It is important to understand that somewhere you need to measure what your brand promise is. Ex If you say that you offer great variety of food and that’s why your customers come. Do you measure it? Or If you say that you have these extra large portion size which your customers love. You need to ask the guests and verify where they stand on this attribute. Imagine if your customers complain about your portion size and you recognise that your extra large portion size is not large enough or you are unable to execute this because of quality issues in the back area.

Defining CSF will help you to examine in the long run which attribute is given higher weight age eg is taste more relevant than portion size and where does speed stand in equation.

Measure your improvements

If you find that customers have expressed on the lack of menu variety and this feedback has been captured by informal conversation. You would be well advised to incorporate this attribute in your comment card and see where you stand. You may have increased menu variety of vegetarian increased from 4 to 6 appetiser. Does that make guests happier. Whats the impact of this on overall satisfaction.

Should price be measured

In my experience , you will never get very high scores on price. Who wants to pay more? But what is important the trend it generates. Whats is the long term trend line of your price scores.

The CSF or critical success factors are in sense measuring SERVICE QUALITY. Enough has been written about SERQUAL by Pasuramaan and RATER system and Gronross.

Whats does SERVQUAL say and how does it related to restaurant

SERQUAL measured on 10 aspects of service quality. They are:

1    Reliability

2    Responsiveness

3    Competence

4    Access

5    Courtesy

6    Communication

7    Credibility

8    Security

9    Understanding the customer


This was then further reduced to 5. Also called RATER. They are

1.  Reliability

2.  Assurance

3.  Tangible

4.  Empathy

5.  Responsiveness

Amongst these, the most important factor has been reliability. In a sense consistency is the number one priority.

Before I state how to use it, I will add the last bit of servqual. There are two dimensions product quality and service quality.

The dimensions of product quality are as follows


  • Features
  • Reliability
  • Conformance
  • Durability
  • Serviceability
  • Aesthetics
  • Perceived Quality


Dimensions of service quality are


  • Reliability
  • Responsiveness
  • Competence
  • Courtesy
  • Credibility
  • Security
  • Access
  • Communication
  • Understanding the customer

The application is as follows


Reliability means  ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.

The key word is “promised”. Whats does your restaurant promise?

Great tasting food

Ice cold beer

Super fast speed of service

Piping hot food

Portions fit for a king

Warm. Helpful staff.

By checking for reliability, you check for whether you are living up to your promise.


Assurance refers to warmth, credibility, security and competence of your staff. Knowledge and  courtesy of your employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence.

Wow, such a simple and a powerful description. Assurance. What does your employees do be assured of good service. How will the guest feel that they are competent, trustful and warm and give a sense of security. Here are a few points

1.     Great training will ensure their ability to advise the guests on the menu.

A when you ask the ability of the employees to advise on the menu. A poor response is less to do with employee but more to do with a the processes that have led to a situation. If management needs someone to blame, tell them to look in the mirror. Some root cause could be poor training, poorly defined job description, poor recruitment practices, poor interviewing skills. Well poor HR processes.


Appearance of physical facilities, staff, equipment and communication material.

Which tangibles are most important to your guests. Is clean toilets or cleanliness in general. Is it the grooming of your staff. The quality of the menu.

Research has indicated that women guest perceive quality of the restaurants by how clean are the toilets.

When you identify which attributes your customer value more, you can ask them and evaluate yourself.


The word “empathy” means to “have understood”. In the RATER system empathy refers to caring individualised attention the restaurant  customers. Access to organisation representatives, communication and understating the customers.

How do measure personal attention.? You can ask “the ability of the staff to resolve grievances effectively.” Or  “promptness of the manager.”

RATER can be applied to develop your training programs, strengthen process which serves customer. A tool like short code sms can be sued to encourage feedback or an escalator system where the numbers of senior management are given.

In my opinion, make it easy for people to complain and encourage them to complain. More restaurants would have remained open if just more people had complained.


Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service. What does responsiveness mean to your restaurant. Is it speed of service or responsiveness of staff .

Look at the table below and suggest what comments can be sued to develop attributes which affect customer satisfaction or outcomes desired for managing satisfaction.

To use it effectively ask what each is RATER means.

This what I would recommend

Reliability: what is your promise

Assurance: what is you do to double check

Tangible: the physical clues to communicate the quality of service

Empathy: listening skills

Responsiveness: your policies to manage service gaps.


Touch Points of Hospitality Reliability Assurance

(double check/guarantee)


(quality of cues/infrastructure)


(ability to listen)


(policies to respond)

Reservation Guarantee availability of table

Timeliness of availability

Reservation guarantee  Was confirmation message given in the form of email or sms  Effectiveness to acknowledge special requests  Phone picked up within 3 rings
Hostess Was a promise made of when the table would be available Was the h0stess able to inform accurately the wait time  Staff are well groomed  Ability to handle missed reservation  Hostess gets back and arranges a table as requested
Seating Tables are not crowded Tables are comfortably spaced Table ares not wobbling

Chairs in good repair

 Staff contact in a pleasant manner. Staff are well seated
Review menu Product description are accurate

100 availability of all food and beverage items

Special dietary needs are clearly demarcated  The menu is neat clean and not worn out  Were the allergy clearly noted  Menu allows for customisation
Order food and beverage Accuracy of order taken Services is not hurried  Menus are easy to use  Did the customer inform of specials  Staff are able to advise on the menu
 Eat  The food taste is good  Did the employee check if the food was ok  Was the food well presented  Staff concur on special requests Staff get the extras

Were the extra cover removed

 Use facilities Are facilities in good repair

Was the entertainment enjoyable

 Is there clear and accurate signage Toilets are cleans

Restaurant is clean

Was the restaurant appropriately lit

 Were the staff able to give directions
Pay Bill Was the bill served in 5 minutes Does the staff take guests permission before presenting the bill Was the bill clear and legitimate Does the staff wait while the bill was being checked. Were the inaccuracy of bills handles effectively
Bonvoyage Dis the valet bring your car in 5 minutes Was a comment offered to guests Were the valet well groomed? Did employee

Thank the guests

Was a car drop made available

The customer cycle and RATER system is just a tool to brainstorm what outcome a guests may want. Some of these may be hygiene factors ie those whose absence will result in dissatisfaction.

Next step compile the attributes listed and then check which are the top 5 or top seven which your customer care for.

Done well, this will echo what you are trying to achieve.

Put them on your comment card.

Measurement scale

Satisfaction is an emotional response and as such the ideal measuring scale is

Above expectation

Met Expectation

Below Expectation

However, a likert scale of rating from 1 to 5 or a scale stating excellent, good, poor and fair can be used.


SERVQUAL and RATER system were applied to identify which attributes may be relevant to customers. Furthermore, customers can be  asked to give weightage to each factors to determine Critical Success factors. While measuring customer satisfaction, it is important to see that your brand promise is measured. Amongst all attributes reliability of service is the most important service dimension.

Hope you found this article useful. Please do share your feedback on what you liked and what you did not.

Mango Kurry is kitchen and restaurant consultant in Mumbai and can help you to create your own customer care program and also help you to simple but effective tools to measure customer satisfaction.

To your success!


About the author 

Sartaj S Bedi

With 20-year restaurant industry expertise, offering insights and expertise in strategy, operations, and quality. He employs a holistic approach to guide clients towards strategic success.

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