Restaurant and pub groups could benefit significantly from customer and employee engagement, but few consciously link the two together, according to new research.
The Customer Engagement Survey 2014 from CGA Peach, based on a poll of 93 senior executives from well-known restaurant, pub and bar chains, found that while 95% said that employee engagement was important, just 16% correlated employee engagement against customer satisfaction (although a third (33%) said they intend to).
The survey results also suggested that linking customer key performance indicator (KPI) feedback with employee recognition would help improve engagement, as almost two thirds (71%) of leaders said that they see employee recognition and reward connected to customer KPIs as a means to drive business forward.
A significant majority (90%) of companies also saw guest feedback as a top five KPI.
Despite this, the most common means of judging staff engagement were still through staff turnover rates and exit interviews, rather than via engagement in existing staff, although 54% said they do use paper or online surveys.
Creating a method to allow real-time feedback to move between staff and managers, and getting HR departments to work more closely with marketing and operations teams, would be a positive step towards linking employee engagement and customer happiness, and thereby improving business, CGA Peach claimed.
Vice-president of CGA Peach, Peter Martin, said: "With frontline teams in restaurants and pubs responsible for delivering those great customer experiences, and with those same staff being the main contact point with the paying public, building better two-way communication between head office and site managers about their customers could become the biggest opportunity to gain competitive advantage."
Leaders from several well-known brands took part in the study, including Five Guys, Geronimo Inns, ASK Italian, Burger & Lobster, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Zizzi, Be at One, Wahaca, Bella Italia, Ed's Easy Diner, IHG, La Tasca, Mitchells & Butlers, Nando's, Strada, Vapiano, Costa, Young's, and Whitbread.