Xpect Restaurant Marketing Solutions™ is a national company based in Wixom, Mich., that focuses on the marketing needs of restaurants. Xpect develops, implements and administers full-service/ front-of-the-house marketing programs that benefit restaurant chains or independents of any size. It provides clients with a variety of services, including menu development and engineering, web-based services, e-mail marketing, marketing consulting, customer loyalty marketing and rewards programs, and server training. Xpect’s marketing strategies have been proven to attract new business, reduce costs, and increase sales and profits.
“Xpect was created out of needs that were observed in the marketplace,” says Curt Whitworth, president of Xpect. “Xpect Restaurant Marketing Solutions is our new brand identity.” It initially began as a few smaller programs that were eventually grouped together into a one-stop marketing shop. “Xpect was created to expand our product line beyond server training programs to marketing programs to drive increased traffic into restaurants,” he says.
Although the company started out small, it has seen tremendous success and continues to grow. “We are expanding nationally and have developments in place to cover a solid 15 states by 2011,” says Whitworth. The company has also created some of its own products such as a national training program called the ABCDXO Server Training System. Additionally, it stays on top of the latest trends and evaluates their effectiveness for restaurants to use. Whitworth emphasizes that technology is changing the face of marketing, and many restaurant owners are not aware of new products that can drive sales or of the financial impact those products can have on their business.
Xpect’s services are normally best utilized by small chain independent and single-location restaurants. The company’s sales team can provide local in-market training or web-based training for the restaurant staff. “We have assisted [customers]in changing the culture of their restaurants by turning their Order Takers into Sales People,” says Whitworth, who believes that improved customer care drives the entire guest experience in the restaurant industry. Therefore, the servers and management team are a critical part of the guest experience.
One mistake many servers make in regard to customer service? Handing over the check too soon, says Whitworth. When servers approach the table at the end of the meal and slide the check to the customer before asking if they would like anything else, they have already ensured that the customer will most likely say no. Customers view the bill as a sign that they should not order anything else and should finish and leave as soon as possible. “What they are really saying is ‘you are done eating, take your bill and move on.’ What they don’t realize is that I have made the decision to dine at this establishment and am willing to pay for the entire experience. What they are not delivering is the ‘total guest experience,’ and the restaurant today could see up to a 20 percent increase in sales with the customers they already have in their seats,” he says. Other mistakes restaurants make include improper food costing, beverage pouring and misuses of time, staff and supplies.
One way in which Xpect helps restaurants measure customer satisfaction is through customer surveys online. Customers are much more likely to give an honest answer after they have had time to think about their experience and are in the comfort of their own home. Mystery shopping and market data from consumer purchases are also used to determine opportunities for improvement and growth.
Xpect holds quarterly reviews with its customers to see where improvements might be made. It measures its own customer satisfaction through repeat sales and referrals. In turn, Whitworth says that restaurants can use the same methods to determine customer satisfaction. “Customer referrals drive increased sales,” he says. “Have your staff strive for complete customer satisfaction, and in turn, ask your customers to refer their friends.”
Xpect Restaurant Marketing Solutions™
50168 Pontiac Tr., Ste. 7 Wixom, MI 48393