Chef-owner Ryan Sulikowski opened small plates-focused Rye Byob outside of Philadelphia in October 2020 — a time when diners were wary of venturing into restaurants. Sulikowski knew he would need direct and actionable feedback from guests to succeed in the face of formidable external challenges.
After evaluating options for reservation and table management, Sulikowski chose Resy’s Platform 360 plan, in part to take advantage of the customizable post-meal Guest Surveys included in the enhanced offering.
Since opening, Rye Byob has diligently collected over a thousand responses from guests using Resy’s tool. “Guest Surveys have helped us improve in real time — we get a lot of honesty,” says Sulikowski.
With years of experience and wisdom, Sulikowski shares his tips for getting the most out of Guest Surveys at your restaurant.
1. Take advantage of the specificity of the Guest Survey questions.
In some regard, any kind of feedback is good feedback. But the way third-party ratings systems like Google and Yelp are set up with broad star ratings, it’s difficult to zero in on the distinct ways in which your operation can improve. For example, a guest might give you a three-star rating on Google because of a small, specific interaction with the host stand, even if the rest of their experience was generally great.
Conversely, Sulikowski appreciates that the questions included in the Guest Surveys allow guests to provide more detailed information. “Asking specific questions gives diners a chance to reflect on their entire experience: Were the bathrooms clean? Was the window was streaky? There may be things that they just want to let us know.”
2. Make a plan for engaging with guest feedback.
Every restaurant has its own way of handling follow up with guest comments. Some operators try to touch base with every guest who leaves a note; others only engage in special situations.
At Rye Byob, Sulikowski made a conscious choice to reserve his team’s resources and only respond in the case of extreme comments. “I’m not going to troll every person who says something negative,” he says. Instead, he and his team focus their energy on fixing the problems internally.
3. Loop the intel back to your team.
Sharing guest comments with your team is essential to making positive change. “If a guest says they had the worst meal of their life at our restaurant, we sit down with the staff and try to walk through the meal,” says Sulikowski.
You can see specific details about survey responses in the Resy OS Dashboard that help you identify who on your team should be looped in. “Whatever guests write is received by management with their name and table number so we can see who interacted with them.”
4. Make the survey work for your restaurant through customization.
Guest Surveys are designed to be customizable, and Resy encourages clients to occasionally adjust the survey questions to meet their needs. Sulikowski is on the cusp of doing that at Rye Byob. “We’ve been thinking about starting a retail program for our pastas. So we might add a question like, ‘Would you buy our pasta retail?’ If we get 90% of people saying ‘no’, maybe it’s not the best idea and we need to retool. But if a bunch of regulars are into it, we’d roll it out as soon as possible!”
Pro Tip: To customize your survey questions, reach out to your Restaurant Success Manager or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Learn more about how to use Guest Surveys here.
Guest Surveys are only available to Resy’s Platform 360 customers. If you're currently on our Platform plan, learn more about upgrading to Platform 360 here.
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Scott Hocker is a writer, editor, recipe developer, cookbook author, and content and editorial consultant. He has worked in magazines, kitchens, newsletters, restaurants and a bunch of other environments he can’t remember right now. He has also been the editor in chief of both liquor.com and Tasting Table.