what do customers want in a restaurant
by Otilia Dobos

What is the main thing you need to run a successful restaurant? Customers! If you want your business to be profitable, week after week, you need to come up with strategies to constantly attract new and returning clients.

To do so, you must find the answer to one of the most important questions: “What do customers want in a restaurant?”. No worries, we are here to give you a detailed answer that will help you increase your number of clients.

Factors consumers consider when choosing a restaurant

According to a recent study on customer restaurant choice, the most important factors people take into consideration before eating out or ordering in are:

  • Menu price: customers will of course look for a cheap price, but that is not feasible if you want to offer quality ingredients and make a profit. Instead, use restaurant pricing methods that will help you determine a fair price for the portion of food;
  • Variety of items on the menu: more is not always better. Restaurants with smaller menus are often more successful because they focus on offering great-quality menu items, not just a big quantity of dishes;
  • Online reviews from customers: 94% of US diners are influenced by online reviews when choosing a restaurant, so you must hurry up and get as many positive reviews as possible if you want to persuade people to choose your restaurant;
  • Word-of-mouth: the best way to get people to recommend your place to their friends and family is to offer a great customer experience to each and every one of your clients;
  • Reputation: you can create a great image of your restaurant with branding, curating your online presence, and ensuring you offer impeccable service and food;
  • Sales promotion: restaurant deals can push people to take the final step and order, so it will help to make them part of your marketing strategy;
  • Location: the right location will bring you customers from foot traffic alone. Choose a space near many apartments with people who are prone to online ordering and you have a recipe for success.

What do customers want in a restaurant?

Now let’s tackle the important part. More precisely, what can you do to give customers what they want? We’ve created an easy-to-follow guide you must implement at your restaurant to ensure you have a constant stream of clients.

It is pointless to point out that customers want to eat great-tasting food. What we would like to emphasize instead is that the number of dishes in your restaurant menu matters.

You may think that clients want to have a large variety of different types of cuisines. But that would be wrong. Too many options can lead to choice paralysis and even frustration.

Studies have shown that people prefer to have fewer choices because it makes the decision process easier and faster. Therefore, put quality over quantity and give people a short menu they can scan immediately.

A small menu will also build trust with your clients because it guarantees all ingredients are fresh. Moreover, this will also help you reduce food waste and save money in the long term.

Furthermore, if you want to attract more clients, make sure your menu includes pictures. Menus that have images have a 25% higher conversion rate than photos without.

Take the big step and create an online restaurant menu potential customers won’t be able to resist:

2. A convenient way to order online

Hunger strikes at any time and people don’t always feel up to go out to have a great meal. The pandemic we’ve all been through has skyrocketed the number of online orders and people have become accustomed to this service.

For example, 1.8 billion people ordered food online in 2022. If you want to get more clients, you must allow people to order your delicious food online.

What do customers want in a restaurant? To be able to order food in just a few clicks, without interacting with anyone over the phone. The proof is that 67% of consumers prefer to use a restaurant’s website or app to order online.

What do customers want in a restaurant? Convenience! Install an online ordering system so people can easily order your food online

Offer clients the gift of convenience by installing the online ordering system from GloriaFood on your website. It will only take 10 minutes to set up:

Afterward, all clients have to do is click the big and contrasting menu button on your website to start the ordering process. They will then browse the intuitive menu full of mouth-watering pictures, add items to the cart, choose their payment method, and send the order.

what do customers want in a restaurant

Voila! Happy customers -> successful business. You will then be able to accept the order in the order-taking app which will keep clients in the loop until they receive their food.

3. Great online reviews

How do customers choose a restaurant? The same way you do, by searching online for restaurants in their area. Word-of-mouth has moved online these days because you can find out what many other people’s experience was with the restaurant you are interested in.

Here are some simple steps to follow to get many positive reviews online that will convince potential clients to choose your business:

  • Claim your account on the review platforms in your area such as Google Business Profile, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Make sure you add many pictures, working hours, directions to your location, and a link to your website/menu;
  • Add links on your website to the review platforms so customers can easily leave you a positive review;
  • Post on social media asking satisfied customers to review your business;
  • Offer small incentives for positive reviews such as a free dessert or 10% off the next order.

4. Attractive promotions

If you’re looking for the answer to “What do customers want in a restaurant”, put yourself in your clients’ shoes. You have to choose between two restaurants: one with a good-looking menu and one that not only has appetizing meals but also has food deals.

What choice do you make? I believe I am right in guessing you opted for the one that offered restaurant promotions. You are not alone in this, because who can resist a great offer for their food?

Free delivery, 2+1 deals, and a free item for orders over a certain amount are all great promotions that will not only tempt people to order but also order more so they can take advantage of the offer.

Give clients what they want in the form of irresistible restaurant promotions You can add attractive deals to your online menu in just seconds

Therefore, increase your restaurant’s sales and number of clients by adding promotions to your restaurant menu. You can do so in seconds if you use our online ordering system:

Once you add a promo, it will be instantly visible at the top of your menu, so clients won’t miss it. With increased visibility comes a bigger conversion rate from visitor to client.

customer preferences in restaurants

5. An experience they will remember

The restaurant industry is an incredibly competitive industry as there are countless other restaurants in your area, many of them serving the same type of cuisine. Therefore, if you want to stand out from the rest, the answer to “What do customers want in a restaurant” becomes even more important.

A small menu, a convenient way to order online, and attractive promotions are all necessary, but, if you want to outshine other restaurants, you must go a step further and create a food experience clients won’t forget.

Here are a few ideas that will help you satisfy your customers’ needs:

  • Train your employees: teach your staff how to properly treat clients so every customer will be tempted to leave a positive review. Consider getting them familiar with menu items, so they can give great food and pairing recommendations;
  • Partake in trends and seasonal dishes: Keep an eye on social media and see what the latest food trends If it fits your type of cuisine, why not update your menu with items that are all the rage right now to get more customers? For example, try pumpkin-spiced dishes in the autumn.
  • Offer a small item on the house: small gestures can make the biggest impressions. After the meal, you can treat customers to a dessert on you. This will surely persuade them to recommend your business to others;
  • Organize events: you can get more people in your restaurant and even expand your audience by organizing different types of events at your restaurant. For example, you can pair with local businesses to have wine/honey/jam tastings, fairs, concerts, etc.


Now that you know the answer to “What do customers want in a restaurant?”, it is time to update your business to include a small menu, an efficient online ordering system, and attractive promotions.

Don’t forget to offer the best restaurant customer service that won’t only tempt people to keep coming back but will also convince them to write positive online reviews.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Otilia Dobos
Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos prides herself on well-documented, easy to understand and SEO-optimized content, both short and long form.