What Modern Diners Want in a Restaurant Experience

One of the small pleasures in life is going to a restaurant and enjoying a meal that you don’t cook or clean-up after. For businesses in the food industry, understanding what restaurant customers want in their experience is key to building and maintaining a customer base.

A restaurant offers a change of pace and the chance to get out of the house and into some different scenery. This is greatly appreciated now that opportunities to go places are few and far between, due to the pandemic. However, also due to COVID-19 restrictions, the restaurant experience must change a bit to protect customers and team members.

So, restaurants must ask—What do modern diners want from a restaurant experience? What are people expecting now, and how can restaurants deliver? By understanding what your customers want in a restaurant experience, you can offer great customer service and create a loyal customer base that will always come back to eat at your establishment. 

Let’s take a look at five things that many customers are looking for when they eat out:


The majority of customers don’t want menu items that are overly complicated or unfamiliar when they go out to eat. If the menu you offer is too complicated and tries to offer every single cuisine, it may overwhelm the customer and decrease the food quality. 

Decide on a niche cuisine and serve dishes that are crowd-pleasers. Some flair in the menu may set you apart from other restaurants, but too much flair may scare customers away.

Ensure that the menus are basic and easy to understand. They shouldn’t be too busy-looking and you should include descriptions and pictures when needed.

Easy Ordering Processes

One of the worst things for people to deal with is a complicated ordering process. Whether they are ordering in-house or online, people want it to be simple. 

The moment your app fails or glitches, they may decide to go elsewhere and change their mind about dining with you in the future. ToGo Technologies, a company that specializes in online ordering apps, recommends finding a reliable restaurant ordering technology to give your customers a consistently positive experience.

Such a simple thing can sway people against continuing to be customers with you. If you offer the right technology, you can allow customers to order on time and when they want to.


If you can keep menu items simple, but offer customization by swapping out sides and toppings to taste, customers will be happier with this restaurant experience. 

The menu doesn’t have to be complicate, customizing the dishes doesn’t have to be either. But when your restaurant offers this, customers can get exactly what they want, and you’ll gain points as a more accommodating business. 

This will appeal not only to picky and particular customers, but also to children, or those with food allergies or specific dietary restrictions.


No one wants to wait around for hours for their food, whether that’s killing time with slow in-house table services or waiting at home for delivery services. 

If you can ensure that you are offering your patrons efficiency, you are going to keep a loyal customer base who are happy to return to you over and over again.

Evidence Of Care

Ethics and evidence of care is a quality that will keep customers returning to your business.

Consider donating a portion of proceeds, asking customers to donate to a cause you have partnered with, or having your restaurant donate time or resources to a local charity or food bank.

Respond to both happy and unhappy customer reviews, and be sure to have your employees thank customers for their business. Appreciation and concern go a long way in keeping loyal customers.