Copping some backlash on your latest menu change? Don’t start up the 2-for-1s just yet…

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By Samantha Litfin | Marketing Consultant |

Web-image_Copping-some-backlash-on-your-latest-menu-changeSo much can change in such a small timeframe. You change a menu, renovate your café, start a new promotion, change your gaming products or even employ new team members; it all changes the dynamic of your operation and how your patrons respond to it.

Some will love it and respond with their visitation and dollars, others may dislike it and vote with their feet, while many won’t notice or care (sad fact of life). But what happens when the responses are subtle and require some digging to find what they are? It doesn’t mean they’re less important, in fact, in a recent research project we conducted for a venue, it highlighted the true impact a casino operator was having on their business, having increased their top patron visits to the casino from 4 to almost 10 per year in less than 12 months.

Those high value members went from visiting the casino once per quarter to every 5 weeks, driving over an hour to do so.

In addition to this, we also discovered that some recent changes in the venue were driving visitation and spend from higher value customers over value-driven, low spend customers. While they took a slight decline in general customer perception and some negativity on the more refined F&B offer, the revenues and visitation levels are increasing. Something to monitor, but just looking at this data as “customers hate the new menu” would generally spark some prompt action from management to appease the ‘squeaky wheel’ of negative reviews.

Data on its own is useless, but information has untold value, for example;

  • Customers increased their average spend in gaming, food and beverage by 27%
  • High value gaming customers increased spend in food alone by 62% – a huge difference especially for gamers
  • People who had a less positive perception on the venue, actually had not been in for 3 months or more which was driving the negative feedback
  • People say they want more ‘value for money’ but at the same time, food quality was their number one priority for choosing a venue
  • Promotions and rewards programs are less important to customers, compared to customer service, quality and cleanliness
  • The venue is now engaging customers under 30 years of age and they love the promotions
  • New, trendy competitors offering alternate dining options have pinched some dining visitation particularly among non-gamers
  • Gaming customers aren’t complaining, but they certainly aren’t loving the entertainment or promotions offering

Now this is a good time to remember that you mustn’t forget about the sea while you’re off fishing for the whales – but if we are trying to drive increased value, spend and visitation from our customers – then this is a good overall result. A result that takes a dedicated investment in research and slicing up the data in a number of ways for real business insight and action.

We could have guessed some of the above (e.g. everyone wants you to be cheaper and provide more value) – but the value this information provides means that;

  • You can make your next move
  • You can feel confident in your decision outside of the numbers
  • You can monitor or act on trends or concerns with solidarity
  • You can arm your staff with the knowledge of how the general customer base truly feels, as opposed to the noisy minority
  • You can dig deeper and start solving problems before they become crisis meetings

Perhaps most importantly, you can show your customers that you are listening and genuinely taking action because of their feedback.

You can’t deliver better ‘value’ than that.

Thinking about doing some research for your own venue to help drive your future decisions? Get in touch with us for a no obligation chat on what hidden insights and information we can provide for you on (07) 3878 9355 or at

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