Texas Restaurants Look To Boost Safety Through Customer Reporting

Consumers who are willing to venture into Texas restaurants can now take part in improving the customer experience by reporting on the COVID-19-related health and hygiene practices at participating restaurants.

It’s done by texting the word “SAFE” to a national number they will find on a sticker or decal at the door, followed by a six-digit location ID.

Texting the word triggers a chatbot that can identify the location. It prompts customers through a three-question survey whose results are relayed to the restaurant's corporate office.

Customers can share additional details including pictures or attachments.

The Texas Restaurant Association is the program’s first partner. The service is supported by technology from business messaging platform Quiq, and customer experience researcher A Closer Look. 

It will accompany an advertising campaign, "Dine At The Sign," letting consumers know the restaurant did everything it could to keep them safe.

The idea is to help consumers feel “good” about going back into restaurants, said Chris Gillen, CEO of A Closer Look. “We saw a gap and a lot of differences on how restaurants would open,” he said. “There was no way, outside of a social media post, for customers to provide restaurants with feedback on how they felt about hygiene practices.”

The company’s also in discussions to launch something similar in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Michigan.

Rather than the consumer publicly debating the issues over social media or on Yelp or Google My Business, this gives customers a way to privately identify these issues, so the business can determine how they want to respond, and to let the business know what the customer feels needs to be fixed.

This is the third piece to a multi-step process during COVID-19, said Joe Monastero, chief strategy and operations officer at the Texas Restaurant Association. It is part of the Texas Restaurant Promise Certification covered under a grant by the Texas Workforce Commission. This is a certification training program and assessment program, known as mystery shopping, that the restaurant must go through before they get to the Trusted Partner Program or the Certified and Verified program.

"This is a time for everyone to have a little grace and understanding," Monastero said. 

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