Zaks, is the much loved Norfolk restaurant chain that has been part of people’s lives in Norwich and Norfolk since 1976. As their strapline says – “Everyone’s Favourite American Diners”. Being a lover of brands who are authentic and customer-focused I felt this real life example was worth sharing.
New joint owners, who recently took over Zaks in February, Ian Hacon and Chris Carr have taken the opportunity to listen to what their customers have had to say on social media.
Today, customers are not backwards about coming forwards with their comments on social media. Whether it’s poor service or not being happy with your product, customers are quick to air their grievances through the social networks.
They also expect a quick turnaround and a reply to their complaint, comment or suggestion, simply due to the instant nature of social media.
Sounds like a disaster, doesn’t it? But actually, as a business owner, feedback (both good and bad) can be like gold dust if you take the right attitude. It’s always disappointing to know that customers aren’t satisfied, but if you don’t know what is going wrong, then you can’t fix it.
The new owners of Zaks have been doing just that, by listening to what customers have had to say and responding by bringing back old favourites to their menus, letting customers choose how burgers are cooked and even the legendary Zaks burger van.
As a long established local business Zaks have literally decades worth of loyal customers. Many of these customers will remember the early days when local musician and entrepreneur Harvey Platt started serving up foil wrapped burgers from a van on Castle Meadow in Norwich.
The Zaks burger soon became a firm favourite in the city and has continued to be over the years. Last year saw previous owners make a menu change which not all customers were enamoured with! Now Zaks have pledged to return it to its former glory after hundreds of people took to social media to request old favourite meals.
New joint owner Ian Hacon took to social media to say: “It’s so many people’s favourite, and full of memories. That’s why we have a big responsibility to do things right.”
We love this video on Facebook of the guys, it shows they are listening to customers and committed to the brand. It’s fun, informative and also highlights their personalities, an aspect which is essential in the hospitality industry.
Reconnecting with old customers while resonating with new ones is essential when you have brand and values that customers have come to expect. It certainly looks like Chris and Ian are already turning around Zaks fortunes by connecting with their patrons via social media.
Social listening has allowed Zaks to make immediate changes to menus within a few weeks of new ownership. Other changes may take a little longer but understanding exactly what their customers want and love about Zaks can only lead to happy customers and a successful business.
A huge well done to Ian and Chris, taking over new ownership of a business is a task in itself but making one of your first priorities to win old loyal customers back and listening to them is a great move.