While it is essential for your restaurant to look for ways to find new customers, have you thought about how to retain the old ones? How do you build loyalty to the point your customers prefer to dine at your restaurant over anywhere else? A loyal customer base will give you a consistent source of revenue, how you develop it is the question.
The first step is to establish a loyalty program. Loyalty programs do persuade customers to return. Offer reward points, special giveaways and discount coupons. For instance, you could have a card that accumulates reward points which the customer can redeem at some point in lieu of a free meal.
You may have heard of this line before, but it cannot be reiterated enough. You need to offer great customer service. The one thing that turns customers away from restaurants never to return is terrible service, and there is no second chance you would get even to make up for it. So remember to keep your staff on their toes and on their best behaviour.
Many restaurants overlook the fun aspect of dining out. As much as customers enjoy having a meal in peace and quiet, every once in a while they may also like to participate in a fun event like game night or trivia night. Host an event once a month to pique their interests, give away prizes and showcase the fun side of the restaurant. It doesn’t always have to be serious.
You need to have a strong presence online. Get onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and connect with customers. Engage and discuss, pose questions, provide answers and create a close-knit community. Remind customers of deals, discounts and special offers. Lure them with reminders of what they may be missing out on.
A restaurant consultant will get customer information either when they are in-house or ask them to subscribe to a mailing list. Surprise them on their birthdays or anniversaries by offering a free meal, dessert for two or 50% discount. Make them feel special on their big day and they will in turn appreciate your efforts by becoming loyal to the restaurant.
Be consistent with your customers in terms of food, service and other stuff. Remain true to your recipes, serve the exact same thing you served the previous night so that you can establish a good reputation overall.