7 Ways to Generate Customer Loyalty
Repeat customers are essential for restaurants. They provide a regular stream of revenue by returning more often. Plus, they serve as a form of marketing (through word-of-mouth and social media) and help build your reputation.
Creating a pleasant dining experience for your guests goes beyond the food. Taking a more targeted approach to building loyalty in your dining experience can keep guests happy and, most importantly, coming back for more.
Here are a few simple ways to generate loyalty between your restaurant and your customers.
Always #1 when building regulars. Consistency is a word that can apply to any of these concepts. Guests want to know what to expect when they visit. They want to be able to bring a work client, friend, or family member to dinner and know their experience is going to hold up. It only takes one bad experience for a guest to decide they won’t return, even if they had good previous experiences.
By providing consistently stellar service and food, restaurants can keep their guests coming back for more.
Your customers want to feel like guests. Even if the food is terrific, guests are not likely to return if the staff does not make their patrons feel welcome. When you consider tipping and how it’s an added expense to going out, guests expect hospitable exchanges, from the host when they enter the establishment to any employee they may encounter. Professional and [genuinely] nice service staff will set your restaurant apart from the rest.
Don’t cut corners on standards. This is not limited to upscale restaurants. If your restaurant is known for its wings, make sure you don’t select a new food supplier to save a pretty penny. The quality of your ingredients and other goods will make a difference, and your customers will notice if any shake-up happens. Set your standard and stick to it—remember, consistency is key.
Unless you’re buying their loyalty with discounts, nobody frequents a dirty restaurant. Consider the guest’s perception: if the restroom, bar, or dining room they can see is not well-kept, you know they’re wondering what the kitchen looks like.
Don’t give your guests a reason to worry about the process. Short, sweet, and to the point.
Make Time for Guests Individually
People want to feel like you have time to talk with them. Even if it’s a busy shift, take a couple of minutes and get to know them. Teach your service staff to work efficiently so that the guests don’t feel like their experience is rushed. If your restaurant is experiencing front-of-house staffing issues, make sure a manager circulates the dining room and says hello to guests that have returned.
Guests will pick up on interactions and assume it isn’t worth it to the service staff if they return, no matter how big or small that interaction may be.
Recognize faces. Guests like to feel noticed and recognized for their loyalty. Go the extra step and thank them for coming back. They may have visited once or twice due to the food, but that minimal effort of thanking them for coming back is why they will continue to do so.
Get to Know Them
Remember details on how they take their drinks, their dog’s name, what they look for, what they appreciate…the more details you can remember about your guests, the more appreciated they’ll feel. When I think back to my days behind the bar, I think of how guests were more patient or forgiving when we were busy, short-staffed, etc., because we took the time to connect with them. Knowing how they like their food and drinks and making conversation will almost always overshadow a slower ticket time or a wait before a seat is available.
Ready to set your restaurant up for success? Schedule an initial consult, and we’ll discuss more customer loyalty options your restaurant could try. Cheers!