The Indian food and beverage industry is growing at an annual rate of seven percent which makes it crucial to match up with the competition and attract as many customers as possible. Attracting new customers is the prime focus of several restaurateurs but, what about the repeat customers? For a restaurant owner, customer retention should be extremely important since repeat customers tend to spend sixty-seven percent more as compared to the new customers. This is because loyal customers are familiar with your restaurant’s services and have developed a taste for the food that you serve.
Plus, it is 6-8 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Importance Of Restaurant Customer Retention
Keeping your loyal customers happy is essential as they are the backbone of your restaurant. The regular customers help in spreading the good word about your restaurant which is very beneficial since people are more likely to try a place which was recommended to them by someone familiar.
Restaurant customer retention helps in increasing the restaurant’s sale, and these points will tell you how.
1. Repeat Customers Are Easy To Upsell To
The repeat customers are more likely to order the same old dishes they usually do but, you can train your servers to suggest the menu items that have high-profit margins. It is easier to upsell to repeat customers because over a period they develop a sense of trust towards your restaurant and would love to try something new.
For example, if someone were to order a glass of wine, the server can suggest them to opt for the one that has a high-profit margin and describe the wine a little to build your guests’ interest.
Make the item you are selling sound appealing and ask your servers to be enthusiastic about it. If the server sounds bored while upselling a particular item your guests might not end up ordering the menu item suggested.
Try these effective upselling techniques to increase your repeat sales.
2. Contribute To Word Of Mouth Marketing
If someone loves coming back to your restaurant, the chances are they will tell other people about your restaurant. Word of mouth is a powerful asset in the restaurant industry as it is the best source of free advertisement. Be sure to provide the best service to both, repeat as well as new customers. The more you interact with your customers, the more likely your name would spread.
Word of mouth is vital as people tend to trust their friends and family more and tend to go with their recommendations.
Restaurant customer retention not only brings back your loyal customers but they tend to bring new customers along with them which results in more sales.
Read how you can employ word of mouth marketing to bring in more customers here.
3. Repeat Customers Give Honest Feedback
As a restaurant owner, you must always look for ways to make your restaurant superior and cater better to your customer’s needs and wants. You can talk to your repeat customers and collect their feedback since they have interacted with your restaurant quite a few times they will give you honest suggestions.
Regular customers have certain expectations from your restaurant business and would not shy away from giving an honest opinion. Feedbacks are a great way of determining what your guests expect and this will indeed help increase the sales of your restaurant.
How To Improve Your Restaurant Customer Retention
Now that you know the benefits of restaurant customer retention here are some of the ways you can retain more regular customers to increase the sales of your restaurant. Offering something extra now and then is a good way of attracting people to your restaurant. Make sure you encourage people to follow your restaurant’s social media pages and regularly post about any upcoming events there. You can also send out emails or SMS to your regular customers and encourage them to visit your restaurant.
1. Enticing Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are a great way of rewarding your regular customer’s loyalty and giving them an incentive to come back.
Make your customers aware of the loyalty programs you offer by sending them regular updates through custom SMS and emails. The critical thing to remember here is that generic promotional messages don’t really work in bringing back customers.
Loyalty Programs should be customized according to the type of restaurant and customer behavior to improve restaurant customer retention. For instance, the restaurants having high footfall and low Average Customer Spend should run visit-based Loyalty Programs. For restaurants having low footfall and high Average Customer Spend, point-based Loyalty Programs work well.
Loyalty programs are a great way of engaging your customers and having them come back for more.
Learn how to create Loyalty Programs that actually bring back customers here.
2. Deliver The Best Service
People not only remember you for the food but the service as well. You need to make sure that the service is top-notch. No matter how good the food is but if the waiting time is long or the server is rude it can ruin the impression of your restaurant, and the person might never return. Learn how to accept your mistake and if something goes wrong, apologize or offer a freebie.
People love to feel acknowledged, and a small act of goodwill goes a long way. The reason why several people keep coming back is that they not only enjoy the food but they also cherish your restaurant’s service. Therefore it is essential to deliver consistent service each time.
This article will tell you how to delight your customers with a great guest experience each time they visit.
3. Introduce Innovation
With the stiff competition in the restaurant space, there is no dearth of options for customers. If you keep offering the same old food and service for a long time, customers might get eventually bored and go to other restaurants to try something new. Therefore, it is essential that you keep innovating your menu and introduce unique items to attract customers.
Analyzing your menu will help you cater to the customer demands and also make your menu more profitable. Offering exciting discounts on food and drinks also keeps people coming back. You can introduce Happy Hours, One plus One offers, etc. to make it easy on your customers pocket. You can find your niche and create unique flavors that will keep your customers coming back for more!
For example, if you run a restro bar, you can create a special cocktail every month and offer them only on Saturdays. If a person has developed a taste for your cocktails they will surely visit every month to enjoy them. You can track the customer’s ordering history using a POS system and curate custom offers. This is an excellent way of enticing the customers and would also encourage them to order more of what they like. By offering custom offers you are making your guests feel special, hence they are sure to come back!
4. Seeking And Acting On The Feedback
Seeking feedback from your customers is a great way of catering to their needs. It lets you know what exactly they expect from your restaurant business. You can use a feedback app to quickly collect feedback from your customers. It would also prevent them from posting an online review if the service was not up to their expectations.
Taking feedback is not enough, act upon them if required. The Feedback App sends instant notifications and alerts to the restaurant owner in case someone gives a poor review. This would allow you to take corrective actions on the spot and placate a disgruntled customer.
The customers would notice the efforts and would return even if they did not enjoy the meal the very first time.
Here’s how you should be seeking feedback from customers that would help you improve your customer retention.
5. Focus On Personalized Marketing
Even if you are constantly innovating and delivering the best service, customer retention would still not be good enough if you don’t market your restaurant. It is essential to stay relevant in the minds of the customer. Engage with your customers regularly by sending them custom SMS and emails. It is important to personalize your promotional messages based on customer ordering history and behavior.
Personalized marketing is known to increase repeat sales by 8-20% in QSRs and 6-12% in Fine Dine restaurants. Hence, use a smart restaurant marketing tool to create custom SMS and email campaigns to engage with your customers.
Restaurant customer retention is something restaurateurs should be paying close attention to. Repeat customers help grow your business and can be treated as a regular source of income. It is essential to keep them coming back for more. Keep experimenting as people tend to get bored with the same old things, offer something extra that would keep your customers engaged and will help you up your restaurant’s sale.