As the statistics say, in 2014 the total number of establishments in the F&B sector was 6,871, which increased to 7,229 in 2015 and further grew to 7,679 in 2016. Therefore, it should not be very difficult to comprehend that competition in the Singapore f&b industry is rather stiff. Hence, it becomes imperative for restaurants to strive rather hard in order to not only broaden the customer trial base but also to turn them into loyal customers.
Knowing that loyal customers or repeat customers are more likely to order more and even spread the news of your restaurant through word of mu, which will increase your sales exponentially, what is refraining you from doing the needful that will help you in retaining customers?
From providing an outstanding customer service, taking their reviews and working on them, using CRM to the best and running personalized marketing campaigns with the customer information garnered, providing stellar loyalty programs and offers, and last but not the least hosting outstanding events are some of the sure things that will make your customers walk into your restaurant repeatedly.
Ways To Increase Customer Retention At Your Restaurant
While most restaurants spend a lot of time in strategizing on attracting new customers, something which they often fail to understand that retaining the customers is a task that should be given full attention. Therefore, we have compiled a list of useful tips that can work as basic rules for customer retention both old and new.
1. Offer A Splendid Customer Service
Outstanding customer service will play a major role in helping you retain your customers. A restaurant location that is easily accessible has good food at reasonable prices, good ambiance, and great hospitality will complete your customer’s dining experience. You must also ensure no matter how many times a customer visits your restaurant, they must be treated and welcomed, in the same way, they were on their first visit. Customers’ expectations may vary from one another, but for customer retention, you must ensure that the service provided is remarkable and to the best of your efforts.
Customers hate to wait. Hence, if your customers have to wait for an hour just to serve an entree, they will surely be annoyed. Try not to make your customers wait too long to be seated, or served.
The quantity of the food served must justify the price changes for it and vice versa. You must balance the portion size and the price charged for the item to keep your food costs in check, and also keep your customers happy.
Ideal waiter to table ratio is also an essential factor to consider. In casual dining restaurants where the service expectation is low and the volume of customers high, the ideal Table-to-Waiter ratio is high- 6 to 8 tables (seating an average of 4 people) per waiter. On the other hand, fine dining restaurants often have several courses and need constant supervision. In this case, the expectation of service is exceptionally high as the customers are paying significantly more, and any lack of service is frowned upon.
2. Using Loyalty Programs And Offers
Loyalty programs have for long been one of the most prominent tricks to retain customers. However, when the competition is rather high in the Singapore food industry, it becomes necessary for you to craft a stellar loyalty program that will attract the customers enough to compel them to be a part of the same.
Make sure that your loyalty programs are simple to comprehend, it has enough incentives for the customers, customize the offers as much as possible, and seek regular feedback from your customers to know where you have scope for improvement and religiously work on the suggestions given.
With the customer information that you will be able to garner from the CRM database, craft personalized loyalty programs. Remember that customers love it when you do something that suits their needs perfectly and this is something that you need to harness. And once you do, be sure to make your customers happy and your customer retention agenda will get bolstered.
3. Use CRM to Run Personalized Marketing Campaigns
Nowadays every restaurant nurtures a comprehensive CRM database, and this is what you need to harness. Simply collecting your customer data and not using it diligently, will make your efforts redundant. Hence, segment the data collected and run targeted restaurant marketing campaigns.
Send them personalized messages and emails with customized offers on their birthdays and anniversaries. While adding the personal touch, which almost no one can ignore, you will lure them to avail the customized offers that you have in store for them. This will surely bring them walking at your door and make your customer retention efforts a success.
4. Gathering Customer Feedback
Make sure you gather customer feedback. Genuine feedback from your customers and working on them will not only make you hone your restaurant business, but it will also make your customers feel important, and their chances of returning to your restaurant will increase exponentially. It is always a good idea for the host to pop up in between the meal, or at the end to ask if everything is fine. In case a guest is unhappy, you must make sure that the grievance is resolved immediately. Acting promptly upon the complaint shows that you value your customers’ feedback.
Since customers take their experience to the social media, it becomes very important for you to keep a check on your social media pages and the restaurant review sites. Whenever you come across a review, acknowledge it without fail. While responding to the good reviews, you must never turn a deaf ear to the negative ones. Handle the negative reviews with care, apologize for the inconvenience caused, and offer them a 10% discount on their next visit. Not only will the discount compel the customers to visit your restaurant, but it will also give you an opportunity the undo their past experience with a splendid customer service, which will eventually help you in your efforts of customer retention.
Know about some of the smart ways to collect customer feedback, here.
5. Use Online Mediums To Be In Touch
With the augment of online mediums, you can be in touch with your customers like never before. Run SMS and email campaigns to inform your customers about the new offers in your restaurant, about somnew events or nights that you will be hosting. Make sure you send them personalized SMS wishing them on their birthdays and anniversaries, coupled with this if you send them some offers which they can avail on the joyous occasion, then you can be more than sure to see them around in your restaurant. These will help you to be in sight and in mind of your customers, which is exceptionally important if you are aiming for customer retention.
Social media are also a lucrative way of marketing that you must use to the fullest. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are some of the best platforms to run campaigns and contests. You can create a special hashtag for your restaurant, and encourage your customers to use that hashtag whenever they post a picture of your restaurant or your dishes on any of the social media pages. And the picture with the hashtag that gets the most number of likes wins the contest alongside with a 30% discount on their next visit. Not only these campaigns keep your customers involved, but the offers you provide will also lure the customers and will help you in customer retention.
6. Host Events
One of the best ways to attract the crowd is to host themed nights and parties during the festivals. During these nights make sure that everything at your restaurant is in sync with the festival at hand, for example, the decor, the menu items and a dress code that must be adhered to. Offers like the best-dressed person gets a 30% off on the bill generated is a great way to keep your customers thrilled and excited. Hence capture the dates of the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Christmas, and such other festivals and plan for how you can introduce your restaurant to the customers in a new version.
Apply these stellar tricks and see how it helps you in customer retention, and build a band of loyal customers which is extremely important if you want to build your restaurant as a brand. Especially in a market like Singapore where customers take into account the behavior of the restaurant staff, it becomes all the more important that you have your customer service and your marketing campaigns on the point that will help you in your customer retention.