Most restaurant operators keep spending on restaurant marketing to attract new customers, while largely ignoring the existing customer base. However, customer retention is even more important in the UAE since it receives a huge influx of tourists and overnight visitors which rarely ever turn into a loyal customer base.
According to a report, the per capita spend on food in the UAE is among the highest in the world. In UAE, dining out is one of the most significant sources of entertainment for the people hence, it makes sense to focus on your repeated customers.
Also, it is more likely for the locals to spend more on the food and beverages over the next five years due to the growth in income in UAE. Hence, it only makes sense to satisfy your regular customers and have them coming back for more!
Why You Should Focus On Restaurant Customer Retention In UAE
Before we begin learning how one can acquire repeat customers, it is more important to understand, why is there a need to do so.
- It Is Cheaper To Attract Returning Customers Than Acquire New Ones – It is 6-7 times more expensive to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one.
- Returning Customers Tend To Spend More – Repeated customers are likely to spend more when they visit your restaurant as they have a taste for what you have to offer. According to research, if the repeats are increased by 5%, the profits can be raised to 120%
- Loyal Customers Can Become Your Brand Evangelists – Word of mouth is arguably the best form of restaurant marketing. People often discuss a place they like or frequently visit, with their peers and tend to bring them along during the next visit or recommend them the place they like.
Hence, it makes it even more important to focus on the local crowd, and you can do that through a restaurant marketing strategy that focuses not just on attracting new customers but also aims to convert them into repeat business.
How To Employ Restaurant Marketing To Gain Repeat Customers In UAE
Now that we are familiar with some of the benefits of having repeated customers let us look at some effective restaurant marketing techniques to retain them
1. Use Customer Data To Your Advantage
Sending promotional SMS and emails to customers to attract customers is one of the most common restaurant marketing technique. However, bulk SMS and email campaigns that target the masses at large rarely have a great result. Instead, use the precious customer data in your restaurant CRM to create custom SMS and email campaigns based on the order history and behavior of your customers.
Personalized marketing campaigns tend to see a better conversion rate and can increase repeat sales by 8-20% in QSRs and 6-12% in fine dining restaurants.
2. Run Online Remarketing Campaigns
Running online remarketing campaigns is one of the most effective ways of restaurant marketing since it specifically targets the people who have shown a previous interest in your business. If you have a website for your restaurant or an online ordering landing page, you can target the people who have visited these pages and show them ads through Google Adwords.
You can also run targeted ads on Facebook wherein you can choose only your page’s audience to display the ad too. You can also upload your CRM data to Facebook and advertise to only your existing customers.
3. Run Loyalty Programs
Everyone enjoys rewards, and that keeps your customers coming back! Loyalty programs and rewards memberships have been widely known to boost customer retention. Offering customers reward points on the basis of the amount they spend or the number of times they visit your restaurant gives them an incentive to come back and redeem those points. However, this where you need to be careful. The true success of a Loyalty Program is not measured by the Earn Rate of the points, but by the Burn Rate.
Unless your customers are coming back to your restaurant to redeem the points, your Loyalty Program is likely to fail.
Thus, it is essential that you create customized Loyalty Programs based on the behavior of your guests and send them regular updates so that they don’t forget to redeem them.
4. Encourage Social Media Interaction
Google, as well as Facebook, ask people to review the places they have visited or checked in at, which results in people coming back to your social media profile.
If you look at the audience of your restaurant’s social media pages, most of them are likely your customers. Most restaurants encourage customers to follow them on social media, and people also tend to ‘like’ the business pages where they have been to recently if they had a good time.
Thus, it is a good idea to regularly update your social media pages with the latest happenings, offers, and events running at your restaurant, as these would appear in your customers’ social media feed. You can also run online contests, encouraging people to use your restaurant’s hashtag or posting a selfie to promote customer engagement.
5. Tell Them Your Story
The best way to improve your restaurant customer retention rate is to stay in touch. And you should employ restaurant marketing strategies to stay relevant in the minds of your customers. Customer engagement is not always spamming your patrons’ inbox with promotional SMS and emails.
You can create a connection with your customers by telling them your story too. Sending a monthly email newsletter about the latest development at your restaurant is a great way to stay in touch with your customers. Share pictures of the events hosted at your restaurant, introduce the new Chef you hired or talk about the new addition in your menu.
The idea is to lend a human touch to your communication and create a personal bond with your guests.
All said and done; all the great restaurant marketing techniques are going to fail unless you live up to your promises by delivering great guest experience. Ensure that you provide a memorable experience to your customers and take the aid of restaurant marketing to keep your customers coming back.