As a restaurateur, have you ever realised the importance of retaining your existing diners? Research shows that acquiring a new customer is really tough in a highly competitive industry. As per the study conducted by Thanx Inc, 70% of retail and restaurant customers never make a return visit. The finding is quite significant in the present scenario as restaurants are struggling to cope up with the new challenges posed by Covid-19.
Hence, now it’s the right time to focus on your loyal customers. However, for making a repeat visit at your restaurant, your diners need to have a strong reason.
5 top tips for retaining customers at your restaurant
Let’s explore the various tried and tested techniques for bringing your loyal customers back to your restaurant.
1. Improve engagement with restaurant management software
A robust restaurant management software helps you collect important customer data such as their name, contact details, profession, address etc. Identify your target customers and engage them using the right communication channel. It can be SMS, e-mail or push notifications. Now it’s pretty easy as India’s leading digital restaurant management platform inresto’s Campaign module aids you in running marketing campaigns effectively. Depending on your target segment, reach out to a huge number of customers using these campaigns. There is also the option to automate the campaign so that you don’t have to employ human resources.
With a single click, you can communicate the message to a large audience. Assume that you are offering a limited period discount offer on buffet dinner. With a single click, you can spread the news to several employees working in the IT industry in the city.
2. Develop an attractive loyalty program
According to HT’s Customer Engagement Technology Study, 45% of diners will select a restaurant if they belong to its loyalty program. Hence, come up with a loyalty program that helps you retain your loyal customers. Keep the loyalty program and the redemption process simple. The criteria for awarding loyalty points can either be the number of visits at your restaurant or the amount spent. Offer the feature of instant redemption so that diners can avail discounts on their meal.
Send timely notifications about the loyalty points they have earned and the expiry date of the points. Last-minute offers and rewards can also be effectively promoted with a loyalty program. Extend special discount offers to your loyal customers on occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays.
3. Focus on social media platforms
It’s time to boost your restaurant’s social media presence with official Instagram and Facebook pages. As per the research conducted by Oracle Food and Beverage, Instagram is the most popular channel among younger demographics, with 49% of millennials and 46% of pre-millennials preferring the platform. However, among the older demographics, Facebook is the most preferred platform with 41% of Generation Xers and 22% of over 55s wishing to be contacted with it.
Post high quality images of lip smacking dishes on your restaurant’s official Instagram page. Ensure that you are posting pictures on a regular basis. Upload videos that offer your audience a glimpse to ‘behind the scenes’ of your restaurant. It can be the video of your chef preparing a signature dish. Instagram stories also aid a lot in boosting engagement. Launch contests and games that create interest among the social media users. An example is a special discount of 15% for the best comment on the latest image on Instagram.
4. Work on customer feedback
As per the report by Hyken.com, 43% of those surveyed stated that they don’t complain/leave feedback because they don’t think that the business cares. Hence,it is important to handle both positive and negative feedback with grace. With a good feedback management software, now you can personalise the questions on the feedback form. It helps you collect instant feedback as soon as the diners are done with their meal. There can be various parameters such as quality of food, service, behaviour by staff etc. where you need to improve.
Assume that a diner is not happy with the hygiene protocols followed by your restaurant. On receiving the feedback, conduct a meeting with all the employees. Check where it has gone wrong and take corrective action immediately. Emphasize the importance of implementing the Covid-19 safety measures. Get back to the diner, apologize and assure him that such unfortunate incidents will not recur in the future.
5. Focus on excellent customer service
The easiest way to win your diner’s heart is by offering amazing excellent customer service. As per the report by Ameritas, about 97% of customers will tell others about very good or excellent customer service experiences. Offering quality food at affordable rates is the key to the success of any restaurant. The portion sizes of food should be adequate for your diners. If there is any negative feedback about the food quality, fix the problems immediately.
Make sure that your staff greet the customers with a pleasing attitude. If your restaurant is offering home delivery services, ensure that the food reaches the customer’s doorstep on time. A restaurant management software will help you easily manage the rush in orders. Never make the customers wait too long for food. If there is any delay, inform the diners in advance. Have a live chat option on your website as well as mobile app. It helps your customers in reaching out to you quickly.
A restaurant management system can help you enormously in collecting valuable insights on customer preferences. As discussed above, it aids in designing marketing campaigns and developing loyalty programs. By implementing the aforementioned techniques, now you can easily foster loyalty among diners. In an era where restaurants are struggling with wafer thin margins, these tips will help you create a loyal customer base.