5 Creative Ways Restaurants Earn Loyal Customers

Encourage your guests to come back again and again.

Encourage your guests to come back again and again.

You have an amazing menu, online ordering, you are set up in a great location and you have created the perfect atmosphere.

You have all of your ‘aces in places’, so-to-speak, but despite all of your perfect planning and hard work, unless you have loyal customers, you success probably isn’t going to amount to much. (Tweet this)

Loyal customers are the lifeline for a successful restaurant. Customers who come in once are great, but you can’t depend on them; and in today’s business world, you need to be able to depend on your customers if you are going to be successful. In fact, it is estimated that your current customers spend a whopping 67% more than your new customers. So, yeah, it goes without saying that you need those loyal, repeat customers.

So, how are you going to get those repeat customers that your restaurant needs? Here are some tips that are easy to execute and that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.

1. Offer ‘Perks’

Everyone wants something for nothing. (Tweet this) Offering perks to your repeat customers can really have a huge impact on your success. How can you offer your loyal customer’s perks? You could use a perks card system. Give your customers a card and each time they return, stamp it or punch a hole in it. Once the card reaches a certain amount of punches or stamps, customers receive a free appetizer, entrée or dessert. With this type of reward system, the cost of a free food item equates to peanuts when you consider how much they money they have brought in on each of those visits that they needed to make in order to receive a punch or a stamp. At the end of the day, the return on this reward system is astronomical.

2. Say Hello

The power of a simple greeting is really amazing. Dropping your customers a line, through text message, email or traditional mail, is so easy to do and it costs you virtually nothing, if anything at all; however, the return on this simple message can be huge. Send out messages to those customers who have visited your store once or twice just to send them a friendly reminder that you are there if they need you. This ‘no-sales’ approach to selling your business works remarkably well. You’ll be able to score repeat customers and reap the benefits that they bring.

3. Let Them Have a Say

Let your customers have a say in what you sell and you will notice a huge impact in your repeat customers. When people feel like they are contributing to what your restaurant sells, they will be more likely to return. Not only will they be interested in sampling the menu items they encouraged you to keep on the menu, but they will be more inclined to sample other items, just in case you ask them for their input in the future. This can have a huge impact on your sales.

4. Don’t Deliver, Don’t Pay

Start a program that revolves around your wait staff ‘up-selling’ certain menu items. If your staff doesn’t suggest, your customers get a free appetizer, drink, dessert or what have you. Make it well known that you are offering this system by placing cards or other advertising materials on table caddies or menus. Customers will be more inclined to return in hopes that they will receive a free item if they catch your staff slipping up.

Get your waitstaff involved with up-selling.

Get your waitstaff involved with up-selling.

5. Scratch-and-Earn

Offer those first-time customers, and returning customers, a reason to come back with a ‘scratch-and-earn’ incentive. Drop of a special scratch off that reveals some type of reward; a type of lotto ticket for your restaurant, if you will. The ticket can offer different discounts, free menu items and a certain amount off their bill on their next visit. The key here is that ‘their next visit’. In order to take advantage of whatever it is that they reveal on the card, they need to come back. You will collect more on their total bill than you will spend on their total reward.

You will be amazed what by the power that these simple tactics will have on your customers. You will draw more repeat customers and reap the benefits of those customers in no time.

Need help trying to figure out the best tactics to encourage repeat visits to your restaurant? Contact us and we will be more than happy to help you figure out the best plan for your establishment. 

Images: Brad Bradley and Poiseon Bild & Text

4 responses to “5 Creative Ways Restaurants Earn Loyal Customers”

  1. Restolabs says:

    Restaurants can earn loyal customers not only offline but also online by making their mobile apps more of a concierge to them. You know what your customers order, send them gentle reminders of the good food they might be missing. Send them exciting offer notifications and let their hands do the rest. At Restolabs (www.restolabs.com) we are building Web and Mobile Apps that will bring your customers closer to you like never before by giving you the deepest insights on their interaction with you.

  2. Michael R says:

    NAMES. Always try to refer to a returning guest by their name. It makes them feel special. Especially if they return with a first time guest.

  3. Saniya Arain says:

    It is a wonderful article.A restaurant sets a high standard for its food quality and ensures that customer receive the same quality with every meal serving quality food can earn your restaurant a good reputation and compel your customers to return,and provide your customers accurate information about the restaurant and its menu,charges and offers, feel free to visit http://bistroservices.com/

  4. This blog looks great so you definitely know what you’re talking about!

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