One of the biggest mistakes restaurant owners make is focusing too much attention on attracting new customers and not enough attention on creating and keeping loyal customers. It seems counter intuitive to many restaurant owners to flip the coin and pay attention to increasing return business.
But, this can be a costly mistake.
Return visitors not only provide regular income to your restaurant, but they are often your biggest fans and marketing tool. (tweet this)
A recent Empathica survey found that return restaurant visits are much higher when guests are most satisfied. The likelihood of a return visit increases from 20% to 81% when customers report a higher satisfaction rate. The survey goes on to note that when diners are “strongly satisfied” they are four times as likely to recommend your restaurant to friends, family and co-workers.
It’s also important to note the following findings about repeat customers:
We’ve started to build a case for the importance of return customers. Now, let’s talk about three factors keeping your restaurant customers away. We’ll also look at ways to turn this scenario upside down by nurturing customer relationships and meeting the needs of your diners.
Your customers want a clean restaurant. We don’t just mean wiping down the tables and hostess stand. Check every nook and cranny. Look in the corners of the floor and look up for dust. Customers will note dirty light fixtures and ceiling fans.
If you don’t pay proper attention to your dining area and restrooms, your customers might think this is an indication of your kitchen’s cleanliness. You cannot afford to have a dirty restaurant.
There’s no room for superficial cleaning inside your restaurant. (tweet this) Especially in the bathroom. This space should be sparkling clean and always freshly stocked.
In addition to the building, ensure that your staff is clean, and their clothes are tidy. The appearance of your staff reflects on your restaurant just as much as the building.
Here are some areas to pay special attention to:
“Wow! That restaurant was worth the wait.” These are great words to hear if you are a restaurant owner. Even though you might want to decrease wait times, this short statement means you are hitting a home run when it comes to cleanliness, service and great food.
In fact, this statement is often followed with, “The staff was so kind and thoughtful. They took care of my needs.”
Unfortunately, though, restaurants aren’t always worth the wait, and the reason is often bad service. If your restaurant’s dining experience isn’t worth paying for, and we’re talking about service from the parking lot to hostess stand to bar and wait staff – it’s time to pay attention.
You should make sure all aspects of human interaction in your restaurant are working at peak performance. Great service all around will pay dividends in the long run.
Let’s focus on the hostess, wait staff and bar staff. We’ll list some ways that service can go wrong and tips for fixing them:
The quality of your food and drinks is one of the biggest things your customers notice. After all, it’s your food they came for, right?
If your food quality is inconsistent or poor, you could be keeping customers away. You probably opened your restaurant because you had a great food concept, or you were a great chef yourself. It’s important to maintain the quality and consistency of your food to keep your customers coming back.
Here are a few things to pay attention to when it comes to your food and menu:
Return customers are vital to the success of your restaurant. Pay attention to these three factors keeping your restaurant customers away, and hopefully you’ll turn your situation around, or better yet, prevent it from happening.
Lastly, consider giving your customers something special. Loyalty programs are often successful and can aid in your efforts at encouraging return customers to your restaurant.
Have you run across any of these situations in your restaurant or one you’ve frequented? How did you solve the problem to encourage return customers? We’d love to hear your comments. Post below!