From relationships to sports teams, loyalty is an admirable trait. When it comes to restaurant profits though, loyalty delivers more than just character value. Customer loyalty translates to actual dollars and cents. According to Apps Institute, businesses with 40% repeat customers generate almost 50% more revenue than competing companies with only 10% repeat customers.
Here are six easy ways to keep them returning, again and again.
1. Make friendliness your daily special.
Regulars don’t just come for the food. The feeling of being welcome and familiar is something everyone craves. Train your hosts, hostesses, servers, and counter service employees to greet everyone with a smile and general sense of appreciation. Remembering names can be invaluable too.
2. Give back to the community.
You know the restaurants with smiling little league photos on the wall? Or the ones giving away samples at the finish line of the charity race? Or how about the restaurants with gift certificates in the silent auction that hundreds of people attend? Those restaurants are active in the community. Giving makes you visible, provides exposure, and inspires loyalty in return.
3. Turn your employees into your best ambassadors.
Giving employees coupons or freebies to give out can help expand your reach. Try applying the same tactic with already loyal customers. Chances are they’ll be happy to share their positive experience with friends and family.
4. Celebrate and turn their happy occasions into your happy occasions.
Capture the celebration market and you’ve captured repeat customers. Create a memorable experience by throwing in a few signature moves. Whether it’s $1.00 sundaes for all students on the first day of school, or a photo backdrop for anniversary couples to pose against, or sticking a few sparklers in a dessert for birthdays, do something special that will make customers think of you for their big (and little) occasions.
5. View allergies as an opportunity, not an inconvenience.
Scientists estimate that around 15 million Americans have food allergies. Imagine how inconvenient dining out can be with limitations. Now imagine how nice it would be to find a place that welcomes your special requests and adapts to dining restrictions. Becoming the safe haven for an allergic diner is a guarantee that the diner will return.
6. Provide consistency with a side of excitement.
Repeat customers want to know they can rely on their favorite dishes to appear on the menu. At the same time, you want to avoid lulling them into a dining rut. Daily specials and seasonal menu updates can provide an opportunity to deliver both consistency and excitement. Keep your top sellers 365 days out of the year but introduce new flavors and variety too.