Loyalty is the corner stone of a successful restaurant. Having worked in the restaurant industry for more than 21 years, I have tried all sort of things to help my restaurant succeed.
Sometimes it worked and sometimes the results were disastrous.
But over the years, I have distilled some of the ways to improve a restaurants ability to survive. It all boils down to guest loyalty in your restaurant and repeat visit.
In this post today we will explore ways to improve guest loyalty in your restaurant
Engage with your existing guest and find out why they visit your restaurant.
If your restaurant has guest, talk to them and find out why they come to your restaurant. You may have access to data and you will know all about the metrics that you need to manage.
However by talking to your guest, you increase the chances of understanding why they come to your restaurant. Do they have a favorite dish, or is it nostalgia that brings them back.
In this day and age where we collect reviews and comments, we are sitting on a database. Pick it up, and call the guest to find out more.
Segment your guest based on the reviews you receive and try to personalize some promotion or other element of the restaurant to take care of them.
Create menus that your guest are asking you for.
An easy way to do this is to introduce daily specials or food promotions. As you try out various dishes, you will realize what is popular with the guest. Use this information to create the menu for the next time.
I personally learnt the importance of creating and retaining dishes that guest find popular in the restaurant. In a restaurant that I used to work in, after a menu change, we saw a group of patrons stopped visiting.
On enquiry, we found that we removed the few dishes they used to visit the restaurant for. Lesson learnt.
Create menu that your guest wish to see to improve guest loyalty in your restaurant
Create a community feel to suit your guest
Your restaurant should have a unique vibe about it. You and your team will create the vibe, but appoint someone as an unofficial community manager. Someone responsible for ensuring that your guest have a face that they can relate to in the restaurant and feel a personal connect.
People tend to go to restaurants where they are recognized and respected, can show off to their friends and family about the importance they get. Give them the importance they deserve so that they will feel part of your restaurant and keep coming back
Create a sense of a strong community and keep your guest engaged.
Reward your loyal guests
Every one loves rewards. From discounts to other incentives, if you recognize and reward your loyal guest, they will come back to you time and again.
You can even offer rewards to your most loyal guest on social media for sharing your posts. These folks may not be coming in to your restaurant often, but may be influencing your restaurant walkin.
Rewards need not be expensive, however if it is thoughtful then it can reap immense benefit.
Make a grid based on certain criteria : 1st visit or 5th, Anniversary, Birthdays etc and decide on what you will do. Do not do a generic birthday cake, though people do decide to go to restaurant that give them a free cake.
Some thoughtful rewards may be a bounce back coupon for the next visit, a bottle of homemade pickle or even a loaf of special bread that you make. What ever it is, package it well to ensure that the person understands that they are being rewarded for their loyalty
Create food promotions
Food promotions have an evergreen quality about them. They tend to attract guest looking for something out of the ordinary. That said, food promotions are looking more run of the mill.
Break out of the ordinary, collaborate with some one else to run your promotions. Invite a visiting chef or home cook and promote their local expertise. One restaurant that immediately comes to mind doing this effectively is The Bombay Canteen
Your guest are looking for an experience. Provide them one that they will talk about to their friends.
I hope that the post have given you some thoughts on how to improve guest loyalty in your restaurant.
Are you trying any of these in your restaurant and seeing results. Let us know in the comment box below
And if you are interested in training your team, do check out our training plans for hotels