9 ways to keep guest coming back to your restaurant

With so many restaurants struggling to make ends meet, you need to improve your guest repeat percentage. That is the number of guest who return back to your restaurant every month. Or in other words your community

This number may be a critical difference between profit or loss in your business so make sure you target for as high a number as possible.

But how exactly do you do that? Here are 9 ways to keep guest coming back to your restaurant that you can try.

1.Make a good first impression

As soon as a guest walks in your restaurant door, you have few minutes before people decide if the restaurant is good for them. So you need to make it clear immediately on arrival.

If you brand is formal corporate lunch type of restaurant, a group of loud teenagers may not work for your establishment. Similarly, you may not want office discussions happening in a restaurant where you have toddlers and kids running around

Set up your restaurant to attract the right mix for your restaurant.

And once you have identified your niche, make a good first impression.

2. Ask people for their contact details

If you ever do one thing right, that would be to build a database. You may think that this is pretty obvious, but look closely at your restaurant and check if you have a database. I am amazed that even now, there are restaurant that do not do this.

Collect your customer details like phone number, and email address at minimum and then look at other important details like anniversary or birthdays.

Make collecting data your ultimate focus. Make it fun for your team members to also collect this so that they also form a connect with their regulars.

This will help you to communicate to your guest and keep them coming back.

3. Communicate regularly with guest in your database

Once you have built your database, the next thing to do is to use it to communicate regularly.

People are much likely to remember you if your restaurant is top of the mind for them. Send them wishes on their special days, update them of the upcoming events and promotions, send them loyalty offers.

Create challenges and encourage your guest to participate in it. Once they interact with you and your restaurant, they will feel a sense of belonging and will keep returning back.

4. Make your restaurant as inviting as possible

Staff the place with warm and friendly people. Organize sections so that your regulars get their favorite spots as soon as they arrive.

Have the restaurant manager or chef meet the regular guest so that there is a personal connection with team.

Remember the favorite dishes of your guest and do provide it to them.

Craft and create a special vibe for your restaurant that they can find only at your place.

5. Build anticipation and create food festivals

Humans crave the need to try something new. If you want to improve your repeat percentage and keep guest coming back to your restaurant, you will need to offer something new every now and then.

A good way to do that is to make a yearly calendar with food festival and menu change. Even if you do a quarterly food festival and a 3 menu change in a year, you will have 7 months where something new is on offer to guest.

That should keep your restaurant on top of the mind for your guest.

Before every food festival, increase your communication to guest on all channels – social media and offline. Inform in advance and create anticipation of the upcoming promotion.

6.Get review and Social proof

Before you get guest, many will read review on sites that post reviews. Get your regular guest to review your restaurant so that you get social proof. As they leave review about what is happening, there will be others who may be encouraged to do so as well.

Also leaving a positive review, helps to encourage a connection with your restaurant that the guest will carry for a while. This reinforcement of the positive experience will help guest make a choice in future and they may choose your restaurant.

7. Be as personal as possible on social channels

People love to go to a place where they get recognized. They also love restaurants with a personal connect. Try and make your restaurant about the people behind the scene as well as about the food and beverage you serve.

This will personalize your brand. Add a softer touch. On social channels that will give your much more acceptance and following and maybe few will come back to your restaurant.

8.Give guest an incentive to come back.

Who does not like a gift? Literally no one I know. If you know someone let me know. The same applies to the restaurant business. Build loyalty with an incentive to your repeat guest.

Bounce back voucher, happy hours, BOGO, 20% off on daily specials, are all incentive that you can entice your guest with.

Loyalty clubs also are an incentive where a strong sense of community brings people back. E.g salsa dancing, paint and sip.

By combining 2 options, create a community of guest who wait for every weekend to come back to your restaurant.

9.Segment your database and make customized offer

The last way to improve your guest repeat percentage is to make a customised offer. Not every guest is excited by the same offer. This is where your segments and data analysis helps.

Within your database have segments that can help you sell better. Some examples would be:

  • Loves wine
  • Usually comes alone
  • Entertains business clients

If you segment your guest based on what makes sense to your restaurant, you can create a custom offer. For the wine lover, every time you have a wine dinner, an invite will ensure they come back.

For a business client lunch, an quick executive lunch offer may work.

As you can see the chances of repeat visit increase as you segment and promote the right set of message to the correct audience.

In conclusion

Getting your guest to come back to your restaurant month after month will be critical to grow your business. By following these 9 way you can ensure your guest come back and you can in turn improve your profitability.

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