Customer loyalty is incredibly valuable to restaurants. Repeat visitors keep restaurants in business, but it’s also cheaper for restaurant owners to regain lost customers than it is to successfully acquire new ones. In fact, it can cost up to 25 times as much to target new consumers. The goal is to never lose a customer’s trust in the first place, but what is the best way for restaurant decision-makers to rekindle customer loyalty?
These customers have already shown interest in your restaurant, which is a big first step. Following these next few steps can help your restaurant get lost customers to return again and again:
1. Know what your customers are thinking, and fix any problems
Before customers have a chance to leave and never come back again, make sure your servers ask them about their meals and the overall service. It’s also a good idea to leave cards on the table for customers to fill out. Any feedback you receive should be taken seriously. Although you might receive positive feedback, angry patrons are more likely to make their voices heard. Addressing these problems is a great way to ensure customers come back, and it also builds trust.
Once these major issues are corrected, it could even be beneficial to market the changes. If customers hear that your restaurant addressed their complaints, they might come back to see for themselves.
2. Offer new deals and menu items to earn return visits
Another great way to win back customer loyalty is to switch up your offerings. Whether it’s a new menu (or even just a few new menu items), different promotions, or changes to the restaurant’s ambiance, switching things up can make a lasting impression.
Put some thought into your offerings before making these changes, however; it would be counterintuitive to get rid of popular items or deals. Find out which menu items are not selling well and put a new spin on them, or replace them with something else entirely. If a promotion or special isn’t bringing in the crowd you were hoping for, perhaps it’s time to consider something different.
3. Excel in hospitality
The best way to keep customers coming back to your restaurant is to offer them great food and amazing customer service. It’s not necessary to offer trendy items/ingredients, but it is an absolute must to ensure that the food you do offer is second to none. Hospitality goes hand-in-hand with the menu offerings. If customers love your food but are unhappy with the hospitality, they will likely find elsewhere to dine.
When customers do return to your restaurant, make the effort to get to know them and treat them like VIPs. People like to feel special and they enjoy being remembered. Knowing customers’ names, inviting them to join a promotional club that gives them discounts, and other occasional perks can go a long way.
Customer loyalty can be fickle. One bad meal or interaction could be enough for a customer to never come back. However, there is plenty that restaurants can do to rebuild trust or make sure trust is never lost in the first place.
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