It is no secret that repeat customers make up a large portion of a restaurant’s revenue. In fact, most restaurants report 50% or more of their overall revenue is attributed to repeat customers. But repeat customers aren’t just a big piece of the financial pie, they are also one of your best referral sources. So, if you are not cultivating and growing this customer group in your restaurant marketing strategy you are making a big mistake.
So how does restaurant marketing get more repeat customers for your restaurant?
An effective restaurant marketing strategy allows you to continually stay in front of your customers. As any marketing novice or expert will tell you, staying in front of a customer is the best way to drive their decisions.
Six tips for gaining more repeat restaurant customers
1 – Make a Great First Impression
The first step for any restaurant is to produce a GREAT product and excellent service. A positive first experience is critical in getting a customer to come back to your restaurant. That happy first time customer can become your advocate and continual referral source.
2 – Get that Email Address
Email marketing is the most efficient marketing medium for any business, but it is hard to directly market to your customers if you don’t get their email address. There are many ways that you can obtain the email address, website, mobile app, and the old fish-bowl at the host stand.
However, an often overlooked method is through your public wireless access point. Using a secure access point with a Wifi login screen is a great unobtrusive way to obtain both a customer’s email address and consent for future email communications (promotions, events, new menu items ). There are several service providers out there, our local favorite is dragnfly as they provide fully managed secure wifi with built-in marketing features for an affordable price.
3 – Use that Email Address!
Now that you have obtained an email address, you need to USE it. Many restaurants let their email signup become just a black hole of email addresses because they don’t make use of them. Don’t let your customer emails just sit in a database somewhere, start marketing to them!
- Send a sign up thank you email with a promotion
- Set up a timed and automated email campaign with unique offers in each email
- Let your customers know about – new menu items, happy hour deals, special events
- Send a comeback to see us again email
- If you are collecting emails from a qualified Wifi access point like dragnfly’s you can tell if they haven’t visited in a while and trigger an email, inviting them to come dine with you again.
4 – Implement a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs can have a great impact on getting more repeat restaurant customers. From low tech punch cards to higher-tech POS and wifi tracking, your loyalty program should track repeat restaurant customers and provide incentive for them to come back and see you frequently. A good loyalty program can also provide extra incentive for the customer to sign-up for email updates and gives you more insight into how often customers visit and what they like or even don’t like.
5 – Reputation Management Program and Diner Compensation
Let’s face it, every restaurant will have an unsatisfied customer from time-to-time, and when it happens that customer’s experience can be way more public than you would like. With today’s connectivity through social media and review services, it is important that you have a plan in place to monitor and react to the bad experiences when they happen. Provide condolences on their experience, invite the customer to speak directly, offer a comped meal to get them back in for the great experience you know you can deliver. You can’t stop a customer’s negative experience from showing up on social media, but showing concern, and interest in your customer’s happiness will help mitigate the damage and make the best use of the negative publicity.
6 – Utilize Social Media
Social media accounts are vital to growing your restaurant’s business, with Instagram and Facebook being the must-have platforms for showcasing your food, atmosphere and customer experiences. Having your social media accounts setup is not enough for your restaurant marketing strategy though. You have to post regularly and engage on social media to make it work for you. Engaging on social media consists of creating content, responding to followers, contributing to trending conversations, utilizing user generated content, and promoting your brand and messaging through strategic use of hashtags. Check out our article 6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Restaurant’s Social Media for more details and tips on managing your restaurant’s social media.
So there you have it, six different ways that you can increase your repeat customers through restaurant marketing. Is your restaurant using marketing strategies that you don’t see here? We would love to hear about it.