Consider these 2 statistics:
- More than 70% of customers visit a restaurant once and never go back
- 82% of companies agree that retention is cheaper than acquisition
As new customers are often harder to attract, it makes logical sense to concentrate on building loyalty with those customers who have already visited your café or restaurant.
So how are you going to create loyalty – well, here are some top tips, some totally simple, some a little more time consuming to help you get there.
Be friendly. Smile. Train your staff to smile and it will pay off ten-fold.
Allow for Walk-ins
Try to accommodate last minute guests in some capacity. Either leave some tables open for walk-ins, or if you really prefer reservations, consider at least having a bar or a few communal tables so you don’t have to turn away all those without a booking.
Give away Freebies
Be generous. Customers love freebies, however small – whether it is free sparkling water, a basket of bread or a bowl of chips – freebies make customers feel special.
Create a Loyalty Program
Want to turn casual customers into regulars? Then consider a loyalty program & reward your customers for spending money. Plus what is more – research shows Australians love loyalty programs!
According to Loyalogy, 73% of restaurant customers would recommend a business more frequently if it had an appealing rewards program.
Here are some examples to consider:
- Give unlimited coffee for a set fee per month
- Offer points for each dollar spent and get a free menu item with every 150 points
- Earn $25 for every $250 spent.
Communicate with your customers
Don’t stop after enrolling your customers into your loyalty program – communicate with them. Use the information they give you and offer them special birthday promotions, alert them to happy hours and events and most importantly, ask them what they want.
Respond Kindly & with Tact to Online Complaints
Bad restaurant reviews can go viral to the detriment of your business. Don’t allow reviews to make their way through the internet, instead be kind and tactfully address any issues on Google Reviews, Yelp or TripAdvisor with a clear apology.
As a cafe or restaurant you need your customers. Incorporate some of these tips into your business strategy and you should benefit from devoted customers bringing consistency in both periods of growth and tough times.