Bringing customers into a restaurant can be achieved through quality marketing and offering a unique experience to a specific demographic. However, building a loyal customer base and retaining them is difficult. Even if you’ve considered customer retention in your business planning, you may be falling short because there are areas you haven’t yet considered or aren’t aware of. Throughout this article, we shine a light on eight methods to help your restaurant retain customers.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a massive asset to customer retention. A CRM is designed to organize, monitor, and track customer information, including preferences, purchasing history, and contact details. You can harness data to inform how your brand interacts with customers with access to this information. For example, you can make informed decisions instead when you’re planning to release new menu items.
Data collection and informed decisions are only one benefit of CRM software. For example, when you need to contact customers, your CRM will keep your appointments. Also, when you’ve been leaving certain customers in the dark, your CRM will remind you to reach out to them. By interacting more effectively with your customers, you will stand a better chance of retaining them.
Install Digital Signage
Digital signage is a fantastic tool to utilize for customer retention. Digital signage can inform customers on menu items, entertain people in queues, and direct customers on a journey. When you use digital signage for entertainment purposes, you will reduce perceived wait time in your restaurant, which will increase retention. In addition, placing menu information on digital signs means that your servers don’t need to repeat themselves to every customer, which means they can focus on offering excellent service that will bring back customers.
One of the most significant benefits of digital signage is that you don’t need to update the information manually. Instead, you will work from software, which will allow you to upload changes remotely. As well as utilizing cloud technology, the digital signage software will let you schedule uploads, which frees you up to focus on other areas of your business.
An Effective Restaurant Waitlist App
Walk-in customers and those with reservations often face lengthy queues, which leads to customers walking away and likely not returning. Next to poor customer service, long wait times are a primary factor of potential revenue loss. Wait times are often unavoidable, but frustration starts to happen when there is no communication between a restaurant and a customer.
By using a high-quality restaurant waitlist app, customers can easily be updated. Yelp for Restaurants has a list of recommended restaurant waitlist app options, and they also provide waitlist software themselves. A waitlist app will collect customer names, offer estimated wait times, and call customers to their table. Thanks to this great solution, customers can leave the restaurant premises without needing to worry about losing their spot; getting on with their day will reduce friction and improve retention.
Use Self-Service Kiosks
Self-service kiosks are increasing in popularity, especially within the fast-food industry. Electronic ordering points allow restaurants to serve more customers and reduce friction at the till. When customers can take out human interaction, those with anxiety issues or those worried about miss pronouncing words are made to feel more comfortable. In a study on social transactions, it was found that sales of difficult-to-pronounce products increased by 8.4%. By offering self-service kiosks, restaurants can tap into social groups that may have felt pushed out before; they will come back for more if customers feel comfortable.
Get On Social Media Platforms
Making customers feel valued personally is a great way to boost retention rates. You can easily do this by using multiple social media platforms and talking to customers. When you’re on social media, customers will easily find your restaurant and send you direct messages when they have burning questions; you should be proactive in your response to customers so that you don’t lose them. In addition, you should analyze your social media channels and work out who your loyal customers are; send customers thankyou messages and special offers to make them feel the love.
Introduce Special Offers
Many restaurants introduce special offers for new customers or blanket offers for everyone. Although these strategies bring in custom, they can leave loyal customers undervalued. When you’re launching offers, consider practical ways to incorporate existing consumers. Incentivizing your loyal fanbase is a great way to improve your retention rate.
Gain Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is a tried and tested method of improving retention rate. Whether positive or negative feedback, you can use it to improve service and persuade customers to return. Although review sites can be a great starting point for feedback, you should remember that most people go on them to complain. So instead, you should create surveys and send them out to your email lists. Also, offer an incentive to increase uptake. Finally, make sure that when you’ve finished gathering customer feedback, you use it to inform positive changes to your restaurants. Customers like being listened to, and when they can actively see their issues being dealt with, they will likely return to your restaurant.
Create a Loyalty System
Existing customers love to feel special, so create a loyalty scheme to keep them returning. According to studies, offering a loyalty program can boost individual customer retention rates by 30%. There are many ways to reward your customers, including threshold-free meals, discount vouchers, and new customer referral treats. If it weren’t for customers, your restaurant wouldn’t exist, so give a little back and show them that they’re valued.
Bringing in new customers to a restaurant is tricky, but retaining them is much more difficult. Offering excellent service and showing customers value is the easiest way to make sure they return. You can improve customer retention by introducing the above strategies into your restaurant operations. Then, remember to factor in your existing customers when you next have a business planning session.