Every business has a personality, and how you develop and grow this personality, influences customer loyalty. To develop a brand personality, you need to focus on the food, the experience, and how your staff interacts with customers.
A steady flow of loyal customers composes the backbone of a reputable and successful restaurant. This customer base is a reliable income source that spends more and tips more than the average new customer. Not only this, but these loyal customers have the potential to become brand ambassadors for your establishment, sharing and promoting your restaurant because they have a real passion for your business.
Attracting new customers to your restaurant won't be easy, and could be expensive. If you take a strategic approach to impress and please your loyal customers, you will find you spending less growing your customer base, as these loyal customers will do a large portion of the work for you. If you are a new restaurant or struggling because of the pandemic, building this loyal customer base is not something that will come overnight.
You need to foster an environment that focuses on your target audience's needs and wants. Whether you are a casual beer hall attracting groups for multiple rounds and pub grub or a fine-dining Spanish restaurant, the techniques outlined below will help you to build this customer loyalty, and better yet, keep it.
Return To Your Restaurant's Roots
What was your main goal when establishing your restaurant? Did you take a passion for cooking and hosting and turn it into your dream job? Or was it passed down to you from a family member? When building a loyal customer base, get back to the basics. Provide customers with an incomparable experience, while keeping in mind new customer trends.
Start With The Food
Customers return to restaurants that provide quality dishes every time, provide freshness, and offer dishes they can't make at home. Start building your menu with creativity and farm-fresh ingredients in mind.
Stay up to date with trends. The demands of the food and beverage industry are changing every day. Offer customer features like mobile payment, online ordering, and virtual menus. Also, make sure your chefs continuously elevate their menu items, whether that means providing seasonal dishes or trending ingredients.
Keep It Clean
A clean restaurant space is critical to keeping your loyal customers happy, especially during and following a pandemic. Customers are more likely to return to a restaurant if they can see the work done to keep them safe and satisfied. Similarly, it is evident when you don't make this effort, which will affect how they review your restaurant.
Celebrate Your Specialty
What is your restaurant's specialty? Is it fine dining, reasonable prices, or locally grown produce? Whatever it is, celebrate this specialty and determine your Unique Selling Proposition, what sets your business apart from the rest.
Once you know and own your specialty, you can adapt your business model and target a customer base that aligns with your specialty. You can further this concept by creating a cohesive theme throughout your space using interior design and online via social media platforms and other marketing initiatives.
A restaurant with expertise and focus will impress customers and attract loyal customers that share the same values as your establishment.
Modernize Your Incentive Programs
It’s important that you design a loyalty program which specifically fits your customer base. For example, a family restaurant may utilize a point system featuring interactive games for children. A vegan restaurant could adopt a unique social media challenge, where rewards are given to restaurant followers who post unique vegan dishes using specific ingredients specified in the challenge.
Consumers want to be a part of the culture, so promoting reward programs online through social media or email blasts can help incentivize customers to stay loyal to your brand.
Establish Yourself In The Community
Partnering with other local establishments like farms, restaurants, marketing firms, and shops can help you create a solid foundation in your community. From buying local and promoting sustainable farming to working with charitable foundations to raise awareness about important causes, these steps will go a long way in firming up your loyal customer base.
Quality food, a clean environment, and celebrating restaurant specialties are great places to start building your loyal customer base. Going a step further and establishing engaging incentive programs for customers allows them to participate with your brand outside the dining room. These programs will keep you on their mind making them more likely to promote your business because they genuinely love what you're offering.
Don’t wait to implement these techniques. As vaccines begin to roll-out, more consumers will want a change from their TV dinners. Start building your reputation and a customer base by enhancing your customer experience and restaurant business model.
The TipHaus Team
TipHaus is an automated tip distribution software for the service industry. Restaurants and breweries across the nation use TipHaus to save managers time, money and headaches. Interested to learn how much you can benefit from automating your restaurant’s payroll?