Eating is a basic, everyday lifestyle of every human being except for those fasting and praying. So, it's not surprising that restaurants seem to be coming up here and there. Now that population keeps increasing; the number of restaurants is increasing. The interest for food along with customer relation and satisfaction is gaining attention from the restaurant managers and consultants as more people are now going into the business.
While you are working on the strategies of attracting new customers, it is essential to develop a strong relationship with regular customers. There is no guarantee that serving excellent and appealing food will always attract or keep clients coming. Customer loyalty depends on your marketing efforts and customer service. You will need to do some promotion regularly to attract more clients to your restaurant.
The importance of customer loyalty to those in the restaurant industry cannot be overemphasized because it leads to consistency patronage. What makes the difference is the competitive advantage applied by restaurant owners and managers to understand the decision-making pattern of customers. The strategy now has shifted, keeping existing clients. The behavioral patterns, criteria, and attributes consumers use to select some particular restaurant to transact with are also based on some selected benefits.
Building a customer relationship takes consistency, following- up with clients. We are in the digital age now. So, it is easier to get connected to customers on social media, email marketing, bulk SMS, and personal messaging. The more your customers have access to contacting you, the more relationship established, and this will lead to loyal consumers. You have to get intimate with them, know them by name, routine, eating habits, favorite spots, and so on. Get genuinely interested in them and give nutritional tips that suggest a better eating lifestyle (value addition). If it is possible, assign a particular person to handle this for a better customer service delivery.
You have to be aware that no matter what strategies you put in place, everyone out there cannot be your loyal customers. Pay more attention to targeting the right customers. Once you can correctly figure out targeting, it's easier attracting and retaining customers. How do you then know the right customers to target and spend more time with? There are some tools (answerthepublic.com, quora.com, etc.) where you can search for what your customers are asking and doing online.
There are so many brick and mortar restaurants out there; they existed for a year but are yet to be online. Don't let your business be limited to offline activities. By going digital, your business can connect to the right consumers, and you can build a personal relationship with them. Have a website, be active, and make followers on the social web (Instagram, twitter, facebook, etc.). You are not expected to be active on all social media platforms but choose the one that best suits your restaurant business. Publish and educate your audience regularly because there is no better way to build engagement and followers than to publish your recipes.
More than 56% of consumers have expressed their feelings on how technology, creativity, and innovation are part of branding for restaurant companies. So, clients are turned-off seeing your business as out-of-touch or old-fashioned.
If all you tell your customers is to buy, buy and buy, that won't push your business. There are some benefits you're expected to give out to your clients to keep them coming over and over. Examples are offering free appetizers and gifts (cup, shirt, jotter, pen, cap, etc.), organize special occasions, offering coupon codes, and so on.
You can encourage your customers by using rewards programs. Educate your customers on eating habits, healthy lifestyle, the ingredients and equipment used to prepare meals. Make sure your servers are going the extra mile to share the content in food preparation and how the chef prepares dishes/recipes.
Organize events to support loyal clients giving them free meals. On the individual sessions, you could reduce pricing on some products; we all know it's more expensive to lose a customer compare to losing some revenues. Events create a conducive environment for customers to know you and vice versa. Rewards and thank you messages, awards in cash and kind; it will be all fun, you know.
It could even be called "Health Day," where people come to do a medical checkup. A lot of consumers believe that organizing events and meetings to celebrate or educate them is a way restaurants give back to the communities. On such days, it's effortless to ask for recommendations and reviews.
All these are part of the strategies for having a loyal and trusted customers for your restaurant. They will be glad to recommend you to other people and always come back.
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