Customers who come in once are great. Customers who come in twice are amazing. But customers who keep coming back are worth everything. A repeating customer is going to spend up to 67% more than a new customer! So yeah, you need to build a solid and regular customer base in order to become successful. And luckily, it can be done quite simply.
1) Offer rewards
Most of us like free stuff. So, one way to invite your guests back into your restaurant is to offer them a free item. Use a reward system including a card that you can punch each time they buy a coffee, a sandwich or a dessert. The point being that a “buy 9, get the 10th for free” is a clever way of letting your customers think they get something for nothing when in fact the cost of you giving them the last item “for free” is peanuts compared to what they have already spent in your restaurant. But that’s not important – a reward will make them feel valued and that will make them come back.
2) Ask for their opinion
Another way of making your customers feel appreciated is by asking them about their opinion. “What did you think of the steak – it was from our local butcher’s?”, “Which of the dessert did you like best?”, “What do you think of our new chairs – are they comfortable?”, “Was the service OK tonight? Anything you need us to do differently?” Your guests will feel like they have contributed to your restaurant, and when they feel they have a special connection to a place, they will return to it.
3) Use locally produced food – and tell them!
Your local customers love eating food coming from the community. Perhaps it gives them a feeling of supporting and contributing to the local labor market or perhaps they trust the ingredients more when they know where the cow was living and the carrots were growing before coming to your kitchen. Using locally produced ingredients will give you a great reputation and customers will come back to support the good cause.
A good way of letting your customers know that you only use meat from the local butcher’s is to simply tell them: “Today’s special is a juicy steak bought from Dean’s butcher shop right around the corner” or “The ice cream is home-made, based on milk from Henry and Daisy’s farm”. And, naturally, you can write it on the menu. Get some great tips on how to just that right here.
4) Be present on social media platforms
Marketing on social media platforms is (mostly) free and it’s a great way to create a relationship between you and your customers. On Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you can inform your customers about up-coming events, discounts, dinner deals, and you can share pictures from the restaurant – both behind the scenes and in action. By being present online, your customers can get to know you and your restaurant and are therefore much more likely to come back.