8 Ways Restaurants Can Increase Customer Loyalty

Restaurant Management Tips

Loyal patronage is the golden goose for any restaurant, bar, or food service operator. Regulars keep your business open, spread the word, and bring in a reliable amount of sales every month. It would be a savvy move to grow your number of regulars, and because of the wide variety of tech options now on the market, there are several new and exciting ways of increasing customer loyalty. See our eight suggestions below! 

Have a Restaurant Loyalty App 

A loyalty program is one of the most successful sales tactics restaurants can engage in to increase repeat patronage and profitability. The most successful type of loyalty program can:

  1. Increase the frequency of visits from your regular customers.
  2. Incentivize new customers to choose your restaurant. 
  3. Increase your average transaction price. 
  4. Provoke dynamic engagement with your customers that makes them want to talk about their experience. 

To truly optimize their programs, restaurants are throwing out paper punch cards in favor of a mobile app. By improving the customer experience and accomplishing these four points, restaurants are achieving greater success with a restaurant loyalty app.

Know What Your Customers Are Thinking

Do you want to know what customers really think about your restaurant? Why they choose one dish over the other? One of the best parts of new restaurant tech is that you can solve any query you have. To get inside your customers’ heads, there is Yumpingo

Used by TGI Friday’s, Benihana, and Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, it’s designed to bridge the gap between customer and company. Yumpingo is restaurant intelligence technology that captures the thoughts of customers and mixes them into a sophisticated algorithm to “produce insights that transform restaurants, improve experiences and grow sales.” 

Put simply, you can use thousands of customer reviews to boost your decision-making skills for all areas (for example, when to reduce prices on starters, open later hours, or remove certain menu choices). If you have multiple locations or want to grow your business, this tech is useful in showing you how to optimize the elements that customers love. 

Offer Promotions

There’s hard evidence that restaurant promotions work. Customers respond to discounts with excitement and enthusiasm. According to this study, the human psychology plays a massive role.  The experiment surveyed two groups: the first received promotions and the control group did not. The group receiving promotions experienced a spike in oxytocin, the brain chemical that’s related to love, happiness and stress relief, and showed other astounding effects:

  • 38% increase in oxytocin
  • 32% decrease in respiration
  • 11% increase in overall happiness
  • 5% increase in heart rate

While we can’t go so far in saying that promotions are life changing, evidence shows that they make people happy, literally. 

Have Intelligent Relationships with Guests

For dine-in restaurants that accept reservations, this might be an interesting avenue to consider. Venga is a guest management platform that gets you closer to your customers:

  • You can send post-dining surveys and gather feedback from review sites.
  • Offer guest profiles to keep track of dining preferences of return customers or be notified of a first timer. 
  • Prepare your FOH staff with pre-shift reports on their tables so they can deliver a personal touch. 
  • Target the right demographics for social media or email campaigns and track the ROI. 

If you want to nurture your guests’ experiences, Venga is an option.

Treat Customers Like They are Special 

Customers want to see consistency and they want to be treated very well. Good customer service matters. If you see that some of your FOH staff are lacking in hospitality skills, take time out to train them because poor service is the fastest way to lose business. 

Sell Egift Cards 

Gift cards are an excellent way of bringing customers back and attracting fresh faces—up to 41% more. Plus, roughly 90% of gift card recipients redeem theirs within the first 60 days. There are more reasons why restaurants should be offering gift cards, but the latest is in the form of electronic gift cards. Also known as “egift cards,” they’re an attractive sales opportunity to optimize at your restaurant. 

Egift cards are easy for restaurants to integrate and even easier for customers to purchase. A leader among the egift card companies, Its on Me, has a PCI-compliant and POS-integrated platform that lets restaurants set up and sell them on their websites within 48 hours. Many of your customers (especially millennials) will appreciate the ease of ordering a gift card online and sending it to a loved one through their phones. 

Be Engaging on Instagram 

Social networks are influencing 74% of shoppers for their purchasing decisions. With photo sharing, geo-tagging, and reviews from credible influencers, restaurants are also affected by social media’s sway. For that reason, it’s important to engage on Instagram. Neighborhood favorites or dining mainstays tend to be the exceptions; even some “speakeasies” find a need in having an Instagram page.

There are several ways to stand-out on social media. On Instagram, you’ll want to make sure that your account shows off your brand’s true nature in the most attractive light possible. Additionally, consistent posting, encouraging geo-tagging, and having a witty hashtag go a long way in convincing customers to return to your business, and at the same time, attract new guests. 

Streamline the Ordering Process with Restaurant Management Software

Customers notice when a restaurant has its act together, and smooth operations are likelier to make a customer loyal than any marketing initiative. That’s why more and more restaurants have thrown out their legacy systems in favor of cloud-based restaurant management software. It’s proven to streamline the ordering process and remove the headache-inducing miscommunications. 

Servers can make special order adjustments, orders are sent to the kitchen immediately, and payments can be processed fast (even at the table). Restaurant point of sale systems are the brains behind most restaurants nowadays. If you haven’t already, update to a restaurant POS.

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