Can you think back to the time when you were first dreaming up the idea of your restaurant business? Your own restaurant, regularly jam-packed with people and ever bursting with activity.
Yet very soon you realised that sustainable success is far from being easy to achieve.
In today’s economy, you want your business to thrive. You must make sure your restaurant is insanely attractive to people! Maybe your own entrepreneurial aspirations will not make you push the envelope. But your competition will. After all, you’re all scrambling for the same thing – customers.
Once they’ve set their foot in your restaurant for the first time, it’s time to start making a good first impression. New customers are good to win. But winning repeat customers is what’s going to make your restaurant flourish. They can exercise great influence as online ambassadors for your establishment. They’re worth their weight in gold.
Excellent food and perfect restaurant hygiene are the prerequisites for a prosperous restaurant business. Yet, unparalleled customer service is what will distinguish you from your competitors.
Want to turn your restaurant into a powerful customer magnet? We’ve got some expert advice from experienced restaurateurs and restaurant marketing experts that can help! Adopt some of these ideas and turn your age-old restaurant dream a reality.
1. Figure Out What Your Customers Want
Start by sorting out the underlying reasons why your customers keep returning to you. Business owners cannot make heads or tails of it because emotions are hard to understand. The majority of emotions that urge your customers to make their buying decisions work on a subconscious level.
Uncovering the hidden logic behind how your customers emotionally connect to your brand will bring you success. Because once you learn it, you can tap into these emotions and cater to your customers’ needs.
“Companies in financial services, retail, health care, and technology are now using a detailed understanding of emotional connection to attract and retain the most valuable customers. The most sophisticated firms are making emotional connection part of a broad strategy that involves every function in the value chain, from product development and marketing to sales and service.” – the Harvard Business Review
2. Provide Quick Restaurant Service
Slow service is the ultimate turn-off for your restaurant customers. If your restaurant is on the slow side, your customer base will reduce very quickly. Whereas, a quick service is what’s definitely going to earn your restaurant some bonus points.
“Improving operational efficiency in every part of your business. You cannot be price competitive and profitable without developing world-class operational efficiency… even in a small business.” – Donald Cooper
3. Get Past the Stigma of Solo Dining
Nobody likes a restaurant where they get weird looks if they enter the place on their own. So, make sure to treat your solo diners with care and make them feel welcome. This will entice them to make a return visit.
4. Provide a Great Wi-fi Connection
In the technologically driven world of today wi-fi becomes a must in restaurants. Your guests are not likely to abstain from using their gadgets while having a meal.
Having a strong wi-fi signal is going to help work-related communication for locals. But it will also assist your foreign visitors in getting around the city. It’s a convenient way for them to check maps and other info online.
5. Incentivize Your Customers to Return
Cultivating consistency in your kitchen lays the groundwork for your customer retention. Yet, offering freebie incentives will get your customers to commit to a long-term relationship with your restaurant . The Restaurant Times touts making small gestures like this is will make it happen.
- Tempting your customers to return by giving out cash vouchers which can be redeemed during later visits.
- Giving out free starters for second-time visitors.
6. Keep Track of Your Business Score
Get a regular peek at TripAdvisor and TheFork websites. Here you’ll get invaluable insight into both positive and negative customers’ feedback.
Your business score on these sites can be a great eye-opener. Here you can get info on what your customers really think about your place. And whether it’s a good value for money or they’ve got a feeling of being ripped off.
A reality check like this will help you determine if your prices match the quality of your offering.
7. Can They Get Some Satisfaction?
Conducting a satisfaction survey will help you spot your restaurant’s weaknesses. Navigating a business with an emphasis on continuous improvement is what’s going to keep it running.
Grading their dining experience will help you pinpoint any shortcomings and then smooth out the rough edges.
Make your surveys short and send them as part of your monthly email campaigns.
8. Collect Customer Feedback in a Leisurely Chat
How do you gain the most detailed insight into your customers’ satisfaction? In direct conversation. So, elicit some feedback in a friendly chat.
This will bring you a twofold advantage. You’ll gain your customers’ respect for being appreciative of their feelings and you’ll learn exactly where to improve.
Next, encourage them to leave an online review. Regular tracking of your online ratings will help you to improve drive footfall and turn newcomers into regulars.
9. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Eric Cacciatore of Restaurant Unstoppable advises restaurateurs to come up with a unique selling proposition. A USP is a unique individual quality that sets you apart from other businesses in your niche.
When determining your USP, think about who your target audience is, what appeals to your ideal customer and how will the customer be perceived by society when they align themselves with your restaurant’s brand?
A USP will help you build interest and curiosity, help you attract and retain customers and reduce client churn. It’s a way to make a name for yourself, based on relatable values that will get people connected to your brand.
10. Stand out to Attract Customers
You want to become a powerful customer magnet. But first you need to become visible in a competitive market. Having something unique to offer will do the trick. So, think about:
- Providing the best possible service
- Offering added value
- Specialising in regional or exotic cuisine
- Or picking an exciting theme for your restaurant
A great tip from Murray Wright is to spice things up with a signature item. It can be a unique dish, beverage, décor, service approach, uniforms or all these together.
Be famous for one thing that gets people so excited that they talk about it to their friends and recommend you, or if they see it being served in the restaurant they want to order it.
Be Dedicated to Your Customer Retention Goal
Attracting new customers and enticing them to return to your restaurant is no easy feat. It takes sweat, determination and hard work but the payoff is worth every effort.
Keep finding new strategies for improving your restaurant and you’ll keep your business in the black. Check out our 126 Expert Ideas For Your Restaurant Business Plan list post to really kick it up a notch.
To allow you to be a truly customer-centric business, consider outsourcing some services. Otherwise, they’ll drive you away from your top priority tasks. Partner up with Alsco, we can conveniently take care of much of your operational difficulties.
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