Going out to lunch with family or meeting friends for dinner at a favorite restaurant is something that most people enjoy. But as restaurant owners know, profit margins in the restaurant industry can be low, so it is essential to turn a first-time customer into a regular customer. If you want to keep the bar and tables in your restaurant full, use the following tips to increase customer loyalty:
Use High-Quality Ingredients
In this day and age, customers expect a lot when they go out to eat. As the farm to table movement continues to grow, more and more people are interested in visiting restaurants that feature innovative cuisine that uses fresh, local ingredients. Consider looking at your menu and making changes where needed; instead of buying produce from a national distributor, consider sourcing from a local farm or farmers market. The same can be said for fresh meat and seafood.
Make Service the Main Priority
A restaurant can have excellent food, but if the service is lacking customers won't be eager to return. As a restaurant owner, make sure that your managers are working with the bar tenders, servers, and hosts to ensure that customers always receive top notch service. It is also important to review sales trends and staff accordingly-- customer service tends to drop dramatically when a restaurant is understaffed.
Create a Loyalty Program
One of the most efficient ways to bring customers back is through a loyalty program. There are a number of ways to create a loyalty program to work. For example, consider free meals on a customers birthday, a night where kids eat free with an adult, coupons for free appetizers with entree purchases, or a free meal after a certain number of visits. When you give customers an incentive to walk through the door, they usually will.
Support the Community
A great way to make a first-time customer into a loyal customer is by getting involved in the community. Consider holding fundraisers for schools or charities in your restaurant. You can also have local musicians play on some nights, and feature art work from local artists on your wall. More and more people are choosing to spend their money at locally owned restaurants, so getting involved in your community can help continually put customers in the seats.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a great way for your restaurant to connect with customers. Make sure that your restaurant has a business page on all of the major social media platforms, and update them regularly. Use your restaurant's social media pages to let your customers know about menu specials, deals, and upcoming events.
Contact a restaurant like Melting Pot Pizza for more information and assistance.