5 Tips on Building Customer Loyalty in Your Restaurant

Take a second and think about your favorite coffee shop, the one you go out of your way to visit every chance you get – what is it about this place that keeps you coming back? There is a certain point in every customer related experience, whether conscious or not, in which they decide if that place is worthy of their return. The opportunity of connecting with that customer and winning their loyalty has proven to be a pretty tough fight. Luckily, there are some things you can do to sway the odds in your favor to keep ‘em coming back.

Here are five tips on how to create customer loyalty in your restaurant:

Create a strong brand and atmosphere

To build a strong customer base, it’s necessary to first set the foundation for a strong business. By creating a unique and customer-oriented space and brand, you are setting the stage for both customer satisfaction and loyalty. The importance of branding within a restaurant is priceless, as it sets the tone of the space – creating an atmosphere that can ultimately make or break a business. After creating a solid space that sets your restaurant apart, you must choose a team that embodies your brand and makes each customer’s experience both pleasant and memorable. Choosing employees that bring your brand to life is what truly resonates with your clientele, and is crucial in building trust with your customers. After all, who wants to come back to a place with inconsistent service? Unless your food is absolutely out of this world – not many.

Show your expertise

Don’t just talk the talk. You need something that will stick with your customers, making them leave with smiles on their faces and their next visit already planned. Whether you have the best burgers in town, a great vibe, or customer service that will knock their socks off – be sure to highlight whatever it is that sets you apart. Be a step above other competitors by making your brand mean something more to your customers. However – be careful, as this step also places a lot of stress on the foundation in which your business is run. In order to be completely consistent in your area of expertise, you must minimize room for error in others. To do this, you must rely on a solid system to ensure your business runs smoothly and nothing overshadows your point of sale. One way to avoid any mishaps in this realm is simplification. Using a simple and easy form of communication and the Aloha POS system (LINK***) will give you the opportunity to avoid the oh-so-common restaurant mishaps that can come up and overshadow your company’s goals. Without having to worry about table mixups and wrong orders, you and your crew will be able to focus energy on your restaurant’s expertise, further building customer loyalty through trust, consistency, and most importantly, top-notch satisfaction.

Allow your customers to have a voice and listen to them

If you feel you are successfully fulfilling the last two steps, yet are not receiving results, it’s time to rethink strategy. One huge mistake restaurant owners and managers make is believing their approach is the best and shouldn’t be touched. If that’s you, sorry to break it to ya…  but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, there is always room for improvement, and who better to hear it from then your customers themselves?! In order to keep your friends smiling and coming back, it is crucial you give them the opportunity to give feedback. The Aloha POS is the perfect outlet for customers to quickly respond with their experiences right from their tables. Whether the review of their experience is positive or negative, it will give you new perspectives on the way you are running your business, highlighting areas that hold room for improvement. Even better, your customers will feel as if they have a voice – giving them a reason to come back and experience everything over and over again.

With that said, there is nothing quite as frustrating than taking the time to give meaningful feedback, only to be left feeling ignored. If you are going to be offering your customers this outlet, it wouldn’t make sense not to use it to your advantage. By making the changes your customers see most fitting, you are not only showing that their input is important to you and improving customer loyalty, but you are also improving your business – leading to even more happy customers.

Build relationships

Engaging with your clientele on every possible level is important when trying to build strong customer loyalty. With the Aloha POS solution, you are able to connect and communicate with your customers in new ways, making them feel as if they were part of the team! Through a customizable rewards system, you are able to highlight your appreciation by offering customers discounts and vouchers to use during their next visit. Incentives are a great way to get repeat customers and build relationships. Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love free stuff?! Offering people a positive experience and a reason to come back again and again will build the relationship you want to achieve! Another way to build relationships is to truly get to know your customers and further target their business. Use the Aloha POS solution to view the interests and habits of your customers, and use social media to connect with them on a more personal level.

Drive repeat business

This last step can potentially be the most difficult to fulfill, considering that the choice of returning is ultimately in the customer’s hands. However, there are things you can do that will help convince your customers to return again and again. By completing the steps above, you will have hopefully won the customer over, but why not take it a step further? One possible way you can gain customer loyalty through their return is to further provide incentives beyond rewards points. One of the most tried and true ways of doing this is through your restaurant’s gift cards. By using the Aloha POS solution, you are able to quickly and easily insert payments onto gift cards for gifts, raffles, or personal use, in which customers or their friends will more than likely return to redeem. By offering such a simple form of payment that has no expiration, you are incentivizing their return with little hassle. You can also provide bonuses to customers through email marketing, in which you are able to send newsletters filled with future promotions or birthday gifts that will hopefully get them to return.

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