Running a restaurant is no easy feat — but you knew this already. One of the things that restaurants often struggle with is how to get more customers. But it’s not just about trying to get more customers, it’s about finding customers that will come back.
Here’s the thing, wouldn’t you rather have 10 new customers that will come back over and over instead of 20 new customers that will never come back again?
Repeat customers are much more valuable, which is why you should have specific strategies to attract repeat customers. However, saying this is easier than doing it and between front of house and back of house operations, and all of the other things you have going on, you may not always have the time to brainstorm new ideas.
Fortunately, we can help you implement a strategy to get new customers that will provide your restaurant with repeat business. The following are five tips that will help you do just that!
5 ideas to get new customers who will come back again & again!
- Create a buyer persona.
One of the biggest mistakes restaurants make is to try and appeal to everyone. But if you’re a burger joint, would you advertise to vegetarians? Of course not (unless you have veggie options that are truly outstanding)! This is why you should figure out exactly who your audience is, or you’ll end up wasting resources on reaching customers who will probably never return.
How do you do this? Create a buyer persona.
A buyer persona represents your ideal customer. You can use your buyer persona to help target your marketing efforts more effectively. Things you’ll want to consider: What do your current repeat customers have in common? Age? Gender? Workplace? Household income? Create a persona and give it a name and a face so you can create your campaigns for a person and not a set of data points.
- Establish a loyalty program.
A loyalty program, such as a stamp card in which customers are rewarded for coming into your restaurant a certain number of times with a free drink or meal, provides an incentive for customers to keep coming back. Is there someone in your organization skeptical about taking the loyalty leap? Here are some stats that might change their mind:
51% of US retailers plan to offer loyalty programs to consumers this year to positively affect their sales growth. (RetailMeNot)
37% more money is what consumers spend with brands when they are a loyalty card member. (Bond)
75% of consumers say they favor companies that offer rewards. (Virtual Incentives)
66.3% of Millennials say that they’re more likely to go to a business where they’re a part of a loyalty program.
66% of consumers will spend more at a location if it maximizes their rewards program points vs. a business where they are not loyalty members.
If you want to go mobile there are several platforms you can utilize for customers to check in via mobile and accumulate points towards in-store discounts and other special deals, like Belly or Fivestars.
AND, as an added bonus? Information gathered from your rewards program customers can help you learn more about the type of people who are more likely to come to your restaurant again and again.
Side note: If you’re in the UK or targeting customers in the UK, just make sure your programs are all transparent about how they’ll use data or GDPR penalties could come a-knockin’.
- Use social media.
This may seem like a duh, but you might be surprised how few restaurants really capitalize on the community that social media platforms can offer. Social media can be leveraged in a number of different ways.
For example: Customers can leave reviews of your restaurant that their followers will see, which can help increase brand exposure. You can also use social media to post about upcoming events, special promotions, and much more. When existing customers who are following you engage with your content, their social circles are more likely to see that content.
Additionally, social media can be used for PR by addressing questions, concerns or complains, thereby helping improve your reputation.
Pssst…We have an article we recently published about the pros of social—don’t forget to check it out.
- Send out newsletters.
Newsletters can help you keep your restaurant in the mind of your customers and allows you to share information that they might find helpful. You could use your newsletters to send out coupons on meals or to inform customers about special events you’re holding at your restaurant, all of which can convince them to come back.
According to this Buzztime article, an added bonus of an email newsletter campaign could mean a return of $44 for every $1 you invest in your email newsletter efforts.
Not bad, right?
- Invest in search and display ads.
Running traditional ads, such as on TV or in newspapers, can be pricey. It’s also difficult to tell whether the money you’ve invested in those ads actually results in a satisfactory return on investment. However, search and display ads work a little differently.For example, PPC (pay per click) ads allow you run ads targeting specific search terms, locations, and keywords (re: “Mexican restaurants near me” or “Best Mexican restaurant in Austin”).
You can decide how much you’ll be willing to pay for each click (which means you’ll compete against other bids for that same keyword), but you’ll only pay for the ad if it’s clicked on. If you do your research and identify strong keyword phrases that are being used by your audience, this can be an extremely effective way to attract new customers.
Certain social channels, such as Facebook, also offer ad services that allow you to target specific demographics with your ad, thereby allowing you to put your buyer persona to good use.
A successful restaurant is a restaurant that has regular customers. These are five tips that we recommend you use in order to improve your ability to attract new customers who will keep coming back for more.