1. Get Personal
One tip when greeting new patrons is to share your name with them straight away. Ensure all your staff are trained to do the same. People feel a greater sense of connection when they know each others name. It also shows diners that you're prepared to be accountable. This small step can be the first step in building a loyal customer for your restaurant.
For returning customers it is important you and your staff remember names. If you have a system in place to remember when and what they last ate at your restaurant you are able to offer a more personalised service which they will appreciate. For example "Welcome back Jane and Jim, I remember last month when you ate with us you particularly enjoyed our seafood dish, well we've since updated our menu and I'm really keen for you to try out our new seafood pasta!"
2. Pay Extra Attention
Seating returning customers straight away isn't the only way you can show you value their loyalty. How about sending out the chef to chat to loyal patrons. Wouldn't that make diners feel special? Especially if it was reserved for only loyal customers. Sending personalised, handwritten, birthday, anniversary or holiday cards are another option. These small gestures can be the perfect touch to show how much loyal customers are worth to your business.
3. Get Feedback
- Ask new customers why they have chosen you
- Ask existing customer what you do well and what can be improved.
- Review and respond to reviews left by diners online
- Encourage and make it easy for diners to provide feedback
4. Stay Connected
- Email newsletter
- Social media
Set up the mechanisms to reach out to existing diners and dedicate the time to maintain a database with which to contact them. This is especially the case on social media. If you're going to have a presence on social media platforms, ensure that when people visit they are greeted with up to date information.
5. Use Technology
A POS system like ViViPOS can help maintain a customer loyalty program. This will help you record, organise and plan your contact with existing customers.