Everyone knows that the best customers are loyal, repeat customers. According to a new analysis by SumAll, a New York-based analytics company, 25% to 40% of the total revenues of the most stable businesses in its network come from repeat business.
In the highly competitive restaurant industry, especially, you have only one chance to make a great first impression and turn those first-time guests into returning ones. Here’s how to make sure that your first-time guests keep coming back.
Exceed expectations with your food:
Seems obvious, but when new customers try out your restaurant for the first time, all it takes is one poor or even mediocre food experience to prevent them from ever coming back. Your guests have almost endless choices when it comes to deciding where to eat, so if the food disappoints there is a good chance that you will never see them again.
Go above and beyond to provide excellent service:
So much of your guest’s first impression relies on the service he or she receives throughout the entire visit. Do everything you can to ensure that your guests get courteous, prompt and friendly service from everyone they interact with. Invest in your staff with the training, guidance and rewards to make sure your employees are motivated to excel and go above and beyond for your guests.
Reward guests for their ongoing patronage:
The first dining experience is a perfect opportunity to encourage new guests to visit again. One way to do that is by offering them a reward or incentive, such as a coupon toward their next visit or a rewards card that keeps track of what they spend in your restaurant. The more they visit and spend, the more points they accrue toward future rewards.
Put a personal spin on their experience:
When guests visit your restaurant for the first time, you’ll want to impress them by making their dining experience both personal and memorable. During a guest’s first visit, train your service staff to ask the right questions in order to learn more about your new guest so that you can cater to his or her individual needs and preferences during a future visit. Learning more about what new guests want also allows you to better customize the way you market to them in the future.
Ask new customers to fill out a guest card:
When new guests dine in your restaurant, it is an ideal time to get feedback and collect their contact information. Guest cards are a great way to get information from new customers both in terms of how they enjoyed their visit and to find out how you can stay in touch with them to share news and special offers from your restaurant.
Be aware of and responsive to negative feedback:
If a new customer shares a less than desirable review or expresses dissatisfaction with their dining experience, try to resolve the situation. That means being aware of negative feedback as well as responsive to it. There is still a chance you could save that customer from never returning if you take the proper action.
New customers are like gold. Don’t miss out on these ways to convert them to loyal, repeat guests for your restaurant.