Building a connection with your customers

The secret to long-term, loyal restaurant customers is connection. Developing a relationship with your guests will leave them wanting to visit you again and again, telling their friends, and helping you build your profits. Not only can customer retention provide steady, reliable revenues, but it also means that your customers will stick by you in tougher times, too. As inflation continues, diners are expecting more price increases from restaurants, and 55 per cent will continue to support their favourite spots, even if that means paying ten per cent more.

What are the best ways to connect and build meaningful, authentic relationships with your customers?

Get the tools you need

Automation is helping restaurants improve efficiency and cut down on the time it takes to complete simple tasks. This leaves staff available to interact and get to know your guests. 70 per cent of restaurants who are investing in new technology are not planning to lay people off, rather, they will be reallocating them to better manage labour and improve the guest experience.

Not only can automation give your guests a more personal touch, but it can also help them receive faster orders, and process payment more efficiently, further improving their experience and encouraging them to return to your restaurant.

Focus on loyalty

So many restaurants now have loyalty memberships, how can you stand out and maximize your results? Creative thinking will help you get ahead if you give your members what they want. Are your members interested in smaller rewards more often, or earning larger prizes over more time? Can you add even more value with merchandise or other items? Is there an opportunity to expand into a subscription model to encourage a more regular commitment to your brand? These are all things you need to consider when looking at how your loyalty program is performing and how to get it to the next level.

Use the data to analyze the frequency of visits, purchases, and redemptions to gauge what’s working and where you can improve. Also, reach out to your members to get feedback and make sure you are hitting the mark.

RELATED: Stepping up your loyalty program

Keep in touch

The good news is that 86 per cent of people want to stay connected with the brands they love.  60 per cent of people prefer to be contacted via email, so sending event news, menu additions, and offers to your guests should be a welcome way build that connection. Email is also a great way to solicit feedback and reviews from your customers to help improve operations and show that you value their support and suggestions.

Social media is another way to keep in touch. Stay on top of where you’re mentioned, sharing and commenting on relevant content. This will show customers that you want to engage with them wherever you can and maintain regular, meaningful dialogue.

Connection is not a one-and-done idea; it requires regular attention to maintain and grow those relationships. Get the tools you need to focus on engaging and building loyalty to see reliable revenues for your restaurant.