For your restaurant business to be a success, you need customers that want to keep returning to your establishment and that want to tell everyone about how great it is. The only way that you can accomplish this is by keeping those customers happy. The following are some tips you will want to adopt for your restaurant if you haven’t already.
Have a Friendly Staff
The staff that you hire for your restaurant serve as the face of your brand. If they are surly and rude, you can be sure your customers will have a bad experience. You can also be sure that a percentage of those customers will take to the Internet to voice their displeasure with the way they were treated. Who can blame them? You need to make sure that you have a trained and friendly staff that treats the customers well and that listens to their questions and concerns.
If the poor customer service is experienced, it is unlikely that patrons will return to the establishment. The staff needs to treat guests with respect, they should smile, and they should be good listeners. In addition, it is a good idea for the staff to keep their private conversations to the backroom or breakroom. They should never say anything bad about other customers in front of other customers. Also, encourage patience in the servers. Even though they want to turn the table over for the next guests, they should not rush the diners away from the table. No one likes to feel rushed.
Provide Rewards for the Customers
If you want your customers to be happy and loyal, all you need to do is reward them occasionally. When you give something back to the customers, they will be happy, and they will be more likely to return. Setting up a loyalty program is a fantastic idea. It will help to provide repeat business, and it can also work well for word of mouth referrals.
The loyalty program can provide a range of benefits. For some, a simple “buy ten and get one free” system works quite well. However, you can up your ante if you want to make your customers truly happy. Consider providing them with a free meal on their birthday, as well. Offering rewards like this will make the customers want to keep returning, and you will quickly offset the cost of the free food or discounts the loyalty program rewards.
Be Quick to Respond to Bad Experiences
Even though you hope that you always provide a good experience for your customers, sometimes bad things do happen. The way you and your staff handle those bad times makes all the difference in the world. You need to listen to those customers, and you need to find a way to take care of their problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. You never want them to leave the restaurant angry. Listen to Paul McCartney and “take a sad song and make it better.” Turn their bad experience into a good one. Apologize for the problem or inconvenience, and offer something free to make up for it. This could be a free dessert with the meal, a free meal, or a gift certificate that they can use when they come back to the restaurant.
Give the Customers a Surprise Sometimes
If you have customers that keep coming into the eatery, whether you have a loyalty program or not, give them an extra treat sometimes. Providing free drinks, or a free dessert will help to increase their loyalty. You can be sure they will tell their friends and probably post it on social media, as well.
Keep the Wait Times Down
Nobody likes to have to wait a long time to be seated and served when they go out to a restaurant, but it does happen. The way you deal with the wait, and the length of the wait, are important. Always do your best to keep the wait times to a minimum, but be honest with guests about just how long it will take to get them seated. If the wait is going to be forty minutes, do not tell them ten to fifteen minutes! Be honest, and let them decide what they want to do.
Your staff should also have knowledge of the surrounding area and the things that those customers can do while they are waiting. For example, if they have an hour long wait ahead of them, let them know about some shopping that is within walking distance, or a nice park that is nearby. Get their phone number, and call them when their wait is down to ten to fifteen minutes so they get back in time.
Connect With the Customers
The staff, and even the restaurant owner, should make it a point to get to know the regular customers better. Know their names and learn more about them. This helps to develop more than just loyalty. It helps to develop a sense of community, and you can be sure those customers will appreciate it.
Have a Digital Presence
Today, before new customers come into a restaurant, they are generally going to visit your website to learn more about what you offer, to see your menu, and to get an idea of what type of atmosphere the restaurant has. You need to have a website, and you need to make sure it is mobile friendly. Many people are using their phones and tablets to access restaurant sites while they are out and looking for a place to eat right now. Make it easy for them to access the site, and perhaps have a signup available for your email list. If they sign up, provide them with a 10% off coupon. This is often enough to get customers through the door.
With these simple tips, you can start making your customers much happier and more loyal to your business. Start adding them today.