The most successful restaurants use the 80:20 rule – 80% reliance on existing guests coming back and 20% on new customers coming in. And it’s easy to see why – returning guests spend 67% more at your restaurant.
Repeat customers are important for your restaurant’s success. Not only do they spread your reputation by word of mouth (free marketing), they also increase your profits by 25-95%!
Here are the top 5 reasons why guests leave and never return to your restaurant. And fool-proof steps you can take to get them back (or make sure they never leave in the first place).
The days of restaurants treating customers like a number are over.
More and more guests expect personalised experiences when they dine out. To do that, you need to build relationships with them. What’s their favourite dish? Preferred wine? What table is their top choice? Are they allergic to anything? Do they prefer organic options?
Collecting guest data will make your guests feel welcomed and valued. And that leads to return customers.
“The importance lies in the knowledge of the guests. If we know them, we can provide an experience that suits them and make the evening as close to a family-style setting as we can.” — Anders Kuk Kristensen from Ghrelin in Copenhagen, Denmark
In this new era of hospitality, technology increases your chances of standing out in a competitive industry.
You probably have a platform for bookings, a payments solution, a specific system for POS and even one for inventory. But can you benefit from the data gathered in each system if they don't integrate?
Instead, use a Guest Experience Management platform that gathers all the tools you need to run your restaurant in one platform. Collecting information in one place allows you to keep track of your performance and set clear goals for yourself and your team.
The data you collect will give you a sharp understanding of who your guests are, so you can create personalised experiences and build strong relationships.
"We know if a guest has already been here before or if the guests go through the door for the very first time. We already know if he or she drinks still or sparkling water, and we can cater in advance for his/her dietary restrictions. In this way, we can create a unique and bespoke experience for every single guest trying to put every single table in the limelight." — Lorenzo Costa, from Oltre, Italy.
When a guest makes a reservation, they take the first step in a relationship with you. That connection doesn't stop when they leave the restaurant.
Engage with your guests after their visits. Email and ask for feedback or offer a special deal. If you’re gathering guest data, tell them about your menu – and you’ll know they’ll love it because you already have insights into their preferred dishes.
Most importantly, you can communicate before they visit you.
Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform lets you ask for dietary requirements or food allergies when they’re booking a table. You can also message to confirm the reservation, avoiding no-shows and making sure the guests feel welcome before stepping into the restaurant.
“Focus on your guests, make sure they're happy, and they will come back.” — Mikael Svensson from Kontrast. in Oslo Norway
Guest loyalty is critical when it comes to making your restaurant or bistro stand out.
According to Forbes, over 50% of customers are more likely to make a decision based on having a reward programme. Rewards are an excellent incentive for building loyalty with guests and making sure you’re celebrating their commitment to you.
You can email your regulars with special offers after a certain amount of visits, you can offer discounts on new menus you want to test out, or simply give gift cards to show your appreciation. The options are endless, but having a simple reward system will benefit your restaurant and boost loyalty.
Whether you set up a feedback survey or just a messaging system to remind guests of their reservations, be consistent.
The guest experience starts before the guest steps into the restaurant. It’s essential to show that you remember them, listen to their feedback and make them feel as welcome as possible. Engage with guests outside the restaurant and keep those processes in place so they know they can count on you.
You and your team have worked hard to acquire your customers. You’ve spent a lot of resources marketing your bistro or restaurant, raising awareness, and getting people to walk through the door. The question is, once they’re gone… how do you get them to come back?
The Guest Experience is not only about food. It’s everything from the booking process to the final receipt.
With guest profiles, you’ll have information and data about your guests' preferences in food or wine, food allergies or dietary requests, and even their birthdays and anniversaries.
With this data, you'll be able to tweak the experience every time they come in to provide them with the perfect service. The secret to winning back restaurant guests is in the service you provide. Go the extra mile to tailor personalised experiences for each guest.
The advantage to winning back customers is that you (should) already have the data you need to do so. If you’ve built their guest profile, you’re armed and ready with the information you need to turn customers into regulars.
If you focus mostly on attracting new guests, you won't be able to collect this kind of data.
If you focus on existing business, you'll have a more accurate perception of each guest's preferences, which means you can start investing in targeted marketing.
If a guest's birthday is this week, send a celebratory message, inviting them to come in. You'll even have the option to offer dessert or a beer pairing.
The options are endless and marketing is a vast field, so having this insight on regular guests will provide you with the advantage.