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3 Ways to Develop Customer Loyalty for Your Restaurant

How do you keep your restaurant packed every night?  By offering both superior food and service. But today’s restaurants have to go one step further to capture the hearts, minds, and mouths of their diners.  How do you generate that type of customer loyalty?

We talked earlier about the reasons that people are dissatisfied with restaurants, but since restaurant owners are also business owners, we wanted to spread that out to the reasons why people leave businesses.

According to this infographic by, 68% of customers leave the business because they are unhappy with the treatment that they received.  Only 14% are dissatisfied with the products and service.  What this says to us is that it’s your game to lose.

Loyalty isn’t necessarily about discounts or marketing.  It’s about trying to turn those customers into, as Ken Blanchard mentions, raving fans.  These are the people who will scream about your restaurant from the highest rooftops and mention your name at every opportunity.  These are also the people who will talk about you on Yelp and other local arenas where the competition is tight.

Offer Unlikely Freebies

There are certain times when we’re in a restaurant that we’re on autopilot.  By offering freebies of things that are completely unlikely, you can definitely get people’s attention.  For instance, the Texas Roadhouse offers peanuts to all of its customers – not something really expected from a steak restaurant.

You could, if you wanted, tie the unlikely freebie in with this next suggestion.

Go Local

Local food sourcing is one of the hottest trends, but we’re not talking about that.  What we’re talking about is the offering of local products at your restaurant.  Here’s an example about a franchise that did this and developed my loyalty.

When I was younger, I used to drive past a Bojangle’s every single day on my way to work.  I stopped in, not knowing what it was, ordered in the drive thru, and not only got my meal but was given a local paper as well.  As a result, I came back several times a week.

Use Scratch Offs

There are thousands of people out there who nurture the fantasy that they’re going to win the lottery.  This fantasy has gone a long way, if the PowerBall is any indication.  Play into that love of chance by offering company branded scratch-offs to your customers.

This tactic has worked.  It’s worked on me, actually.  A pizza place in the area sent out scratch-offs to people within a local area, each with a 10% discount.  When people came in and got their discount, they were won over by the quality and became customers for life.

Tomorrow, we’re going to talk a little bit more about local sourcing and earning favor with the locals around the area.  With more locals on your side, the more opportunities that you have to bring in the profits for your restaurant.

2014-12-12 00:00:00
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