Most restaurants focus on new customers, solely. They put all their effort into coupons and promotions to drive new traffic to their restaurant. The biggest mistake that 90% of restaurant owners are doing is not focusing on bringing the customer back a minimum of three times!
Let's look at the numbers. The statistical average of a customer returning to your restaurant after a good initial visit is around 40%. After that customer comes in the second time and has another good experience the statistical average of them returning for a third visit is around 42%. Finally, if that customer comes in a third time and has a good experience you as a restaurant owner has over 70% chance of that customer returning! Check out this awesome video of Gary Vee and Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue breaking down restaurant ideas and ideologies!
So, what can you do as a restaurant owner to bring the customer in a minimum of three times? There are some great ideas in the video above of what you can do in-house to bring a customer back. We are going to review some ideas of what you can do outside your restaurant to bring the customers back time and time again.
Attract New Restaurant Customers
First, let's talk about how to get a new customer ordering online or walking through your door. You have thousands of outlets to try to connect with customers such as radio, TV, billboards, direct mail, newspaper, magazines, flyers, events, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Google.....the list goes on and on. Here are our recommendations from what we see working right now
- Facebook Advertising - Direction based ads and ads focused on online orders are performing great right now! Cost to reach customers is extremely low, around $2 per 1,000 people, and if you have a good offer and good images of your food you will see the best results on Facebook
- Youtube Advertising - Local branding on Youtube is a no brainer if you have a high quality video of your restaurant. Did you know that you will only get charged on Youtube if your customers watch over 30 seconds of your ad or click on your ad to learn more? That means you only pay for the customers that are truly interested in your business and everything else is free brand awareness!
- Street Signs - This is one of the old school methods that when used correctly absolutely kills it! Positioning street signs in high traffic areas around your location can bring in foot traffic at a low investment to the business. There is some sweat equity needed to put the signs in the ground and they can be destroyed or removed but they work for a low cost. SOME ADVICE: Understand how difficult the next step is for the customer seeing the street sign. Asking someone to call or go to your website while driving past your sign is super difficult. Putting an incentive to mention the sign or simply promoting the location of the restaurant and the food offered will work great!
- More Ideas - Check out my other blog article to see more options for getting new customers
Get Restaurant Customers To Return For A Second and Third Visit
Let me blunt here, if your restaurant does not give a good experience to your customer they will not return. That includes a clean and pleasurable atmosphere, polite customer service, and of course delicious food. I believe you wouldn't be reading this article if your restaurant needed to fix those things. Moving on, let's discuss what you can do to ensure your customer come back!
- Facebook Retargeting Ads - Facebook allows you to specifically target customers that have already ordered from you online or if you have the customers email. You can specifically target these customers and exclude everyone else to send them special offers to get them back in!
- Create A List and Use The List - Creating a list of customers is the most valuable thing you can possible do for the long run of your business. This list should include the name of your customer and a way of contacting that customer, this could be email, phone number, Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, and more. Use this list and the respected contact information regularly to keep your list fresh and filled with interested customers! PRO TIP: Set up automation for the first two to three follow up when a contact is added to your list. These automated follow ups should include an incentive, an easy way to connect with you, and further information about your restaurant.
- Loyalty Program - Pushing people to your loyalty program is a lot like building your list. The main focus is to get the contact information of the customer while giving you the opportunity to incentivise the customer to return to your restaurant. Train your employees to incentivise joining the loyalty program at the end of the customers first visit and make sure that customer gets an incentive to come in for a second time.
All in all you should have a focused presentation for your customers to get them to come in the first three times! Connect with your current customers and ask them what kept them coming back to your restaurant. Then use these answers as values to build your marketing presentation around. Treat new customers different, understand they stopped going to their regular restaurant to try out your business. Give them an experience they won't forget, first impressions mean everything in restaurants!
We have created programs for restaurants around the United States that have seen success! From getting coupons in customers hands for less to developing programs to bring customers in time and time again with zero discounts we can help you lock your customers in! Restaurant competition is intense, get a game plan that breaks through the competitors and position your restaurant as the place to eat!