Customer Retention: A How-to-Guide for Your Restaurant

There’s no doubt that you’ve invested time, money, and dedication into setting up your dream restaurant or café – so you know keeping your customers happy and giving them a great first-time experience is vital to running a successful restaurant.

Customer retention is extremely important because loyal customers will provide you with regular business, and will also help you attract new customers through recommendations. According to Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.”

Here are some  tips on how to improve customer retention: 

Make Your Venue ‘Instagram-worthy’  

Tasty food and great service is obviously important to the success of your restaurant, but it isn’t always enough to bring customers back. In today’s modern society, social media plays a huge part in online marketing and so don’t underestimate its value. According to social media experts at Crave, “the average diner is now more likely to make their choice of restaurant based on aesthetic photos uploaded on apps like Instagram.” You therefore need to create a decor that is unique and photo-friendly. 

Eclipse Furniture describe how ‘Death Row Diner’ in Liverpool has become extremely popular through its unique ‘prison theme’ decor and presence on social media. The restaurant is regularly featured across social media which attracts thousands of customers wanting to experience this unique dining experience. Try to think of anything that will make your venue stand out from competitors, such as a quirky wall mural that customers will want to take photos of and post on their social media accounts – this is one of the best forms of marketing for your business and it’s completely free. You could also try switching up your decor regularly to keep customers wanting to come back to see the new designs. 

Offer Good Value and ‘Freebies’  

To have a great dining experience and leave happy, your customers need to feel that they’ve received good value for money. Just think – a customer will probably be happy to spend a significant amount on a high-quality steak meal, but they will most likely feel ripped-off if they spend the same amount on a burger. You  need to offer good perceived value for money.

Do research on local restaurants to make sure that your prices are competitive. Offering customers "freebies" such as unlimited drink refills and salad bars, is a great way to win repeat business as customers feel that they’re getting a good deal. 


Design a Unique Menu that Represents Your Business  

A menu provides customers with a snapshot of your restaurant and lets them know what type of experience they’re going to have. Having a well-designed, appealing menu is therefore essential to communicating your restaurant's personality and enticing customers. You also need to think carefully about what dishes to include on your menu and offer food that will appeal to customers. Experts at The Balance explain how “the ideal menu has a balance of old favorites such as burgers and pasta, and unique dishes.” Successful restaurants tend to offer traditional classics with unique twists – things like loaded burgers with unique toppings, and eccentric freakshakes, are extremely popular with customers. Remember that beautiful food also brings in the crowds and so always focus on the presentation of your dishes.   

Serve Quality Food 

It’s simple – customers won’t want to return to your restaurant if the quality of your food is poor. You should therefore think carefully about where you source your ingredients  and always choose suppliers carefully. Maintain high standards in your kitchen at all times to ensure consistency, and to make sure that every customer receives the same quality meal.


Use Social Media Engagement

Social media is a great way to engage with your customers and remind them why they should visit your restaurant. A customer is far more likely to choose your restaurant the next time they want to go out for a meal, if they have seen you post recent enticing pictures or great promotions. Use social media to your advantage and createa social media marketing strategy that is right for your business. 

Don’t Forget About Service

Remember that we don’t just go to restaurants for the food and good service is one of the most important aspects in creating a great dining experience. When hiring staff, don’t forget that everyone will contribute to the overall atmosphere. All of your staff should therefore be helpful, friendly, and have great product knowledge. Only hire the best people, as they will be the face of your business – the quality of service can make or break a restaurant.