When we think about how to increase restaurant sales, we often focus on trying to attract new customers. However, it's actually far easier and less expensive to sell to existing customers as opposed to acquiring new customers. In fact, Marketing Metrics notes that the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 50% greater than the probability of selling to a new one. In addition, acquiring a new customer is six to seven times more expensive than keeping an existing customer. As a result, while bringing in new guests is important, the success of a restaurant is really determined by its ability to make the most of its repeat customers.
The question is: what can you do to increase the frequency at which these repeat customers interact with your restaurant?
1) Introduce a Loyalty Program
According to a loyalty study conducted by LevelUp:
- When a customer is about to unlock their loyalty reward, they spend 39% more on average.
- When customers redeem their loyalty reward, they spend 19% more on average.
- On average, visitation frequency increases by 75% between a customer’s first reward and their tenth reward.
In order to get the most out of your restaurant’s rewards program, make sure that you select a loyalty program that makes it easy for guests to sign up, track, and use their points.
2) Sell Gift Cards
Give your regular customers the opportunity to purchase and receive gift cards to your restaurant. Gift cards are the most popular present for the holidays, and 77% of Americans have given a gift card in the last year. With that said, by offering gift cards, you’ll introduce a new revenue stream that is actually far more significant than the money made from gift card sales alone. In fact, 72% of customers will spend more than the value of the gift card, spending an average of 20% more than the amount on the card.
To maximize the value you can get from offering gift cards, select a provider that enables you to sell both physical and eGift cards, in-store and online.
3) Offer Online Ordering
Consider offering online ordering to allow your customers to order food from your website using their computers, smartphones, and tablets. Third party online ordering services like GrubHub charge commission fees on every order, and limit your ability to manage the online order experience. By hosting online ordering on your own website or as an integrated feature in your restaurant POS system, you’ll give repeat customers the ability to order food from your restaurant without having to pay a commission for those orders.
4) Invest in a CRM System
A restaurant CRM collects and stores information about your customers to provide insight into your customer base and to fuel powerful marketing campaigns. The CRM system will allow you to easily identify your best customers and segment the customer database to create lists of customers with shared properties. Using this information, you can easily create marketing campaigns and run promotions to engage your customers outside the restaurant and get them back through the door.
How do you engage regular customers at your restaurant and keep them coming back?