How Restaurants Can Cultivate Loyalty in an Environment of Mass Competition
In a booming restaurant business, it can be difficult to remain relevant while maintaining your unique branding. In the past, restaurants could maintain a loyal clientele simply by remaining true to their menu, customs and brands. But it has recently become apparent to many restaurant owners that customers are less loyal than they used. While there are very many issues that affect customer loyalty and many of them may even be out of your control, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you remain competitive.
Are Customers Becoming Less Loyal?
If you are experiencing lower numbers of repeat customers for a while now, you may be thinking that general customer loyalty is on the decline. But while you’re thinking that your customers rarely come back, there are some restaurants that have seen an increase in customer loyalty. That’s because customer loyalty is affected by so many factors including the location of your business and some other factors like ratings and reviews.
How Social Media is Changing Loyalty
With more and more people choosing to use social media and online tools to book reservations, it becomes necessary to have a social media presence to ensure customer loyalty. Many restaurants have therefore developed social media marketing strategies that are aimed at attracting new customers and ensuring regulars remain loyal.
Again, most restaurant owners say that having a social media presence can have a great influence on the customers especially when they can engage with the chef. When customers can identify with the chef, they are able to identify with the brand and are therefore more likely to remain with the brand.
How to Deal With No-Shows
One of the main problems you will experience when you use social media and online tools to help with bookings and reservations is no-shows. This is a huge problem for many restaurants since it will often affect revenue and profits. It is important to note that no-shows can happen for reasons that are totally unrelated to your business. But when you begin to notice a significant increase in the number of no-shows, you may want to take measures handle this problem.
If you are using online tools for booking and reservations, begin by developing a very clear cancellation policy that outlines the terms for cancellation and the penalties a customer can incur when they choose to cancel a reservation. It is important to make sure that this policy is readily available to the customers and easy to understand.
You may also want to send a confirmation message to the customer immediately after they make the booking. Most online booking tools will do this automatically, sending out an email or SMS to confirm the booking. If you can, you may also take the time to call the customer to confirm the reservation.
There are some services that will also allow you to request a deposit when booking a reservation online the problem with this strategy is that it may reduce the number of conversions and ultimately reduce customer loyalty.