What Managers Can Do to Create Guest Loyalty


When we think marketing, we think getting people in the door… and those people we’re targeting are often customers who are visiting for the first time. The theory is “if they try us, they’ll like us,” but the truth is getting new customers is almost ten times more expensive than building sales through repeat visits, check averages and party size. Instead, make sales count by maximizing the customers you do have while reaching those who haven’t yet discovered your operation.


Restaurant Management Ideas to Promote Guest Loyalty

  • Check” in with service. These “captive” customers are the best way to increase your profits, so why do we save all the discounts for those who’ve never made it to the door? When suggestive selling, empower servers to deliver their own on-the-spot “mystery” discounts for those add-on sales, such as premium drinks, appetizers, desserts, etc. When servers can reward guests with half-price specials or a free dessert just because “we’re glad you came in,” you’ll build customer loyalty and encourage additional sales (“Sure, I’ll have an Irish Coffee with that free dessert”).
  • Get social. Gone are the days when you need a huge marketing budget to compete with the big guys. Social media can level the playing field. Facebook, Twitter, e-mail marketing, blogging, podcasts, and YouTube channels are inexpensive ways to connect with new and existing customers. No clue how to start? You can bet someone on your team does. Brainstorm contests, menu voting, wine reviews and other social media ideas that get customers excited and assign someone on your team to start the process.
  • Stretch yourself thick. If existing customers are so valuable, why are they so ignored? Use signage, coupons and discounts to keep customers coming back and trying new things. Highlight upcoming specials, curbside pickup, catering, delivery and your future events throughout the operation, including on your menu and guest ticket.
  • Party hard. Too often hosts make customers feel as if they’re inconveniencing restaurant staff with requests for large tables. Instead, offer incentives for team members to “book” large groups and provide programs like birthday clubs and refer-a-friend campaigns to turn customers into recruiters. Promote these incentive campaigns on your social media channels.

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