Marketing to Recruit More Regulars


Regular guests (or “Norms,” as we like to call them) are the bricks in your foundation. They represent the result of tireless restaurant marketing and great guest service. The fact that they consistently prefer your restaurant over the competition is flattery of the highest form. You’ve worked hard to get and keep them. Why not put them to work for you? The trick is developing a plan that turns those mere regulars into raving recruiters.

Restaurant Marketing 2 for 1 Offers

2 for 1? How about 1 for 1?! As any manager knows, a promotion is only as good as your ability to track its results. Two-for-one promotions are a great way to get people through the door. The real question is, who are these people? Are they new guests who are sure to come back, or regulars who probably would have paid full price (1 for 1) in the first place? If the latter outweighs the former, it’s time to rethink the promotion with a more narrow scope.

Word of Mouth Restaurant Marketing

It has been said that word-of-mouth advertising is the kind that money can’t buy. This is especially true in the movie business, where the effects of positive WOM can easily be measured at the box office. Unfortunately, this is more difficult to do in the restaurant business (short of asking every table, “How did you hear about us?”). But rather than ponder ways to measure the end result of WOM, start your own buzz at the very source.

When you’ve got it, flaunt it. Set up a referral program that rewards your regulars for drumming up new business by spreading the good to new guests. Give your regulars promotional coupons offering new customer a free appetizer or 10-25 percent off of the total bill. Leave room for the new customer‘s name and address, as well as the name of the regular who referred them. Have your servers explain that these coupons are for your valued regulars to hand out to friends or acquaintances who may not have heard of your restaurant. For every coupon redeemed by a new guest, the regular will receive a free dessert or drink upgrade. Keep the redeemed coupons alphabetized (by regular’s name) and on file so that regulars can keep track of their winnings! This not only generates new business, but it also keeps those regulars returning and happy.

Train Your Staff on Exceptional Service

Service is your restaurant’s invisible product. Guests will choose to come back to your restaurant instead of going to the competition based on the service they experience. The Service That Wows Server Training Workshop helps servers and other front-of-house employees understand the importance of providing exceptional service to every guest on every shift. Click here for more details.

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