Retaining customers is substantially easier (and cheaper) than acquiring new ones. With factors like low margins, the high cost of goods, and difficulty in tracking ROI, the average check may not be high enough to recoup the cost of acquiring a new guest during their first visit.
The reality is that there is no shortage of obstacles to overcome when operating a restaurant. There’s a ton of competition — and not just from other restaurants vying for your customers. Global brands with trusted household names are clamoring for attention as well. And potential customers may opt to stay in and cook, choosing one of the meal delivery services that promise restaurant-quality food at home. So what’s a restaurant to do? A massive ad campaign? A branding redesign?
How about an easier and quicker solution. The answer is simple: Repeat visits. That’s right, once you’ve got a customer, keep them coming back. Restaurant owners need to focus on retention: getting guests to come back for more of what they love. Acquisitions cost dollars, but retention tactics only cost pennies.
Here are 5 things business owners can do right now to keep guests coming back:
- Add Calls to Action (CTAs) on Social Media Posts: It’s as easy as changing the language used on social media. Being specific and offering direction on social media will go a long way. For example, instead of simply posting about a limited-time menu item, add a call to action like “click here to order now” on Facebook or “click the link in our bio” on Instagram. Announcing a new loyalty program? Make sure you include a link with a specific CTA directing customers to sign up.
Remember, consumers will rarely follow a restaurant on social media unless they have already eaten there or plan to, which makes “followers” actually “guests/potential guests” Therefore, it is best to look at social media as a retention tool, rather than an acquisition tool — content must align with driving repeat purchases. Guiding guests with actionable language and telling them what to do next is definitely the way to go.
Tracking ROI (return on investment) from ads is key - the only way to do so is by Integrating social media pixels and the ordering platform with Google analytics and google TAG manager. Feel free to reach out to Appfront team in case you need assistance with pixel tracking.
- Capture and Use Guest Data: A guest who provides their email or mobile phone number wants to hear from you. They’ve opted in for updates — and with their personal contact info, you can get immediately in front of them.Capturing guest data opens up a world of engagement opportunities. Reach out regularly with limited-time deals, new programs or menu items and more. Good news: If you’re using AppFront for online ordering, you’re already automatically capturing customer data!
- Stay Top of Mind:You’ve got their contact info. Now what? Create an e-club and send timely newsletters promoting upsells, app downloads, holiday hours, and more. Offering catering for the holidays and looking to get the word out? Send out a newsletter to your loyal customers. Giving a free appetizer with a minimum ticket order? Reach out. Here’s where AppFront comes in with immediately implementable email marketing programs that are sure to entice guests to return again and again.
- Create an SMS Subscription Program: Text messaging is becoming the preferred contact method for guests to engage with brands. In fact, nine out of ten people open all their text messages — and the click-through rate on offer messages is up to 10% higher. So if you’re looking to promote in-store events, new menu items, or drive immediate redemptions of offers or deals, SMS messaging is the solution. Did you know? SMS messaging is a part of the AppFront Marketing suite. And AppFront users can go live with just a few clicks. And with 41% of consumers preferring to engage with their favorite brands via text, you can’t afford to ignore this avenue of guest engagement.
- Launch a Loyalty Program: Loyalty programs incentivize guests to come back as they earn points and rewards for every visit. And once they’re in the door, you have an opportunity to upsell them and increase sales. With loyalty programs, there’s no learning curve for guests, thanks to global brands like Starbucks and Chick-fil-A which have popularized the system. It’s a simple way to drive retention — and it works. People who sign up for loyalty programs visit restaurants 20% more often, and “spend 20% more than they would have if they hadn’t joined.”
At Appfront, rewards programs are completely customizable. If you want your guests to earn points every time they order a cheeseburger, you can do that in Appfront. If a tiered rewards system similar to the one offered by Chick-fil-A is what you’d like, you can make it happen with just a few clicks. Guests will feel valued and appreciated while average tickets will increase.
Existing AppFront customers can implement all of these strategies immediately using our easy-to-implement customizable and intuitive marketing solutions. Not an AppFront client? Book a demo today and learn more about how we can help you drive repeat visits.