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How to Increase Customer Loyalty in a Restaurant

How to Improve Customer Loyalty for a Restaurant

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Customer loyalty almost always comes if your diners have had a good customer experience.

Oftentimes, many restaurant businesses undervalue the importance of retaining customers and instead opt to market to attract new customers.

We here at KlikNRoll are strong believers that customer loyalty is one of the most important cornerstones of any restaurant – and we have data to back it up.

So without further ado, let’s get into exactly how to increase customer loyalty in a restaurant!

Actionable Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty in Your Restaurant

1. Record Feedback and Improve What Needs Improving

One of the most critical aspects of increasing customer loyalty in your restaurant is actively seeking and recording customer feedback.

The ability to listen to your customers and make necessary improvements based on their suggestions and concerns can be a game-changer for your business.

Using something as simple as a feedback form is amazing in collecting feedback.

Our favorite is going with a CSAT (customer satisfaction) form that rates their experience, usually on a scale from 1 to 5. Once you’ve found out what could be improved, it’s essential to act and improve on it fast.

Rarely will a customer give a restaurant a second chance, but when they do, you have to be in top form.

Here’s a great CSAT template we’ve made that you can use for your restaurant:

CSAT Customer Satisfaction Survey Form Template for Restaurants
A CSAT form – Simple Yet Effective!

2. Reinforce Customer Loyalty Through a Loyalty Program

A loyalty program is the cornerstone of restaurant loyalty. It’s the secret sauce that keeps customers returning in a competitive market.

A study done by McKinsey found that 59% of respondents are more likely to stick with a brand after joining their loyalty program – which is a staggering statistic if you ask us!

While there are countless types of loyalty programs, a point-based system is a reliable go-to, motivating customers to return and increasing their average spending.

Attendance-based programs also do great in encouraging frequent visits, giving you ample opportunities to reinforce your brand, and use upselling techniques to increase average spend per customer!

To streamline the process, try out KlikNGo’s loyalty program software, which allows you to manage and track your program while retaining your restaurant’s unique branding! 

A well-designed loyalty program is one of the best ways and will not only reward existing customers but also entice new ones, strengthening customer loyalty and bolstering your long-term success!

Contact us using the button below to learn more about our loyalty program system:

3. Double Down on Your Businesses' Strong Points (USPs)

Unique Selling Point (USP) Meaning Illustration
Find out you can do that customers want!

Every restaurant has its strong points and that could be the reason why you already have a loyal customer base.

If you’re known for your amazing brick-oven pizza, why not showcase and build a brand around it?

Sure, dishes like pasta probably have better margins – but that’s probably not the dish that’s going to drive customer loyalty and retention.

Leverage your unique selling points and build your restaurant’s brand and image. For example, do you use the best coffee beans from Jamaica for your coffee?

Or maybe the best San Marzano tomatoes? Use these points that are unique to you and double down.

This sets you apart from your competitors, so why not include these points the next time you post on social media?

A few of our clients also ran with their unique selling points and had their best-performing menu items as freebies on their KlikNGo loyalty program.

Over the course of 3 months, their customer retention rate (CRR) was up by a staggering 16%!

4. Consistency is King

In the restaurant business, consistency reigns supreme. It’s arguably the most powerful tool for nurturing a loyal customer base.

While many diners may give you the benefit of the doubt the first time, very few will extend that courtesy the second time around.

Beyond maintaining a consistent kitchen and cooking processes, focus on the low-hanging fruit – making sure that your top 10 best-performing dishes are consistently amazing.

Many regulars stick to these trusted and familiar favorites, rarely ordering anything else because they know precisely what to expect. 

This predictability is what keeps them coming back for more. Keeping these 10 items consistently excellent can be the single most influential factor in fostering continual customer loyalty.

5. Prioritize Dine-In Clients First

During busy hours, prioritize dine-ins! They usually spend more and are more loyal.

Especially during peak hours, it’s essential to give priority to your dine-in customers.

They are the lifeblood of your restaurant, physically present and actively supporting your business.

While it’s important not to neglect takeout and online delivery orders, focusing on your dine-in patrons can have several significant advantages.

First, it allows you to make the most of upselling strategies, increasing the average spend per customer through recommendations and special offers. You won’t be able to do that with online deliveries. 

Secondly, by ensuring that your dine-in customers receive prompt service and great food, you not only enhance their overall dining experience but also encourage them to come back for more.

In cases where ingredients run low, it’s probably to reserve what’s available for dine-in orders, as many online delivery platforms allow you to manage item availability or negotiate order modifications.

Prioritizing dine-in clients demonstrates your appreciation for their direct support and can be a big factor in building lasting customer loyalty.

Doing this can also indirectly adds to your overall margins – as you pay less in terms of commission to online delivery platforms!

6. Build a Brand Around Your Community

Establishing a strong presence in your local community is a powerful way to both attract and retain loyal customers.

This can take the form of community engagement, such as organizing food drives or catering local events.

In tight-knit communities, word spreads quickly, and when you give back to your community, it often results in increased customer loyalty.

Bonus tip: Include business cards if you’re catering local events. People who like your food can get to know your restaurant and where to reach you. On top of that, try asking the event organizers to link to your restaurant’s website.

This gives a good sign to Google that you are a trustworthy restaurant, which can lead to better rankings in the search results!

Sometimes, giving back can yield more customers than extensive advertising strategies. While advertisements can bring in customers, it doesn’t guarantee their loyalty!

Organizing events like food drives not only showcases your restaurant’s commitment to the community but also extends the principles of exceptional customer service.

Goodwill, often an overlooked yet significant factor, can be a big driving force in nurturing lasting customer loyalty!

7. Respond to Online Reviews - Every Last One!

Sample of Responding to Negative Review
Replying to negative reviews and collecting feedback is a great habit to have.

Acknowledging and responding to every online review, whether positive or negative, is a good practice that demonstrates your genuine commitment to your customers’ experiences.

Personalizing responses is ideal, but having templates that can be customized is also effective.

The key is to maintain politeness and professionalism in all responses, even when addressing negative reviews.

It’s essential to convey your willingness to address any shortcomings and, most importantly, to follow through on improvement efforts. Empty promises won’t build trust or loyalty.

Moreover, responding to reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor not only enhances your relationship with customers but also boosts your search ranking.

Restaurants with more reviews and timely responses tend to rank higher, making it equally important to encourage customers to share their feedback through reviews.

8. Service & Wait Times Are Important

Service and wait times play an important role in shaping customer loyalty. Extended wait times can significantly impact overall satisfaction, with customers being 18% less content with their experience when delays occur.

This is a substantial drop, particularly when considering that on a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scale, a 4/5 rating essentially becomes a 3/5 when this reduction is taken into account.

When a negative experience unfolds, customers tend to remember it, overshadowing any positive aspects of their visit.

Regardless of the quality of your food, if a customer has to wait a long time, that wait becomes the dominant memory of their experience.

The same principle applies to service quality. Prompt, attentive, and courteous staff leave a lasting impression that becomes intertwined with your restaurant’s image over time.

This is why it’s important to get both service and wait times right. While it can be challenging to balance reduced wait times with consistent quality – especially during rush hour, implementing an online reservation system can be a game-changer.

It allows you to allocate staff efficiently and prepare staples in advance. Solutions like KlikNRoll provide user-friendly interfaces while maintaining your restaurant’s branding and identity.

The Murray Hotel KlikNRoll Case Study
We helped them reduce wait times, while increasing loyalty and revenue!

One of our clients, The Murray Hotel in Hong Kong, generated almost US$400,000 for their restaurant department with our restaurant reservation system – to put it in perspective!

We also offer features such as setting maximum booking limits, collecting upfront deposits, and enabling customers to choose their preferred table, all of which enhance the overall dining experience and contribute to customer loyalty!

The Bottom Line

Building customer loyalty shouldn’t be a complicated process, as you’re halfway there if you provide value, and have good food and great service.

For restaurant owners who want to try to increase loyalty even further, why not give our loyalty program software or online booking system a shot? 

We helped massive brands like Haagen Dazs and Murray Hotels bring in repeat business and streamline processes through our platform, and we’d like to help you do the same.

Feel free to contact us using the button if you’d like the same treatment!

Last Updated by December 4, 2023

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