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5 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant's Customer Loyalty

By Nicholas Rubright

Customer loyalty is important for any business. For restaurants in particular, loyal customers can spend up to 67% more than new guests. Building customer loyalty can be difficult, but if executed correctly, can dramatically increase profits. A 5% increase in customer retention can lead to an increase in profits of between 25% and 95%, so it should be a primary focus of every business.

The best way to build customer loyalty is to increase mind-share among your existing customers. Mind-share refers to how easily customers think of your brand when they think of what your brand has to offer. For example, when you think of searching for something online, you think of Google. If you can become the first thing people think of when they want to eat the type of food you serve, you can dramatically increase customer loyalty. The following tips can help you increase customer loyalty and build mind-share among your customers.

Remind Customers of Your Brand Daily

When you see something every day, it starts to stick. We recognize the Google and Facebook logos because those are services we use every day. Getting new customers to somehow connect to you on a daily basis can cause your brand to stick in their mind. This can be accomplished in many ways: encourage them to follow you on their favorite social network and post valuable content every day; create an iPhone app that they'll want to keep on their phone; or let them save the playlist that's playing in your restaurant with services like Dozmia for Business. Think of the things your target customers do every day, like checking their phone or listening to music, and find ways to be a part of those daily routines.

Start a Customer Loyalty Program

This seems obvious, but many restaurants still don't have loyalty programs in place. It's basic psychology: people are more likely to revisit frequently if they get free stuff. Restaurant loyalty programs can increase visits by up to 35%, so starting a loyalty program is a no brainer when it comes to building customer loyalty.

Support Your Community

People have an inherent love for their hometown. It's the reason people go to local art shows, local concerts, and get involved with community activities. Supporting what your customers love can help them to feel more connected to your brand. If your customers are going to local concerts and you're somehow involved, they're going to feel a deeper connection to your brand, and in their mind, you'll stand above other brands.

Create Word of Mouth

Word of mouth comes from an outstanding initial experience. Create an atmosphere in your restaurant that puts customers in awe as soon as they step into your restaurant: use visuals and music that compliment each other, serve amazing food, have friendly service, and fix mistakes quickly. It all sounds simple, but people talk about good experiences with their friends. If a group of people comes to your restaurant, you want the discussion afterwards to be full of positive comments.

Grow Your Pool of Loyal Customers - Advertise Aggressively

This is related to the first point made: being frequently seen by potential customers can put you above other brands. If you're a coffee shop, you can catch those who'd normally go to Starbucks by advertising your shop in the morning with mobile banners that let viewers tap for directions on their way to work. This, along with the other points above, can generate a larger pool of loyal customers.

Nicholas Rubright is the founder of Dozmia, a service that helps businesses build playlists that reflect their brand personality.

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