5
 min read

How to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Restaurant

Photo by Mr Yum @ Neighbourhood Pizza

Almost every restaurant runs into the obstacle of having trouble retaining customers at some point. In order to keep customers coming back to your restaurant, you have to adapt your strategies to remain competitive. Today, this means effective customer relationship management, loyalty programs, QR menus, and more. Indeed, technology has taken over the industry, and adapting to and keeping up with it all can a challenge.

This fact is what leaves many dining establishment owners and managers wondering how to keep customers coming back to their restaurant, and the answer will always lie within the current trends.

Keeping up with current trends in the restaurant industry is vital to keep customers coming back to your restaurant. If you can't do that, then you may end up with a long line of one-time guests. The current world is growing more technology-based by the day, with new products popping up left and right having the goal of making tasks simpler. This technology is showing up in the food and drink business too.

For example, many establishments partner with delivery services to give customers the option for food to be brought to their door. This helps to retain customer loyalty without requiring the customer to attend the restaurant for a meal.

The ability to order delivery online isn't the only recent development in the restaurant business either. Ordering through a kiosk at the table, or a QR code menu via your mobile is also a popular trend. Customers love to see their orders in front of them, and they are often able to pay with the same method.

From basic third-party order and delivery to tabletop kiosks and convenient QR code menus, you'll need to stay on top of current trends within the industry to keep customers coming back to your restaurant.

How to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Restaurant

You may have gotten away with it in the beginning, but refusing to keep up with current industry trends will drive away customers eventually. Customers love what technology provides – an easy way to order, an easy way to pay, and apps that allow them to receive rewards for being such loyal customers.

That's why most restaurants nowadays have developed apps that customers can use to earn points for each visit to a restaurant, with some rewards being free items, discounts, and other promotional offers specifically for those in the loyalty program. 

Loyalty Programs

In fact, one of the best ways restaurant owners have learned how to keep customers coming back to their restaurant is through the implementation of a loyalty program. It's no secret that people love saving money, and loyalty programs help your customers do just that.

If a customer signs up for a restaurant loyalty program, the customer can then rack up points through purchases to gain rewards. Rewards range from coupons, discounts, and free items to even receiving a gift card for their loyalty.

Customer Relationship Management

A loyalty program can be effective on its own, allowing customers to earn and spend points based on their purchases. But it’s most effective when integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) software. In fact, the demand for CRM is only accelerating, not only in the food and beverage industry but in every industry.

CRM software allows you to manage and communicate with your customers in a scalable way. It will track your customers' behaviors, habits, and purchases, allowing for personalized notifications, offers, and rewards.

Ultimately, this will create a satisfying customer experience that will keep customers coming back to your restaurant. Not only does your business “get” them (thanks to data-driven CRM software), but it also rewards them in ways that are meaningful to them. 

Email Lists

Unlike loyalty programs, email lists aren't a way to rack up points to receive discounts and rewards. Instead, emails are typically sent out to customers offering promotional deals, discount codes, and updates about the restaurant. These deals and discount codes don't come from a point system; they're simply sent out to whoever is on the list. 

Online Menus

Online menus are becoming increasingly common among restaurants. While it’s a fairly basic feature, customers are able to view a menu before going to a restaurant, and they have the option to read the menu on a mobile device instead of touching a menu that has passed through dozens of hands.

With online menus, restaurants can also choose to give customers the option to order online. This is often used for delivery or pickup orders, providing busy customers, or those who wish to have a relaxing day at home, with an easy option to eat the food whenever they choose. 

Social Media

You'd be hard-pressed to find a restaurant or eatery that doesn't have a social media page these days. Small businesses tend to have social media pages too, but they're typically less active than bigger names. People are on social media all the time, and consistently seeing advertisements or posts from a dining establishment will give them an idea of what it serves, as well as what current promotions are going on. 

Many people are also driven to restaurants where they know how employees are treated. If they see people having fun working at the business, they're more likely to frequent your restaurant since the employees are treated well. 

Pickup and Delivery

Pickup and delivery have become more common among restaurants than ever before. It isn't just pizza that's getting delivered to the homes of customers anymore. The rise of online menus has given way to a need for an online ordering system. Either through the restaurant's menu or a third-party app, customers can order food to pick up at the restaurant or have delivered to their home. 

Your Best Bets For Keeping Customers Coming Back

All of these methods for keeping customers coming back to your restaurant can be effective when done well. A couple of methods are especially effective, and when you partner with the right platform, surprisingly easy to implement.

Implementing a Customer Loyalty Program with a CRM

Loyalty programs are one of the most successful methods used to keep customers coming back to restaurants, especially when paired with a CRM that can personalize their experience. Being rewarded for their loyalty makes a customer feel appreciated and valued, thus keeping them coming back for more of what they love. 

Building an eye-catching customer loyalty program from scratch isn't easy. It's actually extremely difficult to go into it without having a background in a technology-based program or previous employment. In most cases, it's better to hire another individual or company to complete the project. 

A digital loyalty program is the best way to get customers involved with the restaurant, especially when it’s integrated with both CRM software and a QR code menu.

Customers can scan the code at their table, place their orders, and even pay via their mobile device. Their preference data will be used to inform future offers and communications. This makes things easier for both customers and employees – and customers love being in control of their experience.

Ultimately, the QR code menu, CRM, and loyalty program go hand in hand. By using the data from a CRM to send out special promotions to those participating in a loyalty program, you're marketing your business to those who are already considering becoming regular customers.

This tends to encourage more people to engage in the customer loyalty program too. If someone they know is getting personalized discounts from your restaurant, they'll likely want to reap the same benefits. 

Implementing a QR Code Menu

The most important thing to remember when integrating a QR code menu into the flow of your restaurant is that the process should be simple. Customers shouldn't be confused and have to ask several questions about how mobile ordering works, and they shouldn't be overwhelmed by too many menu options. 

When a restaurant uses a QR code digital system, they're making things more convenient for the customers and staff. Aside from convenience, a restaurant can track a customer's order history. Tracking a customer's order history can provide a restaurant with information on what promotions to send out.

While promotions that apply to all customers regardless of whether they've signed up for a loyalty program can be great, sending out personalized promotions can enable customers to use discounts on the menu items they really want, increasing their satisfaction with the experience and keeping them coming back to your restaurant.

How You Can Integrate a QR Code Menu Into Your POS

QR code menus and customer loyalty programs aren't easy to develop from scratch. They take a lot of hard work, and you still have to train employees on how to use the system once it's done. Fortunately, there are companies that do most of the work for you, with easy-to-use, ready-made systems that provide everything you need for QR code menus, loyalty programs, CRM, and more.

If you think your restaurant might benefit from the integration of a fully-featured QR code menu, you should consider contacting a company that will make the process easy.

Make the Switch and Keep Customers Coming Back

Switching systems can be difficult and/or intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. A digitized menu with amazing food photography and enticing descriptions can make a world of difference when it comes to integrating a QR code menu into your POS. It's helpful to listen to a few tips about the process.

Mr Yum is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to keep up with current trends. From stunning visual menus, order & pay, split & pay, and the option for multi-vendor ordering, customers will be in control of their experience with a web-based, hassle-free process.

The entire process is fast and easy. Technology like this is the future, and keeping up with or even moving ahead of current trends is almost sure to keep customers coming back to your restaurant. When you use Mr Yum, you won't have to worry about keeping track of the current trends; we’ll do it for you and help you stay ahead of the game.