Repeat business is essential to keep a restaurant afloat, and in most restaurants it should account for at least a third of your overall revenue. Not only do repeat customers bring in their wallets time after time; perhaps their most lucrative worth is the word of mouth advertising they provide. While restaurant marketing groups like AaronAllen.com can help you get your restaurant in front of searching customers, loyal brand ambassadors can do far more for your business aims in tightknit communities. Want to bring in more customers? You better hope your current patrons head out and spread the word. These are the reasons your restaurant might not be securing return customers, so go through this list and determine what changes you can implement to garner patron loyalty.
You Don’t Serve Alcohol
You might have a moral aversion to it, or you might have found that the permits were impossible to deal with; whatever the reason, not serving alcohol in a restaurant can have a major effect on your profits and result in customers choosing not to return. Many restaurant patrons view alcoholic beverages as an integral part of the dining out experience, and alcohol sales make up a large portion of restaurant profits for most establishments. Some restauranteurs struggle to secure the proper licenses and permits, especially in highly competitive and saturated metropolitan areas. If that’s the case, consider using a brokerage service like LicenseLocators.com to help you finagle the deal.
Your Customer Service is Lacking
Customer service is the single most important thing you can offer to customers in efforts to entice them to return to your restaurant. You might serve the best hamburger this side of the Mississippi, but if your customers feel put off by your wait staff, you can bet they’ll find another burger joint in which to spend their money. “The customer is always right” is an old adage, but its validity hasn’t changed. We’re in an age of customer appreciation, and if you want to build up brand loyalty to your establishment, you need to focus your efforts on making each and every guest feel welcome and appreciated. Train your staff well to teach them to put in the extra effort for customers; tipping is incentive enough, but sometimes your staff might need a little reminder of the importance of keeping guests happy. If customers complain repeatedly about rude waiters, hire new staff. If your patrons have complained about waiting too long to receive their food, be sure you’re not understaffed and bring more workers on board.
You Haven’t Found Your Niche
Restaurant competition is fierce. What makes your restaurant so special? Good food isn’t the answer. It should be, but it’s simply not enough in this day and age. Customers that head out for a meal are looking for something that makes their dining experience unique. That’s not to say you need to have your waiters wearing costumes or serving all of the meals on rollerblades to make a spectacle out of your business. Become memorable through your niche. If your restaurant doesn’t have a clear concept, your customers might be confused about what you do best, and are therefore unprepared to tell others about your products and the experience they had. Take a look around at your business. Do you have the right restaurant furniture that’s both comfortable for your customers and matches your motif? Could the building do with a new coat of paint? Is your kitchen spick and span with a ground clean enough to eat off of? Appearance matters, so do your part to make it look as enticing as possible.
Your Menu is Confusing
If you have too many items on your menu, and it takes customers half an hour just to get through all of your offerings, you’re doing your restaurant a disservice. A menu that’s too large will lead your customers to a sense of confusion, and they’ll be unsure what the focus of your restaurant is and may not be able to determine what it is you do best. The longer it takes a customer to choose an item to order, the more money you lose, as waiters must put in more service time and tables remained filled, which could see you losing out on other customers. Go through your menu and discard items you don’t need, allowing yourself to highlight the specialty foods you do best—and those that will make the biggest impression on your customers.