Why do a lot of restaurants fail? Itís not because they donít have a restaurant website. Itís because they just canít get a large repeat customer base. Think about it: Customers going to your restaurant for the first time is like going on a first date: You want to impress them so bad. You pull out all the stops: you get the table setting ready, greet them with a warm smile, and make sure theyíre having a great time. This is in hopes theyíll say yes to a second date.
The challenge is getting the second date.
Having dined at hundreds of restaurants over your lifetime, you begin notice what works, and what doesnít. Here are four ways to land a second date with your customers:
1. Train Your Staff
Well-trained staff make a world of difference. Employees should know your menu back-to-front and be able to recommend their favorite menu items - with a smile. Bonus: if they can pair wine, youíve got a stellar team member on your hands.
2. Make the Little Things Big
Customers enjoy when every last detail is taken care of - and it goes beyond refilling the water glass. Take care of to-go containers, replace silverware for dessert, or have your server write thank you on the bill. Make little things count and youíll definitely have happier customers.
3. Show Customers Youíre Human
Many of our favorite dining experiences have been when weíre able to connect with our server - even if itís just about the weather. Your servers are there to serve guests and build rapport. Allow them to open up. Itís an enjoyable experience when youíre served by a human and not a scripted robot. (While robots are awesome, they should be left in the toy bin).
4. Ask for Another ďDateĒ
There are many restaurants who do a great job at closing the deal. They actually ask for another date. Saying something to the effect of ďI hope you enjoyed your time at Restaurant XYZ. Come back and see us againĒ is powerful. It shows you value their business - first time or not. Do your servers ask for a second date?
There are hundreds of ways to attract repeat customers. Find what works for your restaurant and stick with it. Continually impress your customers and youíll find yourself in a
mutually-beneficial long-term relationship.