The dining experience in the 21st century isn't the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Modern day innovations have created a platform for restaurateurs to form valuable interactions with diners, creating a long-term and sustainable relationship.
Here at First Table, we've compiled a collection of what we feel are the most important attributes any restaurant owner can adopt as a way of 'going the extra mile' and creating dining experiences that are memorable for the customer and beneficial for you as a business, through creating a genuine diner fanbase.
"Arrive as a customer, be treated as a guest, leave as a fan."
- James O'Connell - The Hospitality Company
Customer Retention is Key
Repeat diners are the lifeblood of any restaurant. Delivering a stellar experience is the foundation of creating a loyal customerbase, but having the right tools and techniques up your sleeve will guarantee that guests that fall in love with your restaurant are in a hurry to come back.
Create a Customer Database
Having a CRM network assists all organisations in monitoring business growth along with communicating and gaining insight from loyal customers. Surprisingly, 95% of restaurants don't maintain a regularly updated customer database. Software such as MailChimp and InfusionSoft can efficiently align all communications with your fan base to give you the competitive edge over other restaurants.
Make Direct Contact with Diners Following a Visit
So your customers have had a fantastic dining experience, where to from here? Now that you've incorporated an effective CRM system, maximise it's efficiency by making the first point of contact following a customer visit.
When communicating with diners, treat them personally. If a customer feels they are being marketed to, they are less likely to want to come back.
Be Seen Online
The years of the phone book are over. In this day and age, your new customers' first impressions of your restaurant are made in cyberspace, thus, having a prominent online presence is a must. Check out our tips below!
Harness the Power of Bloggers
In the age of Instagram, food bloggers and influencers garner a cult-like following among food lovers. Getting a blogger to promote your restaurant is a relatively affordable way to expose your establishment to consumers with a genuine interest. In exchange for a meal, your influencer will share their experience with an audience of engaged individuals. Furthermore, be sure to maintain a presence on blogs yourself, by commenting on other blogs, this is a simple method of diverting web traffic to your content.
Appear in Search Results
Your restaurant's presence in search results is vital in terms of reaching first time diners. Being visible on Google is a great start, and Google Business facilitates a free, user-friendly platform for restaurateurs to maximise your exposure to prospective diners. From here, there are options to add opening hours, images and contact details among other features.
Get Social Media Savvy
Restaurants who master social media create content that exceeds customer expectations, but thats not all, check out more of our tips below on how to profit off your restaurant's social media success.
Listen and Respond to Reviews
While reviews may not always be positive, taking the time to read and respond to feedback or criticism on social media shows your audience you care about their needs. If a review is negative, apoligise, show empathy and look for a solution to the issue. Likewise, if positive, thank them for their feedback and maintain a friendly demeanour throughout.
Maintain a Consistent Theme
This means keeping a constant brand voice across all social media platforms. Whether it be through your imagery, logo or text, customers are more likely to become conditioned to your brand after repeated exposure to consistent content across multiple channels.