As anyone in the restaurant business will tell you, customer loyalty is absolutely essential to success. After all, loyal customers aren’t just the ones spending money at your establishment—they’re also the people writing reviews online and telling their friends to visit. In other words, a trusting and loyal customer is worth their weight in gold. But how can you make sure your customers stay loyal?
Here are five big mistakes restaurants should avoid to maintain customer loyalty.
While your restaurant is likely to change and evolve over time, providing a consistent quality of food, service and experience is an important part of making your customers want to come back for more. People like to know what to expect when they dine at a familiar place, so consistently meeting or exceeding your customers’ expectations will help them know they can rely on your establishment for a positive experience.
2. Lack of Transparency
A big part of what makes a customer loyal to your restaurant is the degree of trust they place in your ability to feed and serve them safely. This trust can be established—and maintained—through transparency. Being upfront about where your products come from and the processes you have in place to maintain food safety and quality can help put your customers’ minds at ease while they enjoy their meal.
3. Negligent Food Safety Processes
Of course, transparency will only take you so far if you don’t have consistent and effective food safety processes in place. When a restaurant has negligent food safety processes, it’s not a matter of if they’ll face a future issue—it’s when. And once an issue occurs, regaining customer trust and repairing your reputation will take time and resources.
4. Not Acknowledging Dietary Restrictions
Similarly, your customers want to know that they can count on you to take their dietary restrictions seriously. Whether you directly acknowledge dietary restrictions on the menu or take the time to explain and accommodate a diner with questions, showing your willingness to work within specific needs can help make even the most conscientious restaurant-goer feel comfortable.
5. Failing to Address Unhappy Customers
Owning up to your restaurant mistakes and treating each customer complaint with respect and attention can go a long way in establishing your reputation as a customer-focused restaurant. But when you fail to address the concerns of unhappy customers, you risk making diners feel dismissed and undervalued.
Customer loyalty takes a long time to earn, but can be lost in a moment. By avoiding these five big mistakes restaurants make, you can establish and maintain a culture of customer loyalty that keeps your restaurant in business for a long, long time.
Improved customer relationships begin with better insight into your own practices and food supply chain. Discover the benefits of food traceability software, and learn how to communicate its value to your executives in our free guide, Selling the C-Suite on Supply Chain Traceability Software.