6 Ways to Drive Restaurant Sales and Repeat Sales in Bad Times (and in Good Times)

  1. Utilize loyalty programs to keep your brand in front of customers. Loyalty programs should not be looked at as just for the purpose of promoting specials and celebrating birthdays & anniversaries. Complement typical efforts with frequent messages showcasing a new menu item created by an employee or as suggested by a customer, recognizing long-term employees as well as long-time customers, and even spotlighting vendors and their efforts. As much as possible, make it personal. Use names. Make it real. Think… Loyalty & Family. Create a family-type environment to develop family-type relationships!
  2. Look at social media as the integrated platform that it is. View it as communication central. All efforts pertaining to driving positively memorable experiences should be shared across the brand’s social media platforms. Yet, not just replicated from one to another. Similar messages, but not exactly the same is key. Use a different photo with the same message. Utilize photos AND videos to allow customers a glimpse into the restaurant, front of the house and back. In addition to plates of food, let them see smiles, cleanliness and organization. Pay attention to detail as social media is highly representative of the brand in customers’ minds.
  3. Speaking of attention to detail, it’s also imperative in the restaurant itself. Think Disney or Apple. Some may question how attention to detail would drive business. Well, it drives repeat business, positive reviews, recommendations to friends & family, etc. Be proactive in creating attention to detail as an initiative to be looked at from the customer’s perspective including ALL things that may be viewed by the customer. From the parking lot to the restroom, look up and down as if on a virtual tour. Make sure everything is perfect just as would be the case if family were coming to your home for a special dinner or event.
  4. Many believe communicating with customers means talking to customers, blasting out messages, etc. but it’s also about listening. However, listening to understand as opposed to listening to speak is key. Following up AND following through with customers should be considered as a single step with parts A and B necessary to complete the action. One without the other could create issues. Ensure that customers truly believe they are being listened to and are being understood. The best way to do so is to be proactive in responses not only to their complaints and requests, but also to their kind words.
  5. Communicating after an experience may be the icing on the cake to making a customer feel loved, to feel wanted. Using a simple version of the Net Promoter System (see articles linked below) is a great way to do so. To whatever extent that may work in a particular restaurant, asking a customer to grade their experience is quite effective in ensuring repeat business, or at the very least in keeping negatives off the review sites. Sure, there are customer surveys that come along with the check but personally, I believe they’re too long and vague. Simply, two questions should be asked. On a scale of 1–10 with 10 being best, how would you rate your experience? And what could we have done to have earned a higher score, even if just by a single point? Asking these questions as close to the timing of the experience does wonders to letting a customer knows that they are truly valued. Share the results with staff for added value to the business. A side thought: ask employees the same questions of them with respect to their experience working at the restaurant?
  6. Just one more. I’m a firm believer in, just one more. Just one more item ordered. Just one more visit by a customer each week, month, etc. Just one more positive review. Just one more referral or recommendation. Just one more time to consider the restaurant. When enhancing the experience with a personal touch, just one more becomes a reality. People trust a brand but desire to do business with people. They especially want to do business with people who care, who are kind, who listen, and who go the extra mile.



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Paul Segreto

Paul Segreto

CEO at Acceler8Success Group. My goal is to be a resource for current & aspiring entrepreneurs. I strive to connect the right people, brands & opportunities!