One-time visitors aren’t the bread and butter of established restaurants.

In fact, acquiring new customers is up to five times more expensive than retaining the old ones. Plus, repeat customers spend 67% more than new ones.

But how do you turn one-time customers into regulars? What’s the secret sauce for boosting customer loyalty and retention?

Well, look no further! Here are seven effective ways to promote and boost your local restaurant.

7 Quick Tips for Boosting Customer Loyalty

Launch customer loyalty programs

Launch customer loyalty programs

One of the best ways to retain a customer is through customer loyalty programs. This retention tactic allows you to offer special discounts to old customers and motivate them to continue buying from you.

A great example of this is a Points Program, where customers can track points using a loyalty card. They can redeem their points for a free meal or drink of their choice. 

You can also leverage the power of email marketing in distributing these offers. Email marketing is one way to gain solid ROI. In fact, for every $1 spent, email marketers get an average of $42 back.

READ: 7 Best Email Marketing Practices for Small Businesses (Templates + Samples) 

Offer special promos or incentives 

 Let’s face it: who doesn’t want to receive an incentive? People can’t get enough of special promos and discounts. In fact, 54% of consumers admit they’ve made an impulse purchase because of a coupon.

Want to entice existing customers to keep coming back? Take notes of these great promo ideas:

  • Offer an irresistible discount on their next order.
  • Hand out $5 coupons for first-time visitors or online buyers.
  • Provide limited-time offers to existing customers.

These promos may cost you a tad bit more, but they’ll bring you great returns in the long run once you gain your customers’ loyalty.

Implement an online ordering system

Implement an online ordering system

With the pandemic going on, online ordering systems are at a high. A restaurant with online ordering system not only helps get your restaurant out there, it also opens a new channel for old and new customers to order from you!

With plenty of ordering systems popping out like mushrooms, it can be difficult to find the right platform for your restaurant. Food ordering apps often require a hefty commission from businesses for every order. That cost should already help you cope with today’s unprecedented times.

Third-party services like EatDirect give your restaurant the exposure to reach a broader audience online while keeping your restaurant doors closed. The good thing is that, unlike food marketplaces, you get 100% of your profits while having a website you can call your own.

Host charitable events or causes

A better way to retain customers is to show them you have a heart. People love businesses that support the community and its relevant organisations.

Here are two excellent ways you can do that:

  • Buying local produce – Sourcing your ingredients from local farmers allows you to maintain your relationship with the community. On a side note, local produce is organic and a lot healthier! 
  • Hosting a fundraising event – Don’t just sulk in your kitchen — get involved with your community! Organising an event for charity shows you’re not just out for yourself, but care about causes that speak with your brand.

Hold virtual game nights or events

Hold virtual game nights or events

While it may not be possible to shake hands or interact with each other face-to-face, you can always host virtual game nights or events to liven up your restaurant a bit.

No idea how? If your restaurant allows takeouts, satiate your customers’ cravings while they participate in your virtual game event. This tactic is a fail-safe way of creating a buzz within your community.

Talk about a competitive edge!

List your restaurant in online directories

People nowadays use their phones to find restaurants and make orders on the go. Listing your local restaurant in online directories is a great way to gain exposure and lead your customers to your physical store.

Think yellow pages, but online. Not only does it increase your business’s visibility, but it also promotes your restaurant to a wider audience as well.

Simply put, the more you list your restaurant in online directories, the more customers are able to find you through search engines.

This is a surefire way to get more new customers and boost their trust and loyalty to your brand.

Get feedback and take it to heart

Get feedback and take it to heart

Customers love to be heard. As the saying goes, customers are your best critics.

Listen to what they want to say, like a change in the menu or even switching up the décor. When someone suggests something that’s right up your alley, try it out. It’s a great way of letting them know you listened and made changes.

But because of the pandemic, it’s still unsafe to physically hand out feedback forms.

One great alternative is to start asking for reviews. Or better yet, get their email address and send them a survey whenever they check in with your restaurant.

Drive customers to your doorstep!

Once you’ve incorporated all these in your marketing strategy, it’s no brainer you’ll turn one-time customers into repeating ones. Plus, with everything going on today, competition is fierce. Make sure to put these tips to play to get customers flooding to your doorstep and keep them coming back for more. 

Stay up to date with all the marketing trends. Learn more about the latest marketing insights here.