Some restaurants don’t rely on repeat customers for their business. If your restaurant is located in an airport, you just need to get new customers who are flying in and out of that airport and it doesn’t matter if you don’t see them again for a while. To a lesser extent the same is true of areas where most of the customers are tourists. International Drive and Resorts near Disney and other Orlando attractions may have a similar philosophy. For most restaurant entrepreneurs, however, an important part of your restaurant business is based on getting customers to become regulars, coming back every month, every week, or even daily. Here are some tips from One Fat Frog on why restaurant customers become repeat customers.
Location, location, location
Your restaurant’s location is a major factor in attracting regular repeat customers. There is one sandwich shop that I visit on a regular basis for lunch because it’s in my price range and because it’s close to the One Fat Frog office. Restaurants that are close to a person’s workplace are more likely to attract them as lunch customers and for Happy Hour drinks after work. Being near a school can also make students and their parents repeat customers. Studies have shown that most car accidents happen within a few miles of your home. This is consistent with travel patterns. Increased travel equates to increased possibility of accidents to happen.
For those who live in Orlando near Disney you may know there is a clear demarcation of where the locals eat/ shop/ live and where tourists work/ shop / stay. It’s important to be in traffic patterns, routes and regular established roads unless you are a destination eatery that will attract based on ethnic cuisine or similar focus.
Do you have super low prices on drinks for Happy Hour? If so, you’re going to get a lot of early evening visitors, especially once the Frog office closes for the day. Do you have the best appetizer sampler around? People might come back for that. Are your tacos half-priced every Tuesday? You can expect to see some of the same faces chowing down on tacos every week.
Do you do trivia every Wednesday night? There are large groups of customers who will go to your restaurant every Wednesday to take part in Trivia Night, often with the same teams, especially if they are competing for prizes like gift cards (this Frog just won a gift card from trivia last night, btw). The same holds true for karaoke, live bands, and any other type of entertainment that your restaurant provides. Some Mexican restaurants get repeat customers because people like to see the live Mariachi band on Friday nights.
This one is simple. If your food is great, customers will come back to eat it again. If it’s great every time they have it, they might keep coming back.
Ambiance and service
Does your restaurant have the perfect ambiance of being slightly romantic but not too romantic? Some men will go to your restaurant for every first date they have (we’re creatures of habit). Are you near a college and are a fun place to watch sports? Some customers will come to your restaurant for every big game. If your ambiance fits what customers want to use your restaurant for, they could keep coming back whenever they need that environment. If the service makes them feel welcome, they’ll want to come back to feel that way again. So listen to the Frog and turn you restaurant customers into regulars.