6 customer engagement tips for restaurants


The greatest challenge of any restaurant is to make customers return again and again. The most obvious thing to do is to enhance the customers experience by engaging with them. However the key is to create an emotional bound to your restaurant.

Here is a list of 6 incredibly simple, but highly effective ways to boost your customer engagement:

1.Emotional connection

The single most effective tip to make them come back

Most of the restaurant owners assume that it is all about the food, they hire the best chefs money can buy, come up with incredible new flavors and designs, but if your customers don’t have a sense of emotional connection,you’ll still have a hard time winning their hearts and as a result — their loyalty.

“Introduce yourself, show them around, share a fun story, always make sure that your customers know there is live human being operating the business.”

Try to search for brand ambassadors that fit with your vision, and give them some creative freedom, they will talk to your online/offline customers in a very natural way, in which traditional advertising will struggle with.

Technology

The big one

Of course, social media is a key to customer engagement, so sharing content in at least 80% (highly relevant, interesting stuff) 20% (your restaurant news and updates) proportion is an absolute must, so that you never get out of their news feed. Don’t forget to be super responsive to their inquiries and comments too.

There is another flip side of the technology coin — the environment in which your customers will get to know and order your products.

Before you rush yourself into building a new app for your awesome pizza place, have a look at this report by Forrester, with shows that 88% of US smartphone owners use only 5 downloaded apps, so instead of trying to break the habits of your audience, it is logical to start selling and increasing your customers loyalty in the environment they spend most of their time and feel the most comfortable.

Thanks to increasing popularity of a Facebook Messenger with passed an 1.2 billion active users and other chat platforms you now can not only respond to them, but also provide ordering capabilities, notify about news, send loyalty bonuses on communication channels that matters to them.

Communities and forums

Think their dead? Think again!

There are numerous communities around the location of your restaurant — travelers, food bloggers etc. Actively monitor and respond to the most relevant Facebook groups daily — it will do incredible things for your restaurant’s PR. You can also organize community partnerships with local businesses, and provide a meeting place for business meetings or organize cooking masterclasses. Love charity? — why not partner with the local charity organizations and host an auction, they frequently get some news coverage which means a free advertisement + a good deed.

Everyone loves the free stuff!

You might resist organizing contests, because it seems like everybody holds them constantly. But think of it from the other way — would we have the same picture if they didn’t work? Everybody loves the free stuff, size doesn’t matter, it can be a free drink or something more creative like a cooking class from your chef.

If you are a little bit like I am, and you hate contest, then consider a small merchandise gift at the checkout, a piece of branded chocolate or any other small gift with create an emotional bound at your place. Experiment with it!

Celebrations

If your restaurant or any local event has an anniversary on its way, why not to share and celebrate it with the loyal customers. The simpler, the better — especially if you are a casual type restaurant. For example if you own a sports bar and your local team is playing today — organize a prediction contest — and reward the winners with a prize

If a couple visits your restaurant to celebrate their special day, offer some compliments from the chef or bring in a couple glasses of champagne.

Newsletters

Lets face it — restaurant newsletters usually will find their way to the junk box the moment you receive a notification. There are two reasons for that. The first one is that your newsletters contain “junk”, and the second is that the marketing email open rates drop down each year due to an easy accessibility tools such as Mailchimp.

However there is a “new kid on the block” — chatbots. You may argue that this isn’t so new since “conventional” FAQ chatbots has been around for a while now.

With an increasing amount of users spending more and more time on various messaging platforms it might be a good idea and deliver news and restaurant update directly to the channel, that your customers enjoy using.