What methods to retain customers in catering?

When you are a restaurateur, retaining your customers represents the guarantee of regular income and lower acquisition costs. While a A study commissioned by the Lightspeed checkout software reveals that one in two consumers (50%) say they are restricting their dining out, customer retention seems obvious and an absolute necessity to counter the drop in attendance. Overview of methods and tools to bring back customers and ensure recurring income.

Restaurant subscription plans: the hot trend

Like sports halls or streaming platforms, more and more restaurants are setting up subscription formulas to retain their customers. Originally initiated in the United States (with the Taco Bell chain as a pioneer), other brands in Europe and France have followed suit, such as the restaurants Del Arte or Prêt à manger which offer a subscription for a few tens of euros per month offering their customers a certain number of free meals or drinks per day. Del Arte has chosen a formula at 34.99 euros per month (with a six-month commitment) giving customers the opportunity to enjoy a free pizza or pasta dish per day.

If the subscription formula has the merit of sustaining regular income over the long term, restaurateurs must however find the ideal counterparties to encourage customers to subscribe to their subscription (or to renew it). A free dish per day to be selected from a menu, discount on the flagship dish, exclusive dishes reserved for subscribers or even private events are some examples of incentives to promote.

Another major advantage: the collection of data on consumption habits and the profile of subscribers, when subscribing and for the duration of the subscription, which restaurateurs can use to refine their menu or improve their service.

While more than two out of three French people (71%) have already taken out a subscription for all services (streaming, delivery, etc. – Harris Poll 2020 study), the restaurant subscription has a bright future ahead of it, provided it can be set up successfully.

Collecting data on your customers: the first step in building customer loyalty

Laura Stagno, Country Manager France at Lightspeed

To set up an effective loyalty program or an incentive subscription formula, the collection of data on the behavior and expectations of its customers is essential. For this, restaurateurs can rely on technological tools to better detect the consumption habits of their guests.

For example, order terminals or online ordering tools via QR code allow you to collect valuable data (email, address, age) essential to build and segment your database afterwards. Via the tool or by sending an email, they also make it possible to collect customer opinions, which are valuable for optimizing its service/menu or identifying weak points, but also, for example, for providing customers with promotional offers. exclusive.

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All-in-one cash register software has the advantage of being able to collect both quantitative (average ticket, visit frequency, most ordered dishes, etc.) and qualitative data (possible allergies, food preferences, special requests) allowing restaurateurs to feed their customer profiles and offer a more personalized service – maximizing their chances of seeing their guests return.

By having an objective and synthetic vision, building your loyalty program becomes an easier task. A dish is popular in the lunch service? This is an additional opportunity to put it forward on its menu in its subscription formula.

Personalizing the customer relationship: a pledge of loyalty

For a relationship to last, you have to be involved and show constant signs of caring. It is the same in catering to prevent customers from going elsewhere. One of the keys to retaining coveted customers? Demonstrate personalization. Whether it’s reviving dormant customers who haven’t set foot in a while or rewarding loyal customers, personalization is key.

Discount on their favorite dish, voucher for a birthday, exclusive invitation to try a new dish: personalizing the relationship with customers is not only a matter of the right offer, but also of timing.

Here again, advanced cash register software is an ideal ally for deciding the right time: last visit, average ticket over the last six months or even the most ordered dishes are all data that can be used to optimize your loyalty program and send, for example , its promotional offer at the right time.

If the content of the offer and the timing are important, the channels for developing a successful loyalty program are just as important.

SMS: the number one asset of restaurateurs

98% of people read their text messages within 3 minutes of sending them, compared to an opening rate of only 22% for emailing (source: the Echommerce). A communication channel that is still underused by many restaurateurs, for fear of too much intrusiveness or too restrictive sending management.

To remedy this, many foodtech players like Hey Pongo are dusting off customer nurturing via the SMS channel: from deliverability to sending and managing unsubscriptions, the tool takes care of everything. Restaurateurs are responsible for programming SMS campaigns according to customer profiles or consumption habits.

By integrating a loyalty management tool into their cash register software, restaurateurs connect their sales data with each customer profile, making it possible to automate the sending of SMS to match the expenses or the frequency of customer visits!

Whether it’s subscription formulas or a more classic loyalty program, having a regular niche of customers is essential, but its success depends on the collection of reliable data (cash software, reservation tool , online ordering) and setting up timely campaigns.

Author: Laura StagnoCountry Manager France of Lightspeed

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