There’s an old line in most businesses that states it is easier to keep old customers around than it is to get a new one, and that is the same for bars, breweries, and restaurants. You can have the best food, drinks, ambiance, and a location that other businesses would kill for, but if you are only ever bringing in new customers and not keeping old ones you will have a problem.
You are either going to go out of business when the new customers dry up, or you are going to not run your business at its full potential. Either way, you are going to have issues, so how do you stop this? Customer loyalty, because that is what keeps your customers coming back and you need to focus on building it quickly.
Here’s how to do it.
Get To Know Your Customers
Especially whenever you are first starting out, you want to treat those first few customers to your business like they are the greatest customers in the world. Treat them like kings and queens, and talk to them. Learn their names, answer their questions, take their orders seriously, and just try your best to show them a good time.
Customer service is what is going to keep people around and will keep them coming back, because people will never forget how you made them feel. If you pull out all the stops and treat your customers well, and continue to do so even after you become famous, then you will have a strong customer base that will help you outreach to others.
Keep Up Consistency With Your Products
Whether you’ve offered your drinks and food to a customer one time, or 1,000 times, you need to make sure it is always good. Because customers expect consistency and will expect that the first drink you serve them is going to taste the same as the 101st.
Especially since your customers are going to remember any bad experiences they have with your products and that can make it even harder for them to come back next time.
Additionally, try to keep up consistency with your service as well. This doesn’t mean don’t innovate, but it does mean that you should try to focus on having a baseline of how your service should interact with the customers and then trying to meet or exceed that line as your restaurant, bar, or brewery grows.
Create a Membership Club
It’s well known in today’s membership driven world that a membership club fosters community, and you can take advantage of this by having your restaurant, bar, or brewery have a membership club. You can offer special deals to your members, allow them to try new items on the menu first, or even give a special discount to people in the club.
Additionally, a membership club also allows you to get the contact information of your customers, and then you can have another avenue to go down when you market to them.
Your customers will want to keep coming back and reaping all the benefits of your customer loyalty membership program, and that gives you even more from the relationship as you can continue to market to your members and encourage others to join!
Offer Discounts and Happy Hours
Everyone is happy at a happy hour, and if your business can keep its happy hours consistent, then you might find that they are the busiest times for your business! Marketing and showing off your discounts and happy hours, and especially pairing some of your best drinks and food items together, can keep your customers coming in all while allowing them to try some of your best menu items.
Just make sure to be clear about when discounts start and end, and also make sure that your happy hours are occurring on the same day and time. A lot of businesses try to mix things up and have different times on different days, but all that ends up doing is confusing and frustrating your customers, and frustrated customers aren’t going to come back!
Share The Stories Of Your Business
We connect with stories as humans, and as you are building your business, you want as many of your new customers to know and share those stories as possible. So if you have a brewery, take your customers on a brew tour and tell them how their favorite drinks are made. If you own a restaurant, make the story of how your restaurant was founded a prominent part of your business, and so on.
Being connected to your customers through a story helps to make your customers feel like they belong, and then they will continue to come back to your business. Tell your old stories and also make sure that your customers are there whenever you make new ones because that will really be inspiring for loyalty.
Don’t Rush Customer Loyalty
Finally, the first few months or even years of opening a bar, brewery, or restaurant can seem like ‘ride or die’ where you are desperately trying to keep the lights on and get some customers talking. You can’t rush customer loyalty though, because that builds over time, and while you can do a lot of things to support it, eventually it is all on the customer to decide to be loyal to your business.
Customer loyalty will take a bit to grow, but it will be strong and powerful whenever it finally does grow for you, and it won’t wither and die either, so you will have loyal customers for life!
So don’t feel like you need to spend a ton of time pushing customer loyalty. Just focus on making your bar, brewery, or your restaurant the best thing your customer has ever experienced. The loyalty will grow on its own after that, and soon you’ll be the best place on the block with a horde of loyal customers on your side!