When running a restaurant you will most definitely rely on regular clientele.  It will be these people who help to boost your profits and who recommend your restaurant to their family, friends and colleagues. In fact, the best form of marketing and advertising is word of mouth so treat them well and they will treat you well in return. 

It might be they visit once a week, once a month or regularly hold business lunches at your restaurant so it’s important to keep them happy because once you start losing loyal customers it’s hard to entice them back.  As soon as standards slip or perhaps a new, hip restaurant opens you could find your best customers starting to disappear so encouraging customer loyalty is a large part of keeping your restaurant successful.  It doesn’t end there either, you want to encourage new loyal customers and there are various methods you can adopt to do this as well as keeping old ones happy.  Here are a few useful tips from Alliance to help you grow a loyal customer base:

  • Be Visible

It’s good to put a name to a face so if you’re the owner of your restaurant be visible to customers as much as you can.  Introduce yourself, ask people if they are enjoying their meal or if there is anything you can do to make their experience more enjoyable.  Remember people’s names and faces because there’s nothing better than the personal touch!  Greeting people by their name (do use their salutation to be polite Mr, Mrs, Miss etc.) makes people feel valued and welcomed.  If you can’t be available and you know you have regulars in, you could send them a personal email after their meal saying you hope they enjoyed their time spent at your restaurant.


  • Be Social

This means get online and use social networking to grow your business.  Adding images of your delicious dishes and updates on what you are doing at your restaurant will pique interest.  You can also offer discounts and special offers via social media.  Encourage your followers to post about their experience at your restaurant and always respond to their updates on your page.  This shows you are interested in what they are saying and that you appreciate their time taken to post.  Social media is all about being interactive and this engages people.  It also creates a more informal atmosphere making your restaurant an approachable, comfortable place to be.  On a final note, interact with your local community through social media and post on other business pages in your area – this helps to boost your visibility with those who live and work in your neighbourhood.

  • Start A Blog

Every restaurant business should have a blog because of the benefits.  Not only does it get your name on the online map and encourage hits on your website, it also promotes the social side of your restaurant.  By talking about new recipes, giving out cooking hints and tips or reviewing an event held in your restaurant you will be engaging with an audience interested in what you do.  The more followers you gather, the more people will want to visit your restaurant and experience what you have to offer.

  • Organise Special Restaurant Events

Perhaps think about having themed nights at your restaurant such as a wine tasting evening or a night to celebrate something special like a sporting event, heritage event or a local event.  People normally enjoy trying something different and if you put on some interesting entertainment they will be back for more!

  • It’s The Little Things…

If you have particular regular customers why not reward them?  Every now and then it’s nice to serve up a complimentary slice of cake with a cup of coffee, just because!  Or if it’s their birthday, why not whip up a Happy Birthday dessert with their name on it as a special surprise?  Being good to your customers is always rewarded by customer loyalty and little gestures of appreciation make a huge difference.


  • Reward Your Staff

If your staff are happy, they will make great leaps to ensure your customers are happy too.  No customer wants to be served by a grumpy waiter or an aloof waitress so keep your staff satisfied and encourage their good service by offering them incentives and appreciating how hard they work.

  • Give Out Loyalty Cards

Loyalty cards are an excellent way to encourage customers to return and perfect for new customers who you want to turn into regulars.  Get loyalty cards printed in your brand livery and every time a new customer comes in, give them a card after they’ve finished their meal or picked up their takeaway morning cappuccino.  The card should encourage them to re-visit and collect stamps with every meal or coffee they have, once they’ve collected a certain number of stamps reward them with something for free.

  • Get Involved With The Community

Being involved with your community helps to bring customers in and it’s often the locals who make the best repeat customers.  So, use the businesses around you and help to boost their businesses too.  For example, purchase your food supplies from a local farm and promote this, this could be picking your fresh berries from a berry farm, sourcing your meat and eggs from a farm etc.  Why not get involved in local events? You can always organise a stand and perhaps provide indulgent food tasting. Additionally, see if there are any local artists willing to display their artwork in your restaurant….think about creative ways you can help local businesses and vice versa.

We hope these tips help you to encourage a loyal customer base for your restaurant.  For everything you need from cutlery and crockery, napkins and uniforms to large scale kitchen appliances and more please visit Alliance Catering, specialist suppliers to the restaurant and hotel trade.