These days, when money is tight and employment opportunities precarious, the hospitality industry suffers loss of revenue.
If you want to be successful you must acquire loyal customers – the more the better. Once you have a sufficiently large loyal customer base, then you can set out to acquire more.
Loyal guests guarantee success, but they also do two other things – generate more business and inform you when food or service quality fails to satisfy.
Loyal guests can become unpaid “shoppers” or if you wish, consultants. They tell you the truth.
Loyal patrons spread good will, generate repeat sales and incur much less marketing expenses.
A loyal guest is worth ten times the volume of a single-purchase customer.
Loyal patrons buy more and more expensive dishes, represent less risk, and can lead to new and lucrative guests.
Once you have acquired the loyalty of a guest the overhead of marketing expenses to him/her remains the same keeping your advertising and promotion budget proportionately low.
Guests must feel that their needs are not only met, but exceed their expectations. In a pub you must know your regulars, and without even asking, serve them their favourite drink the moment they sit down.
Unhappy guests may not tell you, but will tell their friends about your establishment, loyal guests tell you first.
It is always a good idea to reward loyalty with an extra drink one in a while, or a dessert, or after dinner liqueur. The costs are negligible, but the payback huge.
Guests want value for their money, to be recognized and served quickly, appreciated and valued, and have their complaints taken care of immediately.
It is easier to build guest loyalty than getting a new patron into the establishment.
As a publican or restaurateur you know that you are meeting and exceeding your guests’ expectations when they return frequently. Remember, every visit is an experience for a guest, and any shortcoming will be remembered for a long time.
When it comes to marketing, before you plan grandiose and expensive schemes, consider guest loyalty first. If you have it, build on it. If you don’t have it, start working at it by training your staff both the front (service) and “back” (kitchen).