Restaurant Loyalty: Engage your customers with TheFork Manager

Published 01.03.2024 - Last update 06.14.2024
Loyal customers dining
Table of contents
  1. How to foster restaurant customer loyalty
  2. What is customer loyalty?
  3. The benefits of prioritising loyalty for your restaurant
  4. Winning strategies to foster restaurant Customer Loyalty
  5. Want to learn more about TheFork's loyalty programme?

How to foster restaurant customer loyalty

Transforming a casual visitor into a loyal customer is a complex process. Every dish, every smile, and every interaction matters when building lasting connections with your clientele.

TheFork Manager helps you turn passing customers into steadfast regulars and is an essential tool to enhance your business management and offer diners a memorable experience every time.

What is customer loyalty?

In the restaurant industry, customer loyalty means building a trust-based relationship with customers to encourage them to return regularly. It goes beyond delivering excellent quality of food and service, it's about providing a consistent and remarkable experience each and every time.

The benefits of prioritising loyalty for your restaurant

Fostering customer loyalty is a strategic investment that pays off on multiple levels. By focusing on loyalty, you invest in your restaurant's reputation while creating a community around your brand image.

By prioritising loyalty, your restaurant has the opportunity to maximise the lifetime value of every customer passing through your doors.

Gaucho, a restaurant chain operating in 20 locations across the UK, rewards its diners for each visit using the Yums loyalty programme, incentivising them to return. Through the programme, the customer benefits twice, having been rewarded by Gaucho for their return custom, and through TheFork in the form of ‘Yums’ which can be spent at hundreds of other restaurants.

Every additional visit from a returning customer represents not only a guaranteed sale but also a chance to increase their average spend. Loyal customers are often more open to exploring the menu when placing an order, including chef suggestions or special menu items.

By strengthening your clientele's loyalty, you build a solid foundation for your restaurant, ensuring a stable and growing source of income as well as accruing new ambassadors who will recommend you far and wide.

How word-of-mouth can increase your restaurant’s reputation

Your reputation is one of your greatest assets. Through word-of-mouth, consumers share their positive experiences, attracting new customers curious to discover what you offer. Loyal customers are often the best testimonials for the quality of your offerings. This type of organic marketing is invaluable: personal recommendations have a much stronger impact than traditional advertisements because they are perceived as more sincere and reliable.

Word-of-mouth is no longer limited to a small circle of friends and family. Sharing social media snaps of great food is all part of the restaurant experience for many, turning loyal customers into prolific micro-influencers.

By prioritising loyalty, you encourage your customers to return, where they may become an ambassador for your brand, reinforcing your reach as well as your reputation.

Winning strategies to foster restaurant Customer Loyalty

So, what can you do to maximise your chances of turning one-off customers into repeated guests? Here are five tried and tested methods to try:

Offer rewards with TheFork’s Yums Loyalty Programme

A well-designed loyalty programme rewards your guests for their custom and helps to build a valuable relationship with them.

With TheFork's Yums loyalty programme, restaurants can take advantage of a ready-made offering. When you join TheFork and a diner reserves in your restaurant through the app, they automatically receive 100 points – or Yums. Once they reach 1,000 Yums, these points can be converted into discounts on future visits. It's a simple yet powerful system that values each visit and transforms casual customers into regulars.

Moreover, customers who book restaurants via TheFork are often encouraged to leave reviews. An increase in bookings through the Yums programme can lead to more reviews, improving your restaurant's online reputation.

The Yums loyalty programme acts as a true loyalty engine, making each reservation more attractive. Customers feel rewarded and appreciated, strengthening their bond with your restaurant. By joining TheFork Manager, you offer your customers the opportunity to be part of a community of food enthusiasts, where each meal offers them future benefits.

Want to learn more about TheFork's loyalty programme?

Feel free to fill out our form, and someone from our team will get in touch with you.

Special Offers: The Personal Touch that Makes a Difference

Offering special deals to your customers is a winning strategy for building loyalty. TheFork Manager allows you to set up special offers during your preferred time slots to acquire new customers and retain them. A customer benefiting from special offers ranging from 20% to 50% off is often a happy customer who will return to your restaurant even without promotional offers. The advantage of these offers is twofold: they boost your visibility on TheFork platform, attract a wider audience, and increase customer satisfaction, encouraging them to return.

Offering a diverse range of small plates inspired by Greek cuisine, The Real Greek experienced a significant uplift in bookings during TheFork Festival – a celebration of restaurant culture where customers can book one of our best restaurants and get up to 50% off food and exclusive offers.

The Real Greek’s surge in bookings highlighted the Festival’s success when it comes to attracting new diners, but backing it up with high quality food and service meant that those customers went on to become regular guests.

Ensure the customer experience is central to your restaurant

As The Real Greek shows, customer loyalty relies on an exceptional experience from booking to billing.

TheFork Manager's database functionality gives restaurant managers all the tools they need to turn casual diners into regulars. And by taking the admin off their hands, it frees them up to offer the customer the best experience possible.

When a customer reserves online at your restaurant, our all-in-one software automatically creates a customer profile with their name, surname, email address, and phone number. A profile is created regardless of the digital channel through which the customer booked (TheFork, TripAdvisor, Google, the Michelin Guide, your website, or your social networks). You can also easily create a profile on TheFork Manager for telephone reservations or walk-in customers on the database, which is entirely private to your restaurant.

When a customer profile is created in TheFork Manager, you can modify it and add any comments you wish, for example: the customer's birthday, allergies to certain products, or specific dietary habits. This allows you to anticipate their needs and, during the ordering process, address them personally. In practical terms, this allows servers to offer a guest their favourite wine, adjust the cooking of their dish according to their previous tastes, or even offer allergen-free menus if appropriate. This personalised management enhances customer loyalty, transforming each visit into a unique and memorable experience.

Make communications count with SMS and Email Campaigns

After a customer's visit, use the collected email address to send them targeted campaigns via email or SMS.

Whether it's post-visit satisfaction surveys, a monthly newsletter, unique offers, or announcements of your special events, each message is an opportunity to remind your customers of their importance to you and encourage them to return. These targeted and relevant communications strengthen customers' sense of belonging to your community and increase the likelihood of repeat visits.

Elevate your restaurant’s social media presence

Just as restaurants can leverage their returning customers’ social media platforms, they can also use their own to build authentic relationships with their customers.

Share captivating stories, and images of your most appealing dishes, and showcase the unique aspects of your restaurant to create an emotional connection with your followers.

With TheFork Manager, you can integrate reservation buttons for free on your social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, simplifying the booking process for your customers and consolidating all your reservations in TheFork Manager. It's an effective strategy to foster and expand your community. By regularly interacting with your customers on these platforms, responding to their comments, and sharing their content, you build a relationship of trust and engagement that will encourage them to return and recommend you to their networks.

Read more about how TheFork Manager is helping restaurants across the UK.