Restaurant owners and managers are always looking for ways to win more repeat customers. Whether it’s by updating their menu or hosting themed events, sometimes it can feel like they’ve explored every possibility.
With repeat customers spending 67% more than first-time customers, it’s no wonder they’re essential to a restaurant’s success.
But sometimes we ignore one of the most important elements for identifying new ways to keep customers coming back: data!
Data is the most powerful tool at your disposal; it helps you base your decisions on actual information, not just a hunch. That’s not to say you should eliminate instinct completely—but when you pair instinct with data, your decision-making becomes data-driven, and you can maximize results and minimize risks.
The main tool you should be using to make decisions and gain new customers? Your restaurant’s point of sale (POS) system.
Let’s talk about POS marketing and how you can win more repeat customers with the tools at your disposal.
3 ways to use data to win more repeat customers:
- Use point of sale reports to improve service
- Create a loyalty program to incentivize repeat visits
- Use social proof to attract more customers
Use point of sale reports to improve service
In the restaurant industry, the quality and consistency of your customer service plays a huge role in getting customers to come back again and again.
The good news? Your point of sale’s reports can give you the information you need to improve your service and deliver consistently amazing service.
There are three types of reports in particular that you should explore: 1) hours reports, 2) product reports and 3) shift reports.
This report gives you an overview of how many transactions your restaurant processes by hour.
Why are hours reports useful?
Great service starts with having enough servers and kitchen staff scheduled to support demand.
By analyzing your hours report, you get a better understanding of your busiest days and services, and can schedule enough staff to handle the influx of customers.
This report displays your best and worst-selling menu items, and your top 10 best-selling products over a set timeframe.
Why are product reports useful?
Looking at your product reports on a consistent basis will let you know how your products are performing.
Are there certain products that are selling well this month? Your product report can give you insight into which of your menu items are the most popular.
Use this information to inform which menu items you include in promotions, which menu items you can bundle together (in a taster’s menu, for instance) and which menu items need a rework to become more attractive options for your customers.
The shift report summarizes the revenue each of your servers generates (i.e: how much revenue the tables they serve generate) over the date range you choose.
Why are shift reports useful?
By identifying your best-performing servers and the ones who may need additional training, you can ensure that each of your servers is properly trained and capable of delighting the customers they serve.
Consider scheduling your star servers during your busiest business hours to maximize profits per service. Your under-performing employees, on the other hand, may benefit from additional training and shadowing to serve your guests better. Alternatively, consider building an employee handbook so that each server you hire gets properly onboarded and is in a position to succeed from the first day they’re hired onwards.
Create a loyalty program to incentivize repeat visits
A loyalty program is a surefire way to have customers visit your establishment on a regular basis.
The reason they’re so effective for driving repeat visits is because you can literally incentivize guests to come back with a rewards program. The more they dine with you, the more points they earn. The more points they earn, the more rewards they receive.
And when your loyalty program integrates with your restaurant’s POS, you can gather tons of valuable customer information to find out how to motivate them to keep coming back.
Let’s say you know that a large percentage of your customers love your lattes (you can see that in your product report). You can use that to create a promotion and send it to your loyalty program members using a drag-and-drop email and SMS builder.
“This week only: Earn double rewards on all coffee purchases.”
Incentivize repeat visits by giving customers rewards for buying things they actually want.
Why create a loyalty program?
- Know what products and services each customer likes.
- Offer personalized rewards based on their tastes.
- Market to them with menu items that reflect their tastes.
- Use a drag-and-drop email builder to send exclusive offers, event invites and more.
Use of social proof to attract more customers
Okay, so this isn’t really POS marketing as much as it’s just a must for restaurant marketing, but social proof is your secret weapon for attracting customers and building a positive reputation.
What is social proof?
Social proof is a psychological concept which states that people follow the actions of a large group (i.e.: If all these people think this restaurant is awesome, the restaurant must be awesome. Let’s book a reservation online!).
If you haven’t already, set up a Google My Business (GMB) profile and a Facebook page so that your customers can submit reviews for everyone else to see. If your customer service is consistently solid, your restaurant is in a position to generate more positive online reviews, which go a long way in convincing people to try your restaurant.
And, if you get the occasional negative review online, don’t worry. By responding to negative reviews the right way, you can turn that customer feedback into an opportunity to show them how much you value them—which also helps attract future customers!
Integrate with a WiFi marketing platform
WiFi marketing turns free WiFi hotspots into marketing platforms that automatically track customer visits, build rich customer profiles, target communication more precisely and directly measure in-store impact.
Zenreach, a WiFi marketing solution, integrates with POS systems like ours to help you cross-reference your customers’ visit behavior with their transaction history. The result? Way more information that servers can use to better engage with the guests they serve.
By using both technologies, you are giving your customers more touchpoints to interact with you. A guest WiFi landing page provides a place to connect with customers that aren’t interacting with the POS. This is perfect for situations where one person might be paying for a group. While the POS captures the payer’s data, the WiFi marketing solution captures the information of anyone using your restaurant’s WiFi network.
Your restaurant’s point of sale system gives you access to a wealth of information that you can use to drive more repeat business. That information helps you create personalized service for each customer you serve.
When you understand who your customers are and what they like, you’re in a better position to provide exceptional service and generate more positive online reviews. The result? More new and return customers.
Don’t forget, data matters!