Whenever you talk about business, two things immediately come to mind: sales and marketing. This is true. Without a good sales pitch and marketing plan, your mission is lost and so too is your business plan. However, one factor that really successful restaurants keep in mind is creating an emotional connection with your customers. By creating a powerful sense of affinity, you are creating a power-house of a restaurant. Building relationships with every customer is by far a competitive advantage.
Have you seen the popular television show, Cheers? “Hey Norm!” Do you know your customers by name? Your customers have a story. Your employees have a story. When a customer walks into your establishment, calling them by their first name is a great way to build that emotional connection. Better yet, care enough to know their order before they even sit down and have it ready. That in-of-itself is a connection and it shows you appreciate their presence and their monetary support.
The Customer Knows Best
When it comes to being creative. Don’t spend hours on Pinterest. Instead, go right to the source: the customer. Give your customers trust. They are purchasing your goods. Your customers are tasting what you chef up in the BOH and drinking what you’re mixing in the FOH. They are your most valuable and FREE resource. By asking for their feedback and giving them a chance to provide some cool ideas to your establishment, you are proving that their opinions do matter. Encourage your customers to become your brand ambassadors!
Build a Relationship to Boost Your Margins
Your margins are not thin because your customers like you. Your margins are thin, because your customers like a cheap meal. So, to counter that, build that relationship with your customers and the return of engagement will be so much more valuable. Once you build that trust and positive rapport, you will see your margins grow.
Provide Tasty Hooks
What do I mean by hooks? I mean providing a service or menu item that really grabs the attention of your customer. I get it, sometimes the wings are just so good and the emotional connection doesn’t necessarily matter. However, just having good wings won’t retain a customer.
The next time a returning customer appears, give them a few more wings or some extra ranch. Recognize that without affinity and a formula for creating a emotional connection with your customers, your wings are just mediocre. If it’s Friday evening and you want some tasty wings, are you going to order from the place that never makes them the right way or go to the place that memorizes your number when you call and order and, on top of that, adds extra ranch of no cost to you?
Wing night here we come!
Have a Goal in Mind
Everything you provide to your customer shapes their overall experience. This is why it is overly important to work hard to provide a positive and tasteful experience each and every time. Your question is, how can I attract and retain as much customers as possible? You want to capture your customers hearts, minds, and when in the restaurant industry, their stomachs. That is how.
You want customers to feel strongly about your business. You want them to enter your establishment and have all of their senses activated. It’s not any different than any other relationship, you must have that emotional piece or things will drift apart. It takes effort but will add positively to your bottom-line.
Emotionally connected customers, they buy more often from your business.
Happy Customers Are Your Advocates
The last phase of inbound marketing is delighting your customers. Happy and delighted customers are your connection to new customers. You know the power of word-of-mouth and referrals. This is how inbound marketing works. People naturally want to feel involved and as if they belong to something – connected. The restaurant industry is large and is full of a community of supporters. From this, is the reason to really tap into the emotional aspect of the customer experience.
Linda who had an amazing experience at your restaurant and also enjoyed a tasty burger, is going to post her experience on social media. This is just one funnel of marketing that stemmed from that one experience. Her experience is going to be seen by her friends and friends-of-friends and the general public. It is not just about the menu and food you provide, it is about what your restaurant stands for and how you can connect the mission of your establishment to your customer to get them to believe in it and advocate for it.
It’s really about building a business that’s thriving on customer success.
The best part about creating a positive experience is that after, when a customer then advocates for your restaurant by posting to a social media platform or by word-of-mouth is that it costs you nothing. Creating an emotional connection with your customers aids the success of your business and reputation and costs you zero dollars.
Invest Into Your Customers
For your business, it may be a social channel, or it may be your blog or your website, but it’s taking the time to provide a little bit extra to those people who do business with you and call themselves your customers.
Getting Customers to Become Part of Your Crowd
People invest into companies and organizations they connect with and believe in. Apple customers invest in Apple products, because Apple does a phenomenal job at connecting with their users constantly. That, and people want to be part of the Apple crowd. This is the mindset you want to take on in your business. You want customers to want to become part of your crowd.
Creating an emotional connection with your customers is one of the most important things that if you invest time into, will work wonders for your business.