Getting repeat custom is difficult. However, it actually costs more to get a new customer than to get an existing customer to return, IF done right.

For example, did you capture their email address on their first visit? Did they like your Facebook page in a competition? Did they partake in your social media ad you placed on Facebook? Are you collecting the data needed to repeat their custom? If not, change your tactics now.

If you are, great! Use that data. Don’t just let it sit in the dust. Got their email address? Send out a newsletter with offers attached. Even better, send a personal email with a personal offer! On Facebook? Drive valuable content to them every day. Send them a PM offering them an exclusive offer. Got their data from the ad? Set up re-targeting.

Get personal. That’s the best way forward.

For a restaurant, there are plenty of ways to get personal. I saw this idea from a Gary Vaynerchuck interview on his YouTube channel: it takes 4 visits to get a customer’s loyalty. So, for 4 times, you need to give them a reason to come back. Here’s an idea for you to use:

1st: Offer them a free main course.
2nd: Offer them free chicken wings.
3rd: Offer them a free cheesecake
4th: Offer them 25% off their meal and drinks.

Yes, they cost money. But, that’s the risk you’ve got to give in order to get their custom. After the 4th visit, they’ll return time and time again. I’ve seen this in practice. With my visit to the Cuban, it took 4 visits before I willingly went out of my way to visit. Now, I wasn’t offered anything except cheap beer and a great atmosphere, but you get the point. 4 is the magic number.

These discounts must be given by the owner. It is that special touch that means the world to customers. The owner has gone out of his way to give them a discount. Wow. And, if you’re an owner which sits upstairs all day and doesn’t get their hands dirty: shame on you! The paperwork can wait. Be a leader; lead by actually showing your staff how it is done.

Anyway, offering these discounts will lead to more repeat custom. Easy, profitable, repeat custom. Sure, you risk some profit now, but think about the long-term profit. That is worth it.

Oh, and before I leave, make sure you show even more value to your repeat customers after the 4th visit. Too often, they are left alone with no new discounts. I’m not saying discount them every time, but offer unique, personalized service. Remember what I said before: get personal. That way, you’ll keep them.

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