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19 ways to gain repeat customers

19 ways to gain repeat customers

These are the times when only the best survive. Out of ten bars or restaurants in a row, one operates well, while others are empty or half-empty. Customers can be divided into new customers and repeat customers. Attracting new ones is very important, but since over 60% of customers of a successful restaurant are repeat ones, it is evident where the focus needs to be placed.

Make your customers feel important and respected

People simply love to feel important and respected. It’s a timeless classic of human nature. For an owner of a hospitality establishment, making them feel that way is a task to be fulfilled daily if the business is to operate successfully.

Here is some advice that could be useful:

Remember the customers’ names

Most powerful and efficient way of making someone feel important is to remember their name. If you think you are bad at names, correct that. Let that be your first task on your way to success.

The trick is simple. Repeat the customer’s name several times during the first few minutes of your conversation with them.


You: What is your name?
Customer: Dennis
You: Dennis (1st time)
Customer: Yes
You: We’re glad to have you Dennis (2nd time)
Customer: Thank you

This is a way to use the customer’s name during basic conversation. It is important to use their name later in the conversation as well and especially when they are returning to your establishment. People simply love it.


There is no simpler way of making your customers feel good than giving them a smile. Smile until your face stiffens, and then smile again.

Remember what they like

In addition to the name of every customer, you must remember their order, what they like and what makes their order different than other orders. These two things on their own can gain you a repeat customer.

Find out more about your customers

When you have had one conversation with your customer, you find out details and information you can mention in the next one. The customer will feel important because you remembered and knew what to ask. You have fulfilled another task with which you gained customer’s trust. You’re having a conversation with them in their favorite restaurant. Excellent.

Offer something for free

From time to time, but not too often so the customers don’t get used to it, offer them something for free. It can be drinks or appetizers accompanied with the words “this is on the house” during their third or fourth visit and it is a sufficient gesture the customer will appreciate.

Sense what your customer might like or want

You are charming, your staff is charming. Do something that the customer would like or want. Pay them a compliment in front of others. Use your power and influence.

Train your staff to do the same

Train your employees to think about these things in the same way. It is a fact that loyalty, togetherness and positive energy lead to better things, to prosperity.

Hire people with whom your customers will feel great

Perhaps your kitchen does not stand out and your bartender does not make amazing cocktails, but all that is not important if your staff makes your customers feel great. Hire people that can do that.

Train your staff to value the importance of every customer

Train your staff to make your customers feel important. Set up incentives and rewards for staff members that get regular customers, know the most customer names or provide you with the best return information on a customer. Let the reward system become a standard in your establishment.

Reward regular customers

When a customer arrives for the third time in one week and you have done everything above mentioned, tell them your value their trust. Also, offer them two meals at the price of one.

Invite your most loyal customers to a private party

Hosting an occasional party with regular and most loyal customers is a great idea. People love private parties where thy can socialize spontaneously and without obligation. This will gain you respect and friendship of your customers and make them feel the same.

Special offer to influential customers

Restaurants are more than suitable for meeting people and networking. Numbers are simple. Each customer you meet will bring five new ones, and they will bring five more. It is clear. Many new guests will come with a potential of becoming regular.

Example: Let’s say you were visited by a customer who happens to be an owner of a company that employs 40 people. He/she had a great time and felt wonderful in your establishment, shared the positive experience with employees and the news of a great restaurant has spread across the firm. You gained 40 prospective customers. Use the network and direct it towards your establishment. Give them discounts, lists of planned events and special deals. This way you will attract the whole group to become your regular guests.

Introduce a reward system for regular guests

When you are washing your car you usually get a little card that says: after x number of washes you get one free. This is an example of a reward system for customers. It is not precisely something to apply on your restaurant guests, but it’s a good example. Find a way to keep a record of visits and rewards for your regular guests.

Happy Hour

We all know what Happy Hour is. A classic in the restaurant business. Why not organize days or evenings when you offer large discounts on certain drinks, meals or on the entire menu. This can be a reason  for your customers to visit your restaurant again.

Flawless service

A lot of hospitality establishment owners are convinced they offer a perfect service. Are you aware of how long your guests wait for their order to arrive, how your staff treats them? We recommend you test out the entire service in the following way: invite a friend of yours the staff doesn’t know to visit your establishment, let the friend evaluate the service and inform you how it went.

Theme nights

Theme nights are classic events just like Happy Hour. An evening of French cuisine, when the staff put on striped shirts and berets, with French music playing is a perfect example of a theme night. Choose a theme you can play out and let your customers know in advance.

Give customers what they expect

If you are satisfied with the way you do business that doesn’t mean you are doing it right. Give the customers more than they expect. Push your limits and step by step you will succeed in surpassing them.

Good quality food

You have a nice establishment, provide excellent service and take care of your customers well, but the food you offer is not that great…
The food is the Holy Grail, the basis. Never forget that. You will not succeed with bad food, even if you follow all the advice mentioned above. The fact is that people don’t return to places where the food was tasteless and bad.