Business boils down to a series of human relationships. It’s important for restaurants to have great food and great atmosphere, but they also depend on the loyalty of guests and staff to be successful.

 

Loyal Guests

Customer loyalty is worth its weight in gold. The numbers are in, and they paint a clear picture of just how important it is to keep your current guests coming back:

The list goes on and on. While it’s easy to understand why loyalty is important, it can be more complex to see how you can foster the relationships you need for a booming business. Start by knowing your guests. In one survey, 97% of consumers said they would probably be more loyal to a business that implemented their feedback.

 

Loyal Employees

It’s up to you to give your team the right tools for the job, whether they’re servers or chefs, hosts or dishwashers. 92% of employees say that having the technology they need to work efficiently impacts their job satisfaction.

Joe Cecere, president and Chief Creative Officer at Little, writes that customer retention starts with employee retention. Businesses should aim to create a culture of passionate, engaged employees “by developing a relevant and authentic employee brand that employees can connect with.”

He goes on to say that “the 2013 Gallup study about employee engagement describes a U.S. workforce with only 30% of employees engaged in their work, with active disengagement costing the American economy an estimated $450-550 billion per year.”

Keeping your staff engaged encourages them to become brand ambassadors. They’ll have more fun at work, which will improve guest satisfaction. Everybody wins! Consider the last dining experience you had with indifferent or unengaged service. Did you enjoy your meal, and were you excited to return?

 

Building Relationships

Remember that loyalty is measured over time. It’s better to have the same regular customers for decades than it is to make a killing on one Saturday night in July 2011. Focus on long-term strategies that encourage guests to bring their friends and families back over and over again. Selling gift cards is one simple way to spread the word about your cuisine, and hosting special events invites diners to associate your brand with memorable moments in their lives.

88% of respondents in one survey indicated that quality is a key factor in their decision to remain loyal to a brand, and 72% identified customer service as a top priority. In the food industry, both of these begin with employee morale.

Boosting guest loyalty and team loyalty take effort and time. Maintaining relationships is difficult when you’re busy running a restaurant. By taking the time to develop loyalty between your two biggest groups of supporters, you can raise your revenue, increase employee retention, and boost guest satisfaction.