For many restaurant owners, there’s a drive to get new customers in the door. After all, new customers mean new business and more money. But what about existing patrons?

The National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast found that repeat customers made up a larger amount of total sales for restaurateurs in 2012 than they did in the previous year. These individuals may also help drive future business when they share their positive experiences. People are four times more likely to make a purchase when they are referred to a business or product by a friend.

What does this tell us? Repeat diners can have a positive impact on a restaurants’ overall bottom line and it’s our job to help bring them back.

Let’s take a look at how tools, such as guest management software, can help you keep customers coming back to your business.


The Importance of Repeat Diners

On average, 61% of small business owners claim that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, rather than new patrons. This doesn’t mean you should give up on expanding your customer base. However, it’s important to remember the significance of people who return and help you sustain your bottom line.

Keep in mind that it can also cost up to five times more to acquire new customers than retain existing ones.


The Benefits of Customer Retention

Increasing your customer retention rate by 5% can boost your profits by 25 to 95%. This statistic highlights the fact that repeat diners make up the foundation of your business.

There are also underlying benefits to having a strong loyal customer base. For example, repeat customers are generally willing to pay 3-5% more for your services.

You can also take comfort in the fact that you have an edge on the competition. Your loyal customers will be difficult for your competitors to woo away. In turn, you may be able to reduce advertising expenditures by up to 50%, depending on your growth objectives; less competition means a reduction in the need to advertise to get ahead.


How to Retain Customers

Expanding a loyal customer base starts with having the right solutions. For example, a guest manager system can help you manage your wait list and all of your reservations. This ensures that customers are seated in a timely manner, enhancing their overall experience and the likelihood that they will return to your restaurant.

An up-to-date point of sale system can also help you satisfy your patrons. With an iPad POS platform, for instance, you can reduce lines by taking orders quickly. This means happier customers, who may be more inclined to come back in the future.


Final Thoughts

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times more than they were on their first purchase. Over time, repeat diners can not only sustain your business but help you increase your profitability.

That being said, it takes more than a customer retention strategy to keep people coming back for more. Solutions, such as a guest manager system or loyalty program, can satisfy your patrons and prove to them that you value their business.