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New customers are all well and good – but something that all restaurant businesses need (and should strive for) is loyal regulars. In this blog post, we give you some smart tips on how to get more regulars to your restaurant!

Loyalty card or fifth lunch free

One way to attract more (and retain existing) regulars is to ensure that there is always some kind of extra benefit, which only returning customers can take advantage of. You may want to offer regulars loyalty cards, which they can top up with money (physically or digitally), to get a discount when they pay. Or why not have a traditional coupon booklet with lunch discounts?

For some restaurants or pubs, it may also be beneficial to offer a more luxurious “VIP card” to their best, returning customers. Then maybe the regulars can get 5-10% discount on food, drinks or maybe both. You can also set up a system that offers the regular something for free after a period as a loyal guest. It is often a safe card to encourage and entice the customer to return to your restaurant. Try the simple trick of offering the fifth lunch or tenth cup of coffee! It’s a classic (and not very expensive) way to show appreciation to the customer.

What do you really earn from a regular guest?

You could say that having a group of loyal guests who come back on a regular basis becomes a kind of insurance. But regulars can also mean that as a restaurant owner you feel you constantly “have” to offer something or give a discount. That’s why it’s important to evaluate the regulars and why they actually choose to visit your restaurant. Is it because you’re handing out VIP cards left and right? Or because they genuinely love the place and the food it serves?

If you run a lunchtime restaurant, it may be particularly useful to have some form of regular card. If you have a different kind of business, where it doesn’t come naturally to have repeat guests 4-5 times a week, you should first look at what the benefits will actually be for you in the end. Göran, 64, who has turned up and eaten every day for ten years, is an example of someone who is probably worthy of some nice perks. The gang that comes in every weekend, never orders more than a plate of fries and makes you feel guilty for “just” offering extra dipping sauce, may not have made themselves as well deserved.

Faster service and better functionality

You can also attract new regulars (and keep existing ones) by investing in a better customer experience. For example, something as simple as express checkouts or card terminals that can take payments faster – efficient service is not to be underestimated! A modern way to simplify for the customer is to connect the restaurant to an app – where the guest can order the food and collect discounts or VIP memberships.

For businesses, you can also arrange for a business card, which makes payment much easier. By invoicing weekly or monthly, you avoid the card transactions (and the costs that come with them) at each lunch. This is a super-efficient way for those who already have a smooth invoicing solution and a restaurant with good liquidity. If it’s unreasonable for you to be out of pocket, regular card transactions may be a better option.