Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Restaurants Need to Double-Down on Customer Loyalty in Q4



Restaurants need to strategize intensely on customer loyalty if they want to avert a massive decline in revenue in Q4. Why?

Revenue for restaurants have been plummeting after Thanksgiving – as much as 45 percent, according to a 2014 study.

“With all the excitement about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s easy to assume that everyone wins during the holidays – but these can be lean times for most restaurants,” said Zach Goldstein CEO and founder of Thanx.

“In our experience, restaurants that successfully combat the downturn focus on retaining existing customers,” he added.

eventfile000213537000Retailers

Yes, the restaurant business is such a stark contrast with retailers.

Retailers can enjoy as much as a 77 percent increase in revenue after Thanksgiving says a press release from the Thanx, Inc. (www.thanx.com), the company conducting the study.

Thanx cites Q4 monthly sales increases in data about retailers from the U.S. Census Bureau:

— Furniture retailers (24 percent)

— Merchandise (47 percent)

— Electronics (67 percent)

— Clothing (72 percent)

— Sporting goods (77 percent)

In addition, retailers are capitalizing on in-store WIFI to increase customer loyalty. Another study by Earthlink, IHL Group and AirTight Networks reveals that 27.5 percent of retailers have increased  customer loyalty by using in-store customer WiFi.

Restaurants

In December, Thanx says all restaurants – fast serve, fast casual and fine dining – suffer a 27 percent decline. Restaurants can suffer a 45 percent decrease when expanded the duration by a week just after Thanksgiving.

Thanx advocates identifying VIP customers and rewarding them if they patronize a restaurant with a gift, such as a wrapped gift of pre-packaged salad dressing.

In a case study of a Thanx client, Mixt Greens, patrons loved it. They visited Mixt Greens multiple times in the otherwise slow period.

“Through Thanx, we’ve made sure customers know how much we value their business and we can stay busy during what’s traditionally a slow period,” said David Silverglide, CEO of Mixt Greens. “By saying ‘Thanx’ to our customers, we’ve seen a 34 percent increase in frequency of customer visits.”

In 2015, Mixt Greens plans a “Eat Healthy This Holiday Season.” That includes a five 50 percent discount on salads in 2015 to customers who make five purchases between Thanksgiving and December 31st.

Just like the core Thanx program, qualifying purchases register automatically when consumers pay with their preferred payment card, thus requiring no added steps at checkout.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies for enhanced customer loyalty and repeat business:

Restaurants Benefit by Seasoning Their Customer Loyalty Programs – With only 33 percent of patrons who are loyal customers, restaurants need to add seasoning to their customer-loyalty programs, according to a Deloitte Consulting study.

Tips for Restaurant Owners: Keeping Good Employees, Profits – If you, as a restaurant owner, have trouble keeping talented employees, consider insights from a report on a Sacramento, California TV station. It will also help you increase profits and stay in business.

Groupon Will Give You a Migraine for Ignoring Pricing Principles – Whether you’re an investor, small-business advertiser or even a customer, daily deal sites can give you a major headache. Continually, there are red flags about Groupon.

Why Companies Are High Maintenance to Customers (but Don’t Know It) — Businesses are losing more than they know because they inconvenience customers. Such negative customer perceptions result in lost opportunities in revenue growth, tarnished branding and smaller profit margins, according to a study.

How to Profit from Word-of-Mouth Advertising and Customer Service – When was the last time you explored options for improving your word-of-mouth opportunities? Here’s a hint: Customer service is the No. 1 key to good word-of-mouth advertising and repeat business. My firm’s research shows that consumers usually respond favorably to marketing after receiving five positive messages. Conversely, they will divorce your company if they have five or fewer unfavorable experiences.

The golden rule for every business man is this: ‘Put yourself in your customer’s place.’”

-Orison Swett Marden

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.