#1 Restaurant Customer Retention Strategy

Most restaurant owners squander money chasing  "new" customers to replace lost customers.

Instead of chasing your tail, what if one simple strategy would reduce your marketing budget, and keep your business growing?

Problem: Restaurant owners spend most of their marketing dollars on expensive acquisition… yet, do little or nothing to nurture the relationship with those they attract to the restaurant. This keeps them trapped in an endless… spend, acquire, lose, and start over cycle…

As a result many become frustrated at the “ineffectiveness” of marketing and cut back. This of course leads to slowing sales. The natural reaction is to launch  a blizzard of discounts in an effort to prop up sales. And the downward spiral begins…

Solution: You’ll never fill a bathtub without a stopper in the drain. And the same principle applies to marketing. Discounts should be used sparingly to drive new traffic. When new prospects arrive, immediately invite them to join your loyalty program.

This one single change can add $32,000 a year to your income (like it does for our average client).

Three ways to accomplish this:

1. Basic loyalty programs have reports allowing you to pull lists of inactive customers for retention marketing. Pull lists frequently and email your lapsed customers before they wander for good.

2. Some loyalty programs push out automated retention offers based on a 30/60/90 day schedule. A few will allow you to set custom parameters. 

The only downside to calendar-based retention is that you will over-discount some of your casual customers. That's because the program assumes they're missing, when in fact, they just don't come in as frequently as your regulars. 

3. An advanced loyalty platform with SMART Retention keeps guests coming back automatically. And because it's powered by artificial intelligence, it only sends retention offers to truly inactive customers.  

Advantages to SMART: Retention is based on each individual guest, not the calendar. That way, guests are only put in the retention series when appropriate. This has a huge impact on your profits because retention discounts only go to verified inactive customers.

How important is retention?

Rosati's Pizza: 30 month retention study

Members: 78% still active
Non-Members: 22% still active


Loyalty Members retention rate grows over non-members' at an astounding rate.
That means:
  • Churn is dramatically reduced
  • Customer lifetime value soars
  • Business is resistant to competitors


FACT: Our average client sees over $32,000 a year in recaptured revenue from SMART retention alone. Some of our multi-unit clients see over $100,000 a year coming back from this.

You can not grow without a systematic retention program. 

A retention strategy builds a protective wall around your customers and keeps them from being drawn away by competitors.

You'll grow MUCH faster by focusing on customer retention rather than endless acquisition.

TAGS: Marketing

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