How To Increase the Retention (Returning Customers) of your Restaurant

Acquiring a new customer can cost 7 times more than retaining an existing customer.

Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.

The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

Just by looking at these data you can understand that have an a good amount of customers that keep coming back to your restaurant is very important!

It’s also very important to keep acquiring new customers, but how to let them come back as much possible?

You may be into a situation, that you are struggling understanding why people are not coming back to your restaurant.

Though you think the service is incredible, the food is good, customers are leaving nice reviews, so why new customers are not coming back?

In this article I’m going to show a tested method to increase the retention, so increase the returning customers and also a way to discover what really new customers think about your restaurant.

With this method, you will also be able to discover most of the problems of your restaurant that even you don’t know, so you will be able to fix them!

On top of that, we’ll also save their contact details, so you will be able to get in touch with them anytime you like. (Events, offers, news, new menus, etc..)

Providing Value First before to Get It Back

That’s the first secret.

Before to receive value (booking, tips etc) from your customers, you need to give value to them, to each of them.

This means the best service you can provide, the best food you can make, best envoriment, and your entire positive energy with a huge smile all the time.

You should think, why a potential customer should come to your restaurant and give his money to you instead to a competitor?

Simple! Because you offer the most value and the best experience to him.

Something that he will remember forever.

So, What's the Method?

Before to go to the tecnichal aspects and go deep into it, you need to understand the concept of the method.

Imagine the situation, a new person just walked in to your restaurant, you served him, he was happy.

So, what’s now the best thing you can give to him before he left the restaurant?

We offer them to chose between 3 Plates, one of them he can have it for free the next time he come.

(How do we do that? We’ll go deeper into it in a bit, the process is like magic! You’ll see tools, strategy and the entire process)

Suggestions: Chose 3 Plates with low food cost for you, but with a huge impact and looking for the customer. They could be apetitizers, or desserts.
If you own a pizzeria they could be drinks, or desserts.
We don’t suggest mains and second plates.

By the way for the customer this gift it will looks amazing, big and so valuable from you, but at the same time it will not be a complete dinner, so the next time he come of course he will order more food. (You’ll always be in profit)

By doing this you are doing 3 things a the same time.

First, he’s choosing the plate he prefer, mentally he’s making a commitment.

Secondly, you are giving him so much value. (He start to feel that he needs to give value back to you)

Thirdly, potentially he will come back to the restaurant, so you will have the opportunity to make your relationship with him stronger and offer him even a better service than the first time.

Ok this is cool and easy but how can we understand the problems of the restaurant, getting in touch with them anytime we like, how the customer can chose the plate he prefer, how to… ?

Tools of the Method

To implement the method we need to use some marketing tools and materials:

  • Leaflets with QrCode
  • ManyChat (Facebook Messenger Chatbot)
  • Mail System (Active Campaign, MailChimp, GetResponse..)
  • Zapier

Method Step by Step

1. We give them the leaflet with the 3 Plates and the QrCode.

This can happen at the end of the dinner while you bring them the bill, in the same time you bring the menu on the table, or after they made the first order and they are waiting for the food. Our suggestion is to test into your restaurant which one will be the best option. Who better then you knows yours customers?

Just one important thing that we discovered. Is very important to try to let them scan it direclty in the place and no after when they go away.

With this escxuse you have the opportunity to explain personally what the leaflet is regarding, create a stronger relationship with them, and help them directly to scan the QrCode if they need.

2. As soon as they scan the QrCode with their phone, they will enter into Facebook Messenger automatic sequence where they can choose their preferred Plate directly on their phone!
Video GIF Sequence Message.mp4/gif

ManyChat is the professional tool we used to create the entire sequence.

On this picture you can see the entire sequence we have built.


Here you can download and import the entire sequence direclty into your ManyChat Account, that’s a gift from us for you! (ManyChat PRO is required):

manychat link sequence……

3. During the sequence as you saw, we send them a confirmation email with their Voucher (so we save their email and contact details as well)
We use Zapier to let ManyChat and the email tool (Active Campaign in this case) communicate and work together. Trgough Zapier we can send all the information we need (Name, Email address, chosed plate and more) to the mail system and send them a precise confirmation email.
Their name appearon the email they will present to you when they come to redeem their plate. This will help your staff and will allow you to check (you will discover everything in a bit)
At this time the customer just said hello to you and walk away.
4. The day after automatically they receive a message in their phone with Facebook Messenger where we ask them how was the experience, basically a feedback:

We give them three options for the Feedback: GREAT, POSITIVE, NEGATIVE.

  • If Great, then GREAT 🙂 we’ll ask them to leave a review on the Restaurant’s Social Profiles


  • If POSITIVE, we’ll ask them a written feedback of why the experience wasn’t GREAT
  • If NEGATIVE, we’ll ask them a written feedback of why the experience wasn’t Positive and we also say to them that they can contact the Restaurant owner (You!) if they had any problem. Like this you will have the opportunity to resolve their issues and invite them again to the restaurant, maybe with a discount or something.

5. In five days time from the scanning, we’ll send them another message with a video. On the quick video (30 seconds – 1 minute) there will be the chef cooking the plate they choose and a personal invitation from him.

Imagine their reaction on watching a personal video form the chef!


6. In 9 days we send them a message where we show them some particular thing about the restaurant, or a wine pair suggestion with the plate they choose and we invite them to book a table.

It’s very important keep remaining in the mind of the customers, the communication needs to be balance. We don’t want to annoying them, our goal is just providing value and make them love our restaurant.
You can decide to send them how many message you want, but of course we suggest you to don’t exagerate. The thing we want is let them coming back to reedem the free plate!

Safety Functions of the Sequence & How To

Automatically Stop if the Customer Reedems

In the sequence there is also a function that if the customer come to restaurant before the sequence message ends, we’ll stop it automatically.

This to prevent we automatically send them a wrong message especially in the case they already came to get the free plate.

Otherwise it will not be nice, they come for the second time and the day after we invite them to reedem the voucher again! We’ll lose the face!

There is a function that prevent that.

How We Stop People That Try to Get a 2nd Plate!

A very important functions we implemented is to prevent people to get more plates.

If they try to get a 2nd one, automatically they receive a message where it says that they already had their free plate.


How It Works in The Restaurant (Tags & Checking)

To be sure and to do all the checking, you also have access into a dashboard on ManyChat where you can see all the people that already had their free plate.

To check people we use Tags.

Imagine tags like labels, everytime a person take an action (Chose a Plate, redeem a Voucher, etc), we attach a label on them, that is a Tag.

On ManyChat we can instantly add to a person how many Tags we want.

So your staff can identify in literally 2 seconds who already came to collect the free plate.

That’s how Tags will look like in real life:

That’s how Tags really looks like into the software:

That’s why on the email the name of the customer is very visible, it works as a reference for your waitress.

As soon as the customer shows the email to the waitress, he can instanlty get their name, and withing 2 clicks while he walk back to the computer’s desk (it takes 2 seconds) open their profile on ManyChat, and add the tag “free-plate-redeemed”.

If for example while their are adding the tag, they see that the tag it’s already there, it means that the customer already came once and already got the free plate. In that case you just have to gently remeber to the customer that he already used it.

It’s simple, fast and in this way you can have easily have the control of everything.

On the video you can literelly see how it works and how easy it is for your and your entire staff.

Extra Tip: How to Huge Increase the Retention!​

As I said before we can send to customers how many messages we want.

They can be manual or automatic.

If a customer walk in for the for time into you restaurant and he has a fabouls experience, the statiscal likely hood of them doing a second visit is about 40%.
The come back a 2nd time and they had a flawless experience the statiscal likely hood of them doing a third visit is about 42%.
If they come for a third time, the stastical like likely hood of them doing a third visit is about 70%!!!

With this method we are helping you to bring them back for a 2nd visit offering them the free plate.

But what about if when they come for a second time and your waitress add the tag that they redeem the plate, we automatically add them into another sequence to thanks them and the day after we gift them something else?

It could be a glass of wine, a drink or another plate!

By doing this there will be another great chance to let them come for a third visit!

This can go into a loop for hiw many times you desire. You can create how many sequence you want!

Bug Suggestion: NEVER and I say NEVER offer Discount. They damage the image of your restaurant and are not sexy. The imagine of the retaurant can potentially lose his value.
Instead always give something on top. An extra gift for example, but never never never decrease the value of your restaurant!


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