If you’re an owner looking to energize your restaurant and gather more information about your clientele, restaurant CRM software is a must. Perhaps you’ve noticed a recent decrease in customers or more frequent poor reviews, or maybe you’d like to experiment and branch out a little in your restaurant, but you don’t want it to fail. This is where Restaurant Management Software comes into play.
Most often CRM software is seen in online stores or retails shops. CRM’s overarching goal is to build a relationship with the consumer so they receive consistent or tailored care; CRM software does this by organizing communications and building profiles to help businesses be better informed about their customers. This process works well for retail: a shop offers a unique or comfortable shopping experience complete with unique or bespoke items that the consumer desires, which keeps them returning time after time.
But this same process of reaching customers and bringing them back again and again should also apply to a restaurant. Think of some of the large restaurant chains. Why do people return again and again to Starbucks, even though you’ll find a host of coffee connoisseurs insisting that it isn’t the best coffee? Starbucks offers consistency; customers get the same drink they want from a Starbucks in Orlando as from a Starbucks in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That consistency is provided by the information Starbucks gathers from its customers - everything from simply tracking what sells, to organizing and tracking customer reviews and feedback.
That’s what CRM promises for restaurants - the ability to process information and build relationships with clients that otherwise would need dozens of employees.
How will a CRM system help your restaurant?
According to a recent study, 70% of restaurant patrons dine and never return. As a restaurant owner, your focus shouldn’t be on the 70% that won’t return. They’re not necessarily your market, as they may be from out of town, not partial to the food on the menu, or just not who you want as repeat customers. Instead, your restaurant CRM focus should be on the 30% of repeat customers.
Knowing your customer base allows you to cater specifically to their needs, so they will want to return again and again. Here’s the strategy for focusing on the 30%.
A Restaurant CRM strategy
Think of your restaurant CRM as your personal guestbook. Your Restaurant CRM program should store personal information that the guest is OK with leaving with you. Think of information like allergies, personal preferences to seating, birthdays, anniversaries, drinks, companies, and more.
A good restaurant CRM program offers not just personalization but the opportunity to automate personalized messages. If a customer’s birthday is coming up in the next month, the CRM program can send them a happy birthday wish and a discount offer on their next visit. For repeat business from a company who wines and dines their clients in your space, you can reserve their preferred table or room so they can take as long as they like and provide them with their favourite drinks, while offering a level of care that they won’t receive in other places.
A consistent, personalized service builds loyalty to your restaurant brand. You may want to create a loyalty card, or offer free drinks after a certain number of visits. Maybe your most loyal guests get invited to special nights with a visiting chef or a reservation-only date night with a special menu. Your customers are rewarding you with their loyal service, so it stands that as a restaurant, you’ll return the favor of their loyalty.
Integrating your restaurant management software with your POS software makes these personalized details easy. Instead of trying to remember or write down the favourite drinks of a certain party, your CRM will note these details based on POS purchases. Finding an all-in-one CRM software that makes life easier for your staff also makes their job easier.
Some restaurants opt to build their own management software, just because they can and they have a POS system that they prefer and want integrated in their own specialized system. For others, it’s probably easier to switch systems completely. Finding a restaurant specific CRM is key, as it will offer a different level of personalization that retail specific CRM programs won’t have.
Convinced? Check out our list of restaurant management software packages that are excellent at helping you keep your customers happy and returning.
Your repeat customers will build your brand and influence other customers. With the help of a restaurant management system, your job as restaurant owner will be to keep creating a menu and atmosphere that is always delicious and welcoming, as the software helps you keep and retain your customer base.