Customer Acquisition vs. Customer Retention: What is More Profitable for Your Restaurant?

If increasing the profitability of your restaurant is one of your goals for 2018, you should make customer retention a top priority.While acquiring new customers is important, retaining existing ones is even more essential for a successful restaurant operation.

Retaining Customers is Cheaper Than Acquiring New Ones

Retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones. In fact, research by Bain and Company has proven that it is six to seven times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. In addition, Marketing Metrics has found that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70% while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5 to 20%.

Rewards Programs Encourage Existing Customers to Keep Returning

There are a variety of ways you can encourage existing customers to keep returning to your restaurant. Designing a rewards program that offers discounts, free food or beverages, and invitations to exclusive events is one option. In recent years, smartphones and automated email marketing programs have revolutionized rewards programs and made implementing them easy. You can also download our FREE eBook with identifies the latest trends in Loyalty Programs.

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Dunkin Donuts has created the DD Perks program which gives customers the opportunity to earn a free beverage when they sign up as well as on their birthday, when they refer friends, and during certain promotional periods.

The Piece of the Pie rewards program at Domino’s Pizza gives customers the chance to earn 10 points every time they spend $10 or more on an order. Once they earn 60 points, they can redeem them for a free, medium two-topping pizza. 

Individualized Customer Service Makes Existing Customers Feel Valued

Your customer service should make your existing customers feel valued and appreciated every time they walk through the door. If you make an effort to get to know the names and orders of your regular customers, you’ll find that they will continue to come back to your restaurant rather than going to a new one that does not provide them with the same level of individualized service.

Special Events Encourage Repeat Customers & Purchases

Additionally, you should consider hosting special events such as cooking classes, karaoke nights, and beer tastings. These types of events will encourage your existing customers to spend more time at your restaurant and purchase more items from your menu.

About Core Restaurant Marketing

If you would like your restaurant to achieve long-term success, you need to make sure that you are retaining existing customers. With over 30 years of experience in the food industry, CORE Restaurant Marketing’s mission is to help restaurants retain customers and increase their profits. To learn more about how CORE Restaurant Marketing can bring value to the restaurant industry visit our website or give contact us at

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