How To Get Repeat Business for Your Restaurant Business

Repeat Business

Reach – Reason - Rationale

Reach = List / Tribe / Following / Audience

Reason = Timing / Calendar Event / Constructed Event

Rationale = Psychological Triggers e.g. Scarcity / Urgency / Reward / Community / “Forced” Loyalty / Pain of Disconnect. Is


By definition, in order for repeat business to happen there has to be a mechanism for reaching out to influence an original customer to come back and purchase once more.

The first issue is how to reach out to our current customers in order to influence them.  The obvious answer is to create and maintain a database with good contact information.  Over the last 15 years we have gone from restaurateurs resisting collecting customer data to a position where they have it served on a plate to them like it or not via booking and delivery apps etc.  Today we often begin working with restaurateurs who have so much data that they don’t know what to do with it.  It’s often in multiple formats, with mixed up and misspelled information as well as multiple entries from the same person.

Outside of the obvious database there are other groups of lesser known customers such as fans and followers on social media, your Tribe or devotees who turn up to events but do not surrender their data and in the case of anyone in the media/arts business your Audience who watch, read, listen to your message but purchase it from a 3rd party.

If you want to have a successful “Repeat Business” business a very high priority is collecting* and “OWNING” communication data from as many of these individuals as possible.   As an aside Facebook “owns” your followers data, not you, in the restaurant world, Menu Log, Uber Eats, The Fork own the customer data not the restaurateur.  In the case of Facebook, if you want access to more than 6% of your followers you have to pay the list owner – Facebook to boost your post or create an Ad!

Communication data is exactly what it sounds like; name, address, mobile, email etc.  In the restaurant world we also collect DOB and Anniversary dates too as these are major marketing / selling opportunities for us.  If you have a sophisticated enough operation that you can collect and sort purchase history and dollar spend too.  This extra information gives you great targeting opportunities but that’s a different discussion that won’t be covered here.

*For businesses that service European customers there are a whole raft of rules that must be followed since the implementation of GDPR in 2018.  Basically YOU have to prove when this person contacted you and be ABLE and willing to remove their data from your system upon their request.  The costs of not doing so are astronomical.

So far none of the Australia political parties have flagged that they want to move in this direction, but an awareness of GDPR and becoming voluntarily compliant with it before it is a necessity is smart.

Want to discuss this or other ways to grow your restaurant business?  Book a quick 15 minute chat with me.  the button below will take you to my calendar so that you can pick a time that suits you.


Once you have your list and a “mechanism” for reaching out to your customers you have to have a reason to do so.  By mechanism I mean email, hard mail, phone call, SMS message, app push message (if you own the app).  I don’t rule out sending out messages via social media but you must realize that you will only reach a small percentage of “followers”.

If you don’t have a reason to tell your customer something then you are just an annoying pest who is interrupting their all too busy life.

Make it relevant to them (they are only interested in themselves anyway – not you!)  Each customer group has their triggers and reasons (Psychographics) for being your customer rather than your competitors so think about those before choosing a reason.  For example if I am a golfer and that’s why I gave you my details and you keep sending me SMSs telling me that there are $10 pork chops at the club house you are going to lose me!  If however I joined you because you have a discount warehouse and you send me a text every week/month listing the best bargains, you will keep me.

Timing: Think 6 monthly dental check-up, 15,000km car service, flu season, pet’s heartworm & tic season, back to school promotions, Hardware companies’ seasonal house / garden promotions, EOFY, Tax Time etc

Calendar Events: Australia Day, Valentines Day, Easter, Melbourne Cup, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween,  etc etc etc.

Constructed Events: Wine matching dinner, Guest chef, Our Birthday, Our Anniversary of years in business, International Women’s Day, Secretary of the Year, Mo-Vember, Shave for a cure, RUOK Day, monthly discount update etc.

Rationale: (the reason they should purchase again- NOW)

We only have X in stock (scarcity)

New iPhone out and we won’t have enough stock (scarcity, new adopter etc.)

I only have space for two more clients this year (urgency)

We overstocked and need to empty the warehouse (BOGOF)

We have 6 lobsters in the fridge (necessity)

We want to thank you for your loyalty (reward)

Open for only our loyal customers (reward)

Get first pick / meet and greet the team, star, author etc (reward)

Come to the workshop and catch up with the other members (community)

Family appointment discount = No Gap Health Care (forced loyalty)

Five years servicing (forced loyalty)

Must buy a book of vouchers – courier business (forced loyalty)

Must pay for Foxtel or lose access to Game of Thrones etc (pain of disconnect)

Must pay for my domain name / web hosting or lose my website (pain of disconnect)

Must pay for SEO or lose my position in Google (pain of disconnect)

Must pay subscription or lose access to group members and resources e.g. EO and Boardroom style mentoring (pain of disconnect).

Click Link to Download PDF File:  Repeat_Business E-book

Want to discuss this or other ways to grow your restaurant business?  Book a quick 15 minute chat with me.  the button below will take you to my calendar so that you can pick a time that suits you.