June 27, 2014

How to turn customers into regulars at your restaurant

Beth in Portland told me about her love for Middle Eastern Food and one restaurant in particular. Eating out can be tricky for her because she has to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet due to a medical condition.

“There’s tons of gluten in Middle Eastern Food so I have to be really careful when I eat at some of my favorite places.” She says she actually receives exceptional customer service several times a week at one particular Lebanese place near her house where she is a regular: Tarboush Lebanese Bistro & Bar. It’s a new location for this popular Portland restaurant and it’s in a space that has been occupied by other restaurants that have failed in quick succession.

Beth says she doesn’t think Tarboush will fail in this location and this is why: On her second trip to the establishment, the waitress went out of her way to make sure the chef made Beth a custom mezza platter that was not only gluten free but full of everything else she loved: A huge serving of babaganoush, hummus, chicken and even a complimentary side salad. “The next time I went in she had memorized my custom order, kept the price low even though I was asking for special items, and asked me if I wanted the same as last time. She even throws in the free salad each time and brought a double sized salad for me and my friend when he joined me yesterday.”

Now when Beth comes in a few times a week the waitress greets her with the words: “The same thing today?” She made Beth feel like a regular even within a few weeks of this new location opening and because of that little gesture Beth is now a regular. The owner told her that most of his servers have been with him for years and their goal is to make every person who comes in feel like an honored guest in their home.

Sometimes it’s the personal touch that makes customer service really stand out and keeps patrons coming back again and again.

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