Everyone, from the managers, owners, and operators, to the baristas and servers, knows that the food and beverage industry is a competitive space — especially in big cities. Luckily for you, small business are becoming trendy and more and more people are looking to make real connections with business owners like you.

Here are two great ways you can create loyal customers that can become a great asset to your business.

  1. Let Customers Get Closer - this doesn't mean physically closer, in fact that could be a little off-putting... What we mean is show customers more of your business. People like to support small businesses because they have great respect for the people behind them, so show them more of what you are doing behind the scenes. This can be as simple as using Instagram stories to create a mini-series of your days' activities. You can show people new stock that will soon be available to purchase, share the process of getting a room ready for guests or make it even more personal and share little snippets from your time away from work. A personal touch really goes a long way and it's something that generation Z are craving more and more from the businesses they choose to invest time and money with.These techniques can be applied both digitally and in person. Online you can use your social media presence to create personal relationships with your customers and in person you can go the extra mile for customers. We'd recommend doing other things around your establishment that remind people they are shopping with an independent, small business that cares greatly about their customers. These acts of kindness and the ability for customers to interact more directly and personally with you will inevitably lead to more loyal customers where there is mutual respect between them and you.
  2. Have a customer service team that your competitors can only envy. This is fairly similar to our first point but accepts that sometimes things go wrong. When things go wrong there are two clear paths for the customer, they are either disappointed and don't return as a customer or you/your customer service team successful steps in converts and unhappy customer into a customer who is not only satisfied but feels they have been listened to and has had their needs met. There are so many things you can do in order to increase the level of customer service offered by you and your employees.The first step is to establish a clear customer service policy that can be seen by your employees and customers; by doing this you establish show transparency and are able to more effectively handle your customers' expectations. This policy needs to be understood by your employees, this could require some training but it's worth getting this part right in advance so that when an issue arises your team is well prepared to handle it.

I hope these tips have helped to inspire you to strive for loyal customers. If you have any top tips of your own please feel free to share them in the comments!