Tips to Retain Existing Customers & Remain Profitable in the F&B Industry
Do you know it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer? In fact, food businesses can be far more profitable in a long run by focusing on their current customers. Bear in mind that a restaurant should not just try to attract new customers without looking for ways to retain them. The best way to drive the revisit intention of customers is simple yet complex, but here are some tips that you can take into account:
1. Food Quality
The demand for high-quality food has constantly increased during the recent years, which puts food businesses in a highly competitive market. Food quality is not just about its taste and appearance, but the consistency of each meal served to your customers.
To improve the overall quality of your food, you must ensure:
- All ingredients are stored at the right temperature. Make sure they are prepared and handled properly in mise-en-place.
- Inventory level is accurate and up to date. FIFO method helps to keep your raw materials fresh and nutritious as it ensures the oldest inventory is used or sold first. When there is a production, make sure you calculate the right amount of raw materials to be purchased and include the safety stock level to avoid overbuying or under-purchasing.
- Food production gets done in the right way. Record the cooking temperature, production time, output quantity variance, or any requirements which can affect your food quality.
- All recipes are standardized to produce consistent dishes. You ought to include all the ingredients with the correct unit of measure, list down the step-by-step instructions clearly, and keep track of the recipe yield.
- Adequate trainings are provided to the employees. Video recording is one of the best methods to help employees to perform their tasks by following the given instructions in case they forgot at any point in time.
2. Product Traceability
Food recall is not a rare occurrence in the F&B industry, but it does affect the customer retention rate. Most importantly, you need to identify the causality of the problem in response to food safety events and prevent similar issues in the future.
With an effective traceability system or good traceability practices, you are able to:
- Track the specified stages of procurement, production, and processing in order to identify and control food hazards promptly.
- Track the validity of food safety certificates, such as HALAL, HACCP, GMP, and MESTI, and get notified when renewal is needed.
- Access to more accurate data and gain greater visibility on the inventory levels across multiple storages or warehouses.
- Reduce time and resources to resolve customer concerns and regain their trust.
3. Cost / Expenditure
Every penny spent on your food business is important. You want to be cost-effective, rather than spending your budget to achieve nothing. Get the most out of the cost you are willing to invest is the way to go.
You can maximize the productivity and efficiency of your business while maintaining profitability by:
- Ensuring sufficient manpower is available in order to complete tasks on time, avoid duplication of works, and take on more responsibility.
- Ensuring effective knowledge transfer among the employees wherever possible. It’s also a great way to reduce the overall cost of training.
- Checking your machines and equipment regularly to make sure they are always in good condition, and identify if there are any abnormalities before it’s too late.
- Optimizing processes with the right tools, especially central kitchens and commercial kitchens which have high production volume. Food businesses can utilize and benefit from information technology, automation, and machine learning for production analysis, supply chain management, food safety compliance monitoring, and a lot more.
Ask Yourself 2 Questions:
- Which part of my business should be improved?
- How much is my budget?
Different approaches can be carried out in order to retain existing customers, but first, you need to determine which part of your business requires improvement. Some food businesses employ Inventory Management System to handle all activities of inventory and track orders more easily. On the other hand, some of them may use Central Kitchen System to expedite central kitchen processes, improve recipe management, and track food products throughout the supply chain.
In conclusion, you need to define your business objective, determine which part should be improved and how much are you willing to invest in technology/system. Also, don’t forget to calculate the return on investment and consider the long-term benefits of your choices.