Who’s In Your Bar or Restaurant’s Customer Base?

How well do you really know your customers? Depending on where you are in your career as a hospitality business owner, you may have a pretty good idea of who you want to attract to your watering hole—or you might have learned the hard way who your real regulars are and what it takes to impress them. Seasoned restauranteurs know that you can come up with the best concept and intentions, but if you don’t do your homework, your idea may totally flop. Mistakes can get expensive: for instance, if the menu items you prepared to sell a lot of aren’t as popular as you thought. 

The more data you have about your most loyal regulars, the more you can optimize the customer experience, from discovering your venue to booking reservations, enjoying a night out, and coming back with their friends. You can make your place the hottest bar or most exclusive small restaurant in town by curating the recipes, music, staff, and visuals, down to the lighting, walls, colors, finishes, and textures that wow your regular customers and make them want to stay and hang out. When you know your customer base well and craft an experience they really appreciate, even the smallest adjustments will add up to noticeable spikes in business.

customer base
Who’s in your customer base?

It all starts with the broad strokes of market research: the economic makeup of your area, your pool of competitors, and what there’s a clear demand for. As you get more specific and your brand starts to emerge, you’ll have to test some of your hypotheses and get confirmation that you’re moving in the right direction. With a clear picture of your target client in mind, you’ll be able to think through every decision, big and small, from your customers’ point of view.

Who you want to serve and who actually shows up may be two very different groups of people. Keep reading to learn what key factors you should consider as you discover, not dictate, your most valuable customer persona. 

What Do Your Regulars Have In Common?

Some demographic information is easy to determine based on the population density of your area, what kinds of housing are available, the cars on the road and the businesses that are successful. One of the most important things to determine is what kind of foot traffic will bring people in the doors. Who is out and about, and what are they craving? 

The specifics of age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status and occupation are trickier to determine. Specific demographic information can help you start to understand the psychographics behind your regulars’ purchasing decisions: what’s important to them? Are they single and ready to mingle? Health-conscious? Open to trying out new trends or loyal to familiar favorites? The SIP POS extension gives you unprecedented access to this data through an app that SIP members use to pay their tab. 

The smallest level of detail is your regulars’ interests and their likes and dislikes. What are they into? Where do they hang out online and in real life? How do they communicate with friends? From a psychographic standpoint, what drives them to come out and have a good time? These nuances can help you plan entertainment to bring people in, hire the perfect DJ and tweak everything down to the volume level. You may also gain some insight on how to make social media part of the in-person experience for a marketing goldmine: user-generated content.

What Do They Expect from You?

Creating the perfect vibe and menu is half the battle, but getting new guests to come back requires top-notch service and smooth, secure transactions. It’s best to give customers a lot of options and test them. The goal is to understand how they prefer to order and pay, when they are most likely to spend more and how you can increase individual orders. A beta test of the SIP bar POS extension and app in New York City showed that high-spending happy hour regulars love using our system to find new places to try and pay their bill. Eventually, after enough transactions take place, SIP venues will be able to access actionable demographic and sales insights directly in SIP.

In addition to the in-house customer experience, details about your regular customers will tell you how to communicate with them for marketing purposes. Do they respond to texts or prefer emails? What kinds of promotions get them excited and how do they like to be rewarded? Aside from observing them in your space, it’s worth searching the social media platforms your guests use to see what they’re saying. 

Define Your Regular Customer Persona

The sum total of these identifying factors will outline one or two personas you can expect to see in your space. Once you have an educated guess about who they are, you can start to test every aspect of your business to get to know them even better. There’s nothing like adding some thoughtful new touches and watching your customers really enjoy them! 

If you’re looking to level up your cool factor while gaining granular insights about your regulars, book a demo of the SIP platform today.

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