June 10th, 2024

18 Ways to Collect Customer Contacts for your Cafe, Restaurant or Bar

restaurant customer contacts

You might be surprised at how many customer contact details you already have – from email correspondence to booking requests, competition entries, and online orders. It’s time to gather them up and put them to work by sending emails, newsletters, and promotional text messages. It won’t take long to have an effective and very useful restaurant customer contacts list.

Find Contact Details Already in your System – Start Today!

Booking Platforms: systems like NowBookIt ask for customer contact details when bookings are made – this data is yours to use. It’s essential that whatever booking system you use, the data is yours and not kept by the service provider to promote other venues as well. Ask about this when comparing systems.

Function Enquiries: find contacts from old paper diaries, function inquiries, or your function booking software – the details await you!

Table Ordering System: customers provide their details when they first sign up. Many systems also include well-developed methods for feedback and follow-up communication. These ‘all-in-one’ systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with good templates and campaign suggestions.

Coffee Ordering System: these are popular in some high-volume cafes and will also have customer details from when they sign up. Make sure the system you use makes these details available to you.

Event Bookings: if you offer entertainment and sell event tickets, the system you use such as Eventbrite or StickyTickets, will collect the contact details.

Accommodation Bookings: if that’s part of your service, there will be contact details for guests.

Email Correspondence: chances are you regularly email people who are customers or suppliers. They’re legitimate contacts to add to your CRM, even if it’s just an email address and not a phone number.

Instagram, Facebook and TikTok? Your followers are a list, but you don’t have access to their contact details. Connecting with them depends on algorithms that usually stop most people from seeing your posts unless you pay for promotions. That’s why it’s so important to build your own independent list.

Once you have even a few dozen restaurant customer contacts, you can start pushing out some promotions from here: 30 Ways to Promote Your Restaurant or Cafe in the Next 7 Days.

Add New Ways to Build Your Customer List

Website Sign-Up: It’s essential to have a ‘Join Our List’ option on your site, but most people don’t want to offer details without a need or incentive. The web form should be integrated with your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) – this can be simple or sophisticated, like MailChimp, ActiveCampaigns, HubSpot of many others.

Social Media Sign-Up Linked to a CRM: this could be for competitions or subscriber bonuses and lead to the same system.

Email Receipts: many shops now offer this service. Check with your POS provider to see if it’s available. It’s popular with people who pay for groups—just ask them.

Sports Tipping Contacts: participants in your sports tipping competitions will have provided contact details, so add them to the central CRM.

Surveys and Feedback Forms: Distribute surveys or feedback forms with a field for customer contact information, making the important details compulsory. This could also be offered digitally on a kiosk or digital screen.

Referral Program: Start a referral program where existing customers can share the contact details of friends or family interested in your event information. A good CRM system will enable this with a referral code that gives a benefit to the referrer eg a $10 voucher.

Birthday Clubs: these are simple for people to understand and can be popular. Most CRM and email systems have facilities to add birthday details. Make sure the benefit is worth redeeming – the most attractive is a dollar amount rather than a percentage.

Contests and Giveaways: run competitions where participants must provide their contact details to enter.

Tabletop & Menu Offers: Use tabletop displays with QR codes that direct customers to a sign-up form or have the QR code on your menu.

Partnership Promotions: partner with local businesses for mutual promotion, but be careful not to just ‘give away your list’ – this could be illegal if the contact has no connection or interest in your business. You also want to know that the partner business will put as much energy into the promotion as you will.

Letterbox Offers: real mail isn’t dead; it’s just not nearly as common. Use an ‘unaddressed mail’ service like Australia Post to deliver a flyer with a strong offer and a QR code to reclaim it. Test this with a small drop and see what the response is like.

Use FOMO to Build Your List: if people fear missing out on future events, the best way to make a first call on bookings is to be on your priority list! Do you run high-quality dinners or entertainment that is in demand? It’s worth thinking about…

Cost-effective Incentives to Encourage Customers to Share Their Details:

  • Discounts: Offer a small percentage off their next purchase, which is best done when the customer shows you their join-up email.
  • Freebies: Provide a free item like a coffee or dessert for signing up – best if done with a CRM that can generate a voucher.
  • Exclusive Offers: Give access to special deals or early notifications about sales – this can be part of your regular email newsletter to customers.
  • Loyalty Points: reward points that can be redeemed later. Handle with care—these can be complex systems and may not be motivating for most people because the rewards are too ‘distant’. They are often best handled by large multi-site groups. Put your energy into more frequent and simpler messages.
  • Monthly Draws: Enter customers into a monthly prize draw for a meal or gift card. Then, announce the winner on social media and in your next newsletter – don’t forget!
  • Birthday Treats: Offer a complimentary item on someone’s birthday.

Permission and Compliance with Restaurant Customer Contacts

When collecting contacts, you must ensure you have permission to market to them. Following these steps will help you stay compliant and maintain customer trust. Here’s how to do it properly:

  • Source Verification: Confirm if the information was collected through a subscription form or another method where the customer agreed to ongoing contact. Doing business with a person is regarded as creating a legitimate relationship for future contact.
  • Terms and Conditions: If using data from other sources or partners, review their terms and conditions to ensure compliance.
  • First Message: In your initial message, ask customers to re-confirm their desire to subscribe.
  • Unsubscribe Option: Provide a functional unsubscribe feature in all communications – an Unsubscribe link in emails and a STOP message in text messages.
  • Make Your Messages Genuinely Valuable: people don’t unsubscribe from emails or messages when there’s actual value and interest – that’s your challenge, but it’s not a reason to never start!
restaurant customer contacts

Check the other useful blog posts on the Foodie Coaches website…

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