How Restaurants Are Showing Their Appreciation For Their Online Regulars

As hungry citizens begin to emerge from their homes and create new dining habits after relying on pandemic delivery services, restaurants are faced with the task of finding new ways to cultivate relationships with customers. It doesn't matter how incredible a restaurant's ambiance might be, The Balance Small Business writes, if service is bad, diners won't return.

Help Scout defines customer appreciation as the art of expressing gratitude to customers, an act that can ultimately benefit a restaurant's bottom line. Customers are more likely to return to restaurants that make dining experiences personal, Indeed explains. Think of the last time you received a free birthday dessert, a complimentary drink sent to your table, or an unexpected holiday treat, for example. During the pandemic, businesses had to get creative in expressing gratitude for their customers. Now, as the restaurant industry attempts to right itself, that gratitude can go a long way.

Gratitude is good business

In a survey compiling opinions of over 2,000 restaurant-goers, Deloitte found that 60% of those polled would return to restaurants that delivered positive, memorable experiences. Whether it entails drawing on delivery bags, adding free dishes to an order, or including thank-you notes, restaurants have become resourceful in the ways they express customer appreciation (per Bon Appétit). 

Retention, the ability to attract and keep a returning customer, can be encouraged through exemplary service, smart menu planning, and loyalty reward offerings (via Upserve). Even a 5% increase in customer retention can result in business increases from 25% to 95%, according to Harvard Business School. And since many restaurants struggled to stay open through the pandemic now face rising expenses, profit margins make a big difference. As we've seen throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants relied on creativity to carry them through restrictions, lockdowns, and surges in online ordering — now that creativity comes into play yet again, this time through appreciation.