How much are your best customers worth?

Every restaurant owner knows that your most loyal guests are your bread and butter. It costs far less to get their visit than new diners, and many times they become a brand ambassador, recommending your concept to friends. Just how significant is this group? Venga, a CRM that integrates point-of-sale and OpenTable data, tried to place a value on the loyal customer. Here’s what they found.

1. They may look small…

Venga found that just a small portion of your guests represent a large chunk of your revenue: in fact, the top 5 percent of diners bring in 20 percent of a typical restaurant’s revenue. It’s worth your while to break down this group to find out more about their habits and preferences. If you have access to your guest data, try seeing what menu items they order to determine what dishes are bringing guests back.

2. ...but they come in large parties.

Of that top 5 percent, 40 percent belong to large parties. A large portion of your top spenders are part of large or private parties. Make sure to market your event space for corporate meetings and parties. Promote your venue as a celebratory location to win birthdays and other lifetime milestones.

3. Their friends are an untapped resource.

Over half of the top 5 percent are repeat diners. Aside from increasing their frequency or check average, increasing cover size is a great way to bring in more business. Plus, it’s an easier way to win over a new fan. Run a “dine with a friend” campaign and offer a paella for four or a prix fixe meal with two appetizers and four entrees.

4. They have specific preferences.

40 percent of top guests have no notes. You’re missing a huge opportunity to wow your guests by not tracking their likes and dislikes. By knowing someone’s favorite wine, the sommelier can make more tailored wine recommendations or comp a glass of their favorite Pinot Noir. These personal touches are what cement these guests as your loyal followers.

5. They want to hear from you.

15 percent of guests book another reservation after receiving a followup. Marketers these days are hypersensitive to guest inboxes—but this group actually wants to communicate. By sending a simple “thank you for visiting” or “we miss you” message, you’re sure to get these guests back into your restaurant.