Imagine this scenario:
You walk into your favorite cafe and smile at the worker, whose name you know to be, let’s say, Jimmy.
You say, “Hey Jimmy, I want my regular today.”
Jimmy smiles and says, “Hi! It’s good to see you again. Sure, no problem. Oh hey, we got a new menu item today. I’ll just throw it in for free, only for you, what do you say?”
You laugh and say, “Thanks Jimmy! You’re the best! I’ll see you later!”
Take a deep, comforting sigh, because you know this is where you belong.
Becoming a regular customer at a cafe or restaurant. It’s everyone’s dream, right? But getting noticed by the workers requires a lot of commitment. Don’t worry, it’s not that much work! (Trust me, this is from years of experience.) Here are some steps you can follow so that you can start getting all that free food!
1. Pick the right place.
This is actually the most important step. You need to find a restaurant or a cafe that is perfect for you. Now, it can’t just be anywhere. You need to think about the location, taste, and price. Ask yourself ‘Will I really eat here often?’ Pick a place near your home, school, or hagwon, basically a place where you can make it a routine to go to. But remember to make sure that you enjoy the food they sell, and avoid selecting places that have a limited menu (because you’re going to be eating there pretty often). Lastly, think of the price, and find a place that doesn’t charge 7,000 won for a cup of mediocre coffee. Basically, don’t choose that 5-star restaurant two hours away. Go for the nearest coffee shop you would love to study in! Carefully consider your options, and go with your gut feeling!
2. Smile at the workers!
Okay, you’ve entered your chosen destination, and now you have to make the best first impression you could possibly make in your life. This is the start! So, before you say anything, smile at the workers, laugh if something funny happens, and follow up on any jokes that they tell. This will take a lot of effort, but you have to show that you are an open, welcoming person. Have fun with this, and things will just start to flow.
3. Return often, and at regular times.
In order to become a regular customer with the benefits, you have to put in some work of your own. Invest in the restaurant or cafe, and visit their shop frequently! Even if you swing buy to buy something on the go, the workers will remember that and start to realize what a valuable customer you are! Also, it helps to visit at specific times. That way, the same workers will most likely be there, and thus they will be more likely to remember you.
4. Be memorable.
You have to differentiate yourself from all those other customers who don’t come regularly like you do. It might be hard for employees to recognize you otherwise. So, first, wear memorable attire. Whether it be a backpack, a big jacket, sweatpants, or a hat, make sure that you wear something consistently whenever you visit the shop. If they have trouble recognizing your face, they will definitely recognize your clothes. It could even be a cool conversation-starter! Second, you could make memorable impressions through your actions. It’s simple, just do something that other customers don’t! For example, you could trip, drop your money, or speak a different language. Even though it might be embarrassing, it will definitely catch the eyes of the employees. Lastly, you need to order consistently as well. However, there is a more complex aspect to this strategy. Order something consistently, but make it a unique item. For example, if you want a vanilla latte, you could say “vanilla latte with extra cream” or “iced vanilla latte with less ice and more milk”. Then you’ll be ingrained in their memories forever, and every time you come, your ‘regular’ will be that quirky, unique item.
5. Make them know you’re worth it!.
You have to prove to the workers that you are worth investing in! Nothing is better than a customer who attracts other customers, right? So, bring your friends along! Plus, you can act more natural when you are with your friends, and that might make you more likable and could even break awkwardness between you and the workers. You could also order a lot of food. This makes you memorable, yes, but also shows that you are a precious customer who will contribute a lot to the survival and success of the shop itself! They will also trust that if they give you some extra service free food, you will be able to finish it all. And come on, you know that if you buy a lot of food, the workers are in a better mood automatically.
Are you ready? Prepped with all the right steps, go out there and start the journey to fulfilling your dream of becoming a regular! Soon, you’ll be getting free food and maybe even contact information from the workers! It’s the perfect win-win situation, so get started now!
– Sarah Chin (’16)