The biggest concern for all businesses is not to build a customer base but to sustain it. Customer retention is the hardest science that every business person wants to crack. Those who manage to excel in this art are successful and always profitable in their business. New customers are undoubtedly a fresh air to a business, but the set customer base is its immunity that keeps it surviving and healthy.
Customer retention is difficult in the restaurant industry, given the plethora of options available for consumers to test their taste buds. Keeping your customers sticking to your restaurant is difficult with food zones opening in every street. But we cannot deny the fact that many successful restaurants have managed to sustain their customer base despite cut-neck competition in the field. So, it might be difficult, but persistent and smart efforts can help you big time.
There are many tips and tricks that account for increased customer engagement and retention. The latest and one of the most efficient practices in the direction is the restaurant loyalty programs. So, if you also want to employ these programs for a fruitful result, then here is all you need to know:
What are Loyalty Programs?
A restaurant loyalty program has many variants and forms, but the basic idea of it is that it is a restaurant marketing strategy aimed at promoting restaurant customer retention. It can vary from providing the customers with vouchers and food coupons to providing them a functional app account or a smart card.
You can also utilize the Eatance Coupon app to offer food coupons to your customers, which can also help you bring in new customers.
The bottom line is that the restaurant loyalty program must be robust and sensible enough to keep the customer attracted to the restaurant. For this, you will have to make dire efforts to make your restaurant’s experience strikingly great and foundationally strong, with ample potential to keep the customer glued.
What are the benefits of Loyalty Programs?
Here are some key benefits that loyalty programs can pull for you:
1. Increases Restaurant Visits
Loyalty programs work because rewards and free goods always tempt people. If a customer gets a chance to win a reward with each and every purchase, then they are more likely to return to make a fast purchase which moves them closer to the casual reward or coupons, thus increases restaurant sales
It sounds unpretentious, but building amazing program rewards for members into a loyalty program incentivizes further purchases, earns the loyalty of the program members, and increases their spending. Customers combine these reward-based program incentives with the elements mentioned above of a loyalty program and will create loyal members who will be returning over and over again.
2. Add to Online Sales
If online customers are made part of a loyalty program, then chances of repeat orders are also heightened. If guest profiles are built into a loyalty program that is joined with a digital ordering system, possibly through a mobile app, then those guests can see their reward status or cards while making their orders.
Joining a loyalty program with online deliveries allows guests to save on their orders and also save a lot of time by reordering frequent items with a few simple clicks of a mobile app. This accessibility can surge the regularity with which loyalty members order from a location as the convenience combined with their trust for that location conveniently suits their busy lifestyle.
3. Boosts Customer Retention
It costs a lot to acquire new customers and can cost significantly more than it does to pull back existing customers. Loyalty programs create a direct link to existing customers who already know about your place. Utilizing the data collected through a loyalty program can push members into visiting again by reaching out through a contact method they provided.
4. Casts a Personal Touch
A loyalty program offers to have someone know the customer personally and feeds the customer's personal information like the frequently ordered items, children's preferences, etc. This makes the customer feel at ease and valued and also helps a restaurant provide that extra efficiency added in service that their guests don’t have elsewhere apart from the loyalty program, promoting customer loyalty.
The data collected through reward programs for restaurants can also be used to send personalized promotions or messages to members for their special events like birthdays or anniversaries.
Tips for Creating a Loyalty Reward Programs for Your Restaurant
Building a new customer loyalty program must be strategic and well developed. Here are a few tips for creating your restaurant loyalty program:
1. The Loyalty Program Must Be Easy to Use For Your Customers
No matter which set-up you choose, it should be easily accepted by your customers and your employees. This makes a digitally-based solution perfect for many businesses. Some added bonuses of digital loyalty programs are that they eradicate the necessity for things like physical cards, which can get lost or thrown away.
They also allow you to gain perceptions about your customers based on their purchases and other data they can designate by participating or scaling the program to include additional program components like surveys or sale alerts.
2. Make Earning Rewards Exciting
Depending on the loyalty program software you opt for, you’ll have different amounts of control over how your program’s rewards will be structured. Try out different types of promotions and add additional rewards for program members. A really important aspect is to keep track of the data you collect for future reference.
3. Promote the Loyalty Program
Promote your program, as it is very crucial to spread the word. Social media marketing and traditional advertising can be beneficial. If you want to ensure that your program is mentioned in your marketing materials, ask your employees to encourage customers to join it by reminding them of the benefits. The more customers know about your customer loyalty program, the more likely they will sign up. Spread the word by mentioning local events, cross-promoting with other relevant brands, and talking your loyalty program up on social media. And be sure that your restaurant loyalty program is accessible through your website and mobile application.
What are the examples of successful Loyalty Programs?
As done by Carl's Junior, you can set up a club that offers news and coupons by email to its members. You can give a sign-up thank you like a coupon for a free small dish and drink with their purchase.
You can allow customers under loyalty programs to use the app to place advance orders and earn rewards points. Members earn specific points for every spend. Chipotle practices this scheme, and its members get rewarded with extra point days and bonus points for trying new menu items.
3. Dunkin Donuts
You can have a personalized credit card or voucher card for your place with which your customer can pre-order and track the rewards, just like Dunkin Donuts.
4. MOD Pizza
The reward program, like in MOD pizza, is managed through an app and gives members a point for each unit spent. Members get some points free upon sign-up and can get a free item from the menu once they earn a specific number of points.
5. Olive Garden
You can start a point system like Olive Garden where customers receive one point per unit spent and can encash them in for selected purchases. Points can be redeemed at the table or ahead of time and expire if a customer makes no purchases in a limited period.
6. Panera Bread
App members in the company receive a reward card to be presented at every visit to earn points toward customized rewards. Panera Bread also give members a special birthday reward.
7. Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Potbelly Perks give members points in the form of “smiles” for every $2 spent. Members receive different bonuses based on the status of their collections and, from time to time, get a surprise in a tailored incentive. Rewards are managed with their app or online.
8. Rainforest Café
For theme restaurants, the customer loyalty program can offer priority seating like Rain forest café. Here the customers also get points on retail purchases and special member-only offers.
9. TGI Friday’s
Members receive a free appetizer or dessert on sign-up and exclusive access to offers, events, and even parties like those done by TGI Friday’s. You can give your members vouchers for every spend that can be redeemed after qualifying menu items at participating locations. They can redeem their saved points for a variety of menu items.
The success of customer loyalty programs is well proven, and evidence shows that loyal guests spend significantly larger amounts than their opposite counterparts. When customers are members of a loyalty program scheme promotes customer loyalty as it provides the venue with the opportunity to make these guests feel like VIP users and members, turning them into verbal supporters of the restaurant and, potentially, increasing the frequency with which they visit or order online.