According to Hospitality Technology’s Customer Engagement Study, 45% of diners will select a restaurant if they belong to its loyalty program. So yes, loyalty programs do work in restaurants by:
Loyalty programs are the magnet to attract and retain loyal customers. In today’s world, people are interested in trying new things, so they switch their restaurants every now and then. However, there are techniques to convert your restaurant visitors into loyal customers. Loyalty programs are at the top of the list. As a restaurant owner, you will agree it is more beneficial to retain existing visitors than to attract new ones. They already know your restaurant; all you have to do is persuade them to keep visiting.
It is true that loyalty programs work but it is also true that sometimes they don’t. The elephant in the room is how to make your loyalty program work? How to ensure that your customers are loyal to your restaurant? And how to take advantage of these programs? Let us find the answers and learn the art of successful restaurant loyalty programs.
The Loyalty Programs are for retaining and reinforcing. If your restaurant loyalty program is difficult to understand then customers might just skip it. In today’s digital world everything is running fast, even the memory. If you want your customers to enrol in your restaurant loyalty program and remember you then offer a simple and meaningful program. For example, instead of burdening them with a plastic card manage your program digitally and save data on your system. Offer a pleasant experience to your customers, don’t confuse them with complex proceedings.
If you want people to sign up and come again later then offer an instant incentive. People might doubt coming there again just to avail the loyalty program benefits so offer them a discount on the current bill. This might ignite their interest and increase the number of sign-ups for the loyalty program. The offers that work the best are those items which is lower at cost to you, but higher in perceived value. For example, a coffee or an ice cream.
Loyalty program members appreciate the special treatment. Train your staff to greet them personally and even offer a special welcome such as free drinks to start their experience. Give them whichever seats they like or seat them in the finest corner of your restaurant. The bonus of this step is that regular customers might also be attracted to the loyalty program after witnessing the special treatment the members receive.
Your restaurant loyalty program should be like an exclusive club. The members should enjoy some out of the reach benefits. This will encourage more and more people to join. Customers love to get what no one else can get. This is the reason why limited-edition products work so well in the market. Organize events at your restaurants just for the Loyalty program members. Reserve a few dishes in your menus and few seats in the restaurants only for the members. Provide them with the password to the WIFI connection. This will help you attract the millennials. You can also distribute coupons to only the members. Special discounts for special people.
Who doesn’t like discounts, that too in the most special month of the year? Birthday treats are one of the most effective ways to bring the customers back, and a must have for every restaurant. Based on our internal study, a right birthday promotion can bring back up to 66% of customers.
So wait no more, set your strategy and surprise your loyal customer on his/her birthday. Invite them with friends and family, and for them to celebrate at your restaurant.
People will join your restaurant loyalty program only when they will know about it. You have to promote this program both inside and outside of the restaurant. For internal promotion, employ a push strategy. Train your staff to sell your loyalty program and to influence the customers to enrol. For external, you can use local media, pamphlets, billboards, etc. Make sure your target customers know that you will provide them benefits in return for loyalty.
So now you know how to start an effective loyalty program. The mantra is to provide value to your customers and make them feel important. Invest your time and effort in improving their experience with you. In return, they will come to your restaurant over your competitors, they will spend more to get a better offer, they will bring new customers, and most importantly, they will stay loyal to your restaurant. Restaurant loyalty programs work wonders when you plan them strategically and offer the best to the members. Remember to take feedbacks and improve your restaurant loyalty program for better results.