Gain and Retain Guests With a Restaurant Loyalty Program

We will never stop talking about all the benefits a loyalty program will bring to your restaurant. Here's why.
Amanda Hamel

Running a successful restaurant business is no easy task. You have to serve delicious food, hire the best staff, and offer great service. But there is one thing that can help you grow your business: a restaurant loyalty program.

Why start a loyalty program?

You may be wondering, “Why should I start a loyalty program?” Here are some reasons:

You can retain your guests. The restaurant industry is competitive and growing more so each year. More restaurants are opening every day than closing down, which means that there are more places for consumers to eat than ever before. If you don't keep your customers coming back after they've been once or twice, they'll go somewhere else! A loyalty program gives people an incentive to come back again and again by offering them rewards after reaching set milestones (such as 10 visits).

The types of rewards

The type of rewards you offer your members will depend on the needs of your restaurant and its guests. Your rewards can be tangible or intangible, they may be customer-specific or company-wide.

Once you have determined what type of reward(s) you will offer, the next step is to determine how many points or units each reward costs. Points can range from as low as 1-2 points per dollar spent up to more than 10 points per dollar spent depending on the type of establishment and service it provides. For example, a fast food chain might have an average point-to-dollar ratio of 5 while an upscale hotel might have a ratio closer to 2 or 3 points per dollar spent.

Once the number of points is determined, then decide what items are available for purchase with those particular types of rewards (e.g., gift cards, discounts/coupons). For example, A fast food chain might add items such as extra fries for $1 with every purchase over $10. Or customers who spend $20 in one transaction would receive 2 free side dishes (such as onion rings).

How to start a loyalty program

A loyalty program is a program that helps to increase customer retention and keep your customers coming back to your restaurant regularly. The rewards are offered to guests for their support of your business.

Creating a loyalty program that will allow you to offer guests discounts or freebies when they reach certain milestones doesn’t have to be a hard task. Our platform allows you to easily build a customizable program that your guests will love. Our white-label, restaurant mobile apps allow your brand to stay front and center so guests can order on the go from anywhere and earn points! 

But wait there's more. Reaching your loyal, signed-up guests shouldn’t be hard so we've made it incredibly easy! Target the right guests based on our automatic data-driven insights to send email marketing messages instantly. When you combine a loyalty program with data-driven insights you’ll be setting your business up for success!

Promote your program

There are many ways to get people talking about your loyalty program. Here are a few of our favorite ways!

Promote your loyalty program in-store. You can do this by providing guests with a physical card or sticker each time they visit. Alternatively, you can offer an online version of the loyalty program that is easily accessible via smartphone or tablet. The latter option may be better for those who are not tech-savvy and are more likely to lose their loyalty cards.

Offer a referral program. If someone refers a friend who buys something from your restaurant then they will receive some sort of reward (e.g., a free meal). The more people that use their referral code when making purchases means more money coming into your restaurant!

Use email marketing. Email marketing is another good way of reaching both existing customers but also attracting new ones too! By sending regular emails about sales offers/new products/promotions etc., you will remind people about why they love eating at your restaurant which could lead them back there again soon enough if nothing else does first.

Encourage social media sharing

Social media is a great way to reach your customers and your goals. You can use social media to promote your loyalty program, restaurant, menu, and specials!

Social media is another excellent way to promote your loyalty program. Social media is one of the most effective ways to reach out to consumers; it's also free! Most restaurants have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts where they can post information about new menu items, promotions, and events taking place at their restaurant as well as upcoming deals on gift cards/certificates/souvenirs, etc.

You can create posts on Facebook and Instagram every week to keep people up-to-date with what’s happening in your restaurant. For example:

  • Create a post asking if anyone has tried your new chicken burrito yet.
  • Post a recipe for an amazing new dish you added to the menu recently month (with a photo)

Analyze your results

If you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, it's time to take a look at how your loyalty program is working. Check for:

  • Missing details in your loyalty program description and goals.
  • The lack of a clear distinction between reward points and special offers/promotions.
  • Inadequate or inconsistent communication with members regarding new rewards and benefits.

If your loyalty program isn't performing as expected, don't worry! There are many ways that restaurants can improve their performance through effective menu planning and marketing strategies.

Start a restaurant loyalty program to retain guests and drive revenue.

A restaurant loyalty program can help you retain guests, drive revenue and increase repeat visits. It’s also a great way to identify your best customers. By now you’re probably already convinced that a loyalty program will work wonders for your business. But, in case you’re still left questioning here are a few more benefits you’ll see with a restaurant loyalty program.

A loyalty program will increase customer satisfaction by offering rewards for frequent purchases. Improve brand awareness by rewarding repeat visits. Drive more traffic by encouraging guests to bring friends and family members with them for their next visit. Build a better relationship with your customers by offering them special discounts and deals. Plus so much more!

If you’ve got a restaurant, you understand the value of repeat customers. They can be the difference between a great year and an amazing one. They are also more likely to try new things on your menu if they feel like they belong. Your loyalty program should help guests feel like they are part of something special.