Loyalty programs are a proven way to attract and retain customers in any business, including restaurants. In today's highly competitive food industry, having a loyalty program can help your restaurant stand out from the crowd and drive repeat business.
Restaurant loyalty programs not only reward existing customers for their loyalty by offering them benefits, but can also entice new customers. It is estimated that as many as 47% of diners in the United States participate in a restaurant loyalty program, a surefire indicator of their popularity among consumers.
The question is, what is a restaurant loyalty program, and how can you implement one in your restaurant? In this comprehensive guide to loyalty programs for restaurants, we will walk you through these questions and more.
What is a Restaurant Loyalty Program?
A restaurant loyalty program is a type of customer loyalty program specifically tailored to restaurants and their patrons. It tracks the spending habits of repeat customers and rewards their loyalty with points that can be redeemed for various benefits. These perks often include discounts on meals, complimentary menu items, and even access to exclusive events and services like wine tastings or special appearances by renowned chefs.
Benefits of a Loyalty Program
Boost Restaurant Sales
Repeat customers make up a significant portion of business sales, accounting for up to 70% of them. That's why it's critical to foster a connection with your customers and keep them coming back. Starbucks implemented a customer loyalty program in 2013, resulting in a 26% increase in profits. A retail survey from 2016 found that over 70% of consumers prefer to shop at a business that offers a loyalty program, even when all other factors are equal. This suggests that the opportunity to receive discounts or rewards is a significant enticement for customers across industries.
Moreover, having a loyal customer base can lead to more word-of-mouth referrals for your restaurant. Satisfied customers who feel their needs are being met are more likely to recommend your business to their friends. Studies indicate that 86% of consumers engage with brands they are loyal to by spreading the word, and 92% trust recommendations from acquaintances over any other form of marketing.
A loyalty program helps keep repeat customers coming back, and also attracts new customers who haven’t had the chance to visit your restaurant before. Restaurants operate on tight profit margins, so any increase in revenue will have a significant impact on the business.
Collect Customer Data
Restaurant loyalty programs allow you to collect valuable data on your customers, including their purchase history and preferences. This information can be used to tailor personalized offers to your customer to encourage them to come back. Overall, it helps with your marketing efforts, improve your menu offerings, and better understand your customer base.
Boosts Customer Satisfaction
Loyalty programs show customers that you care about their experience and are invested in keeping them happy. This increased sense of appreciation can lead to higher customer satisfaction and, in turn, more positive word-of-mouth referrals. By tracking customers' spending habits and preferences, a loyalty program can offer personalized rewards and incentives that are more appealing to each individual customer. By offering personalized benefits, recognition, convenience, and increased engagement, a loyalty program can improve customer satisfaction and appreciation, leading to increased loyalty and repeat business for your restaurant.
Encourages Repeat Visits
A loyalty program encourages repeat visits by offering incentives and rewards for customers who visit your restaurant frequently. By tracking customers' spending habits and preferences, a loyalty program can personalize the rewards offered, making them more appealing to each individual customer. As customers accumulate rewards, they are motivated to continue visiting your restaurant to redeem them.
Additionally, a loyalty program can offer exclusive benefits and experiences, such as early access to new menu items or VIP treatment, that are only available to program members, further encouraging repeat visits. By offering a mix of tangible rewards and exclusive experiences, a loyalty program can increase customer loyalty and encourage repeat business, helping to drive growth for your restaurant.
Increases Customer Lifetime Value
By encouraging repeat visits and loyalty, a loyalty program can increase the lifetime value of your customers. In other words, customers are more likely to spend more money over time if they feel valued and appreciated.
Tips for Building a Successful Loyalty Program
Here are some tips for building a successful loyalty program for your restaurant:
Offer meaningful rewards: The rewards you offer should be valuable and appealing to your customers. Consider offering discounts, free items, or exclusive promotions.
Make it simple and easy to participate: Customers should be able to easily sign up for your loyalty program and understand how it works. Consider using a digital platform that makes it easy for customers to track their rewards and redeem them. (mention INFI POS)
Personalize the experience: Personalizing the loyalty program to each customer's individual preferences and habits can increase their engagement and satisfaction. Consider using customer data to create personalized rewards and promotions.
Encourage referrals: Word-of-mouth referrals can be a powerful tool in attracting new customers. Consider offering rewards for referrals to encourage customers to spread the word about your restaurant.
Promote your program: Make sure your customers know about your loyalty program and the benefits it offers. Consider using in-restaurant signage, email marketing, and social media to promote your program and drive participation.
Continuously evaluate and improve: Regularly evaluate the success of your loyalty program and make changes as needed. Consider surveying customers to garner feedback and make improvements accordingly, which will increase satisfaction and engagement.
Make it exclusive: Offering exclusive rewards or promotions to loyalty program members can make them feel valued and special, which will incentivize them to continue visiting your restaurant.
By setting clear goals and understanding your customers, you can build and implement a successful loyalty program for your restaurant that is easy to participate in and offers valuable rewards. Be sure to actively promote your program and continuously evaluate and improve based on customer feedback, and your customers will keep returning.
A loyalty program is a smart investment for any restaurant looking to attract and retain customers, boost customer satisfaction, and increase lifetime value. Whether you choose a simple points-based system or a more complex program, the benefits of a loyalty program are well worth the effort.
For smaller and medium-sized restaurants, a phone-based reward program directly connected to the POS system can be a great option. These systems are easy to set up and offer functional benefits without the need for additional software. At INFI, we offer a convenient solution for setting up self-service kiosks in restaurants. With just a few taps, customers can easily place and pay for their orders and earn loyalty points by entering their phone number. Schedule a demo today and see how our self-service kiosks fit into your restaurant and how you can benefit from the loyalty program.