Do you value your customers? If yes, great. But do your customers know that they are being valued and recognized? This may sound a bit out of place but your customers also need these extra elements from your restaurant besides good food and great service. So, if you have done nothing special for your customers, it might be easier for them to choose a different restaurant the next time they decide to dine out or order in. In a time when a new restaurant pops up every now and then, it is important that you take a few steps to make sure that you create an impression on your customers and stand out from the competition. One of the best ways to do so is through a restaurant loyalty program. So what to do? We all know that the cost of retaining old customers is much less than acquiring new ones. If a restaurant business wishes to retain its customers, the best thing it can do is focus on what helps them keep its existing customers happy and one of the best ways to do so is to invest in a proper restaurant loyalty program.
What exactly is a restaurant loyalty program?
Just like the name, a loyalty program is a system that is created for the loyal customers of the restaurant, and the more loyal they are to the business, the more rewards they get. Restaurant owners can reward customers with a wide range of benefits like additional discounts, access to premium services, free menus, and gifts. These rewards will in turn be converted to customer loyalty which is much more valuable to a business than almost everything. These loyalty programs can be designed in such a way that repeat customers are identified, and according to the frequency of their purchases, appropriate rewards are given. It can be also based on the number of points acquired by the customer through the purchases made over time. It can be a tier-level restaurant loyalty program as well. It is one of the most effective marketing strategies implemented by businesses as it helps them increase their customer base and brand loyalty. It ultimately benefits the customer as they can save a lot of money by redeeming their loyalty programs.
What makes a restaurant loyalty program so important?
We know how competitive and ruthless the restaurant industry is. Every company spends a huge chunk of its revenue on marketing efforts to attract the right set of customers. A loyalty program helps restaurants create a group of loyal individuals who in turn creates a sense of community for the business. This is something that all restaurant owners wish to achieve in the long run. Apart from this, restaurant loyalty programs have an impressive ROI, so you can rest assured that your investment returns will be doubled. Restaurant loyalty programs are an excellent way to gradually increase customer spending and are one of the most low-maintenance and inexpensive ways to gain new customers as well. Your loyal customers become your marketing ambassadors and through effective word-of-mouth publicity, you gain new customers. Apart from these benefits, it enables the restaurant business to maintain a sustainable way to grow, and connect with customers effectively.
Top 10 benefits of having a restaurant loyalty program
Now that we have a clear idea of what a customer loyalty program is and why it is so important for your restaurant business, let us look at some of the benefits of developing a good restaurant loyalty program:
1. Identify your superstar customers
Even though it is necessary to focus on your target customer base, your marketing efforts can be much more effective if you can figure out which set of customers visit your restaurant the most and make big purchases often. This helps send customized marketing messages to them regarding the latest sale and discount that takes place in the restaurant. It not only helps your marketing messages hit the target, but the results you get from the process are also much more enhanced than a generalized approach to the same. Loyalty programs can be directed to such customers, which helps them feel special and recognized.
2. Better brand identity
Restaurant reward programs must always be customized to fit the needs of customers and the character of the restaurant. There must be a unique element that makes your reward program stand out from the rest and help add to the brand identity of your restaurant. A restaurant loyalty program is an excellent opportunity for your restaurant to communicate to your customers who you are and what you stand for. The strong sense of community and an even stronger brand identity helps the restaurant position itself in an advantageous space in the restaurant industry if done properly. So make sure to speak to your customers through your loyalty program.
3. Your customers spend more money at your restaurant
Even though it is a subtle change, if you look at the customer spending reports of your best customers, you can observe that their level of spending will have definitely increased over time. This means that the level of customer spending has increased. As your restaurant offers better discounts and notifies the customers of the sale going on, they buy more products which eventually leads to them spending more money at the restaurant. Loyalty programs encourage customers to visit your restaurant again and again, which eventually leads to them spending more and it increases the sale of your business to a great extent.
4. Repeat customers
If you get to bring the customers back to your restaurant over and over, then you have created for yourself a set of loyal individuals. It is extremely difficult to get customers to come back to the same restaurant when there are a plethora of restaurants available in the market. A reward program structure effectively helps the restaurant stand out from the rest of the businesses and can create a lasting impression on the customers. This will urge them to come back to you even when the restaurant next to you offers a better deal that day. This is a huge benefit for an industry such as this, where customer loyalty is a scarce resource.
5. Customers feel appreciated
One of the best feelings in the world is being recognized and treated special. A restaurant loyalty program does exactly this. It recognizes the purchases made by the customer and rewards them with extra points which they can redeem once it reaches a sizeable amount. It is an excellent way to make customers feel special and loved. In the fast-paced life that we live, taking the time to thank someone for their small yet meaningful actions can be a great gesture. Restaurant loyalty programs solidify the relationship that a customer develops with the business, so the next time when your restaurant faces a downtime, you can surely rely on this band of loyal customers to come to your rescue!
6. Customer retention
Every marketer or businessman knows how much significance these two words carry. Companies and brands across the world spend tons and tons of money on marketing with the only aim of increasing the customer base. One of the most expensive elements of running a business is spending money is gaining new customers. But do you know what is not as expensive? Retaining old customers. If enough care is given to this element, businesses cans have a lot of money every year. Retaining existing customers is so much easier than gaining new ones, and a loyalty program is the most excellent way to ensure that you do not lose your existing customers.
7. Gain access to relevant customer data
How well do you know your customers? If not well enough, then it is high time that you integrate your customer data with your POS system to get in-depth reports which can be even better if done through reward origami. It gives deep insights into the taste and preferences of customers, which can then be used to develop even better and specific customer reward programs that they cannot say no to. All of this information related to the customers can be used to deliver a better experience for the customers the next time they visit your restaurant or order from it. This increases customer satisfaction as well.
8. Word-of-mouth marketing
What works better than good old word-of-mouth marketing? One of the easiest ways customers get influenced is through the recommendations and reviews made by their friends and family. This is especially true for restaurant business people who wish to visit restaurants that their friends trust. This is where the role of reward programs comes in. Your loyal band of customers acts as the champions for your business by spreading the word elated to how good your restaurant is and how unique the customer experience is. You get at least one new customer for one existing customer, saving you a great deal of money in the marketing and advertising area.
9. Enhances the clarity of communication
There are often chances for miscommunication and meaning to get lost in between marketing messages. This can be avoided in a restaurant reward program as the restaurant gets an opportunity to converse directly with the customers, getting to understand them better. This takes away any chance of miscommunication and increases the clarity with which things get communicated. The restaurant understands exactly what the customer is looking for and helps provide them with just that. The latest menu, the best offers, and details of exclusive events can be communicated effectively with the customers through a reward program as well.
10. Increases trust
The best part of investing in a loyalty program is the increased level of trust customers have in your restaurant. They confidently recommend your restaurant to their friends and anyone who asks them about a good place to order food from. This trust is a crucial element for the long-term survival of your business. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that a proper reward program helps your restaurant gain a steady competitive advantage in the industry and help you carve out a unique space in the market as well. Make sure to provide the best quality food and efficient customer service to them as well, because maintaining the level of trust is equally important.
A well-thought restaurant loyalty program is one of the major aspects which separate a good restaurant from a great one. Now that you know what a reward program is and what benefits it brings along, it is time for you to decide whether to be a good or a great restaurant!