From big businesses to small, you might have noticed that more and more business have now turned their focus towards an overall customer satisfaction rather than just product/service delivery. Even more so for restaurants, it has become more about creating a ‘memorable customer experience” rather than merely serving a tasty dish. Although every restaurant owner has a large variety of potential customers they can choose from and caters their business too; the business strengthening goal forever remains to increase the restaurant’s number of loyal customers.
The challenge lies in retaining and converting the best customers into loyal ones who will visit you often. Read this article to gain more insights on customer retention. Therefore, the right restaurant loyalty program can help you encourage and motivate the customers who are already likely to revisit you.
How to Create an Efficient Restaurant Loyalty Program
The restaurant loyalty program is not a new concept in the hospitality business. However, it is essential to have a loyalty program for restaurants that is suited to your restaurant and your customers. Here are a few points that will help you create a loyalty program for restaurants that will help you effectively drive sales and convert your customers into loyal ones.
1. Easy SignUp
An easy sign-up is the first and the most crucial aspect of a restaurant loyalty program – make it easy. Making your customer go through a series of steps to sign up will discourage participation and will demand a lot of effort from the customer’s end. The idea is to make the entire sign up process more appealing, extremely user-friendly and very simple so that your patrons can participate without thinking twice.
For example, using their phone number or by automatically enrolling them when they check out. Keep the joining process simple and in less than three steps.
2. Incentive for Customers
What’s in it for the customer? – This is an essential question a business owner should be able to answer. There has to be some gratification and value that customers get out of it, discounts and gifts are some of the easiest ways to reward the customers. However, a more customized approach is always recommended, so you must evaluate, what is it that your customers value? Is it just discounts? Or a complimentary dessert? And then create a value-focused loyalty rewards program that best suits your audience.
3. Keep in Touch
It is essential that you create a restaurant loyalty program that revolves around constant communication with the customers. Staying in touch and updating your most loyal patrons about the latest updates helps you stay on their mind and give them a gentle reminder they need to think of you next time they want to eat out. Although just sending out emails is not enough, sending out quality content that your customers are more likely to engage with is also crucial.
For example, instead of sending out emails only about your discounts, switch things up and send them a secret recipe of a dip you serve at your restaurant or a sneak peek of the seasonal menu you are about to introduce. Learn how you can use email marketing to promote your loyalty programs here.
4. Be Friendly
Just like the sign-up process, keep your program simple and easy to understand, don’t complicate it. Be flexible and make it easy for your customers to collect points, claim reward offers and redeem points.
5. No Hard work
Don’t make it mandatory for your customer to carry a loyalty card or a punch card. You must aim to make the entire experience as easy as possible for the customers, not harder. Thus, ensure that their program identity is easily accessible through their phone number or email.
6. Seek Feedback
Listen to your customers and pay attention to what they want. Now, this is where you use the restaurant loyalty program to your advantage and learn what your best customers like and dislike about your restaurant. A genuinely useful loyalty program should help you understand more about your customers and their preferences. While you should cater to your customers’ choices, to what peeks their interest in your restaurant and the loyalty program, you should also frequently give them an option of filling out surveys and providing feedback in return for loyalty points. This helps build a vast pool of insights that not only enables you to learn about your customer experience but also about what they seek from a loyalty program like yours.
For example, to learn which gratification motivates your audience base the most, as part of one of your reward offers to allow your customers to pick what they would like to win with a certain number of points. This will help you get useful data on what motivates your customers and make necessary revisions to your loyalty program.
7. Make Them Feel Special
This how you build a strong emotional connection with your audience. Mark their birthday and anniversary with a special offer just for them. Take note of what they say they enjoy the most at your restaurant and surprise them on their next visit with it. These small but customized efforts help the customers feel valued and taken care of. They will not only recommend your place to everyone, but they will also make sure they visit you as often as possible.
Choosing the Right Loyalty Software for Restaurants
Now that you understand what all factors you need to include in your restaurant loyalty program, the next step should be choosing the right Loyalty Software for restaurants. The most important thing to look for is that it should be cloud-based and open to integration with your POS software. This is because you need customer data from the POS to create an effective loyalty rewards program. Based on the ordering history, eating preferences and behavior, you can create highly targeted loyalty programs for restaurants.
However, it is always better to go for a POS that already has a Loyalty Module for easy assimilation of data.
In conclusion, a simple, open and user-friendly restaurant loyalty program will help you earn the customer interest you are hoping for, so use it to understand your audience and build a program around their wants mixed seamlessly with the theme of your restaurant. In the sea of many restaurants don’t forget to stand out and make your guest experience unique in any way possible because they might not remember the way your food tastes but they will not forget how you made them feel.