Getting customers through the door is only half of the battle for restaurants. The other half is getting them to come back.
Restaurant loyalty programs are a great way to do this. These programs are designed to reward customers for their repeat business.
The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. So if you’re a restaurant manager looking to increase sales, a loyalty program is a great place to start!
There are a number of different ways to structure a loyalty program. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 restaurant loyalty program ideas that you can use to increase customer retention and boost your bottom line.
We’ll also provide tips on how to increase customer participation in your loyalty program.
10 Customer Loyalty Programs for Your Restaurant
When building your customer base, it’s important to focus on retention as well as acquisition.
Loyal customers will not only come back to your restaurant again and again, but they’ll also help to spread the word about your business.
Here are 10 successful customer loyalty program ideas that you can use to keep your customers coming back for more:
1. Consider Reward Networks
One way to increase customer retention is to offer rewards for customers that dine at your restaurant multiple times.
You can do this by partnering with other businesses in your area to create a reward network.
For example, you could partner with a local grocery store. Customers that visit your restaurant multiple times could receive discounts at the grocery store. This would provide an incentive for customers to return to your restaurant.
You could also partner with other businesses in your industry to create a loyalty program. For example, you could partner with a local hotel.
Guests that stay at the hotel and dine at your restaurant could receive a discount on their hotel bill. This would not only increase customer retention, but it would also help to increase foot traffic to your restaurant.
But be careful with putting too much effort into reward networks. Your restaurant can get lost in the shuffle if you partner with too many businesses.
Other businesses will receive the majority of the benefits from the partnerships, while your restaurant will see only a small increase in customer retention. So if you decide to pursue this option, be selective about the businesses you partner with.
2. Loyalty Points
Another way to increase customer retention is to offer loyalty points.
Loyalty points can be earned by customers for every purchase they make at your restaurant.
The points can then be redeemed for discounts on future purchases.
This would provide an incentive for customers to return to your restaurant, as they would be able to save money on their next meal.
Discounts are a great way to increase customer retention. You can offer discounts for customers that visit your restaurant multiple times.
For example, you could offer a 10% discount for customers that visit 5 times within a month.
Or you could offer a 20% discount for customers that visit 10 times within a month.
4. Tiered Loyalty Programs
Tiered loyalty programs are another great way to increase customer retention.
With a tiered loyalty program, customers earn rewards based on how often they visit your restaurant.
The more times a customer visits, the higher tier they reach and the better the rewards become.
For example, you could offer a free appetizer for customers that reach the first tier, a free entree for customers that reach the second tier, and a free dessert for customers that reach the third tier.
5. Referral Programs
With a referral program, customers earn rewards for referring new customers to your restaurant.
For example, you could offer a free appetizer for every new customer that a current customer refers to.
Referrals are one example of a rewards program that can help you grow your customer base organically.
6. Birthday Discounts
Birthday discounts are a great way to increase customer retention.
Customers that have their birthday during the month could receive a discount on their meals. This would provide an incentive for customers to visit your restaurant during their birthday month.
Tip: The best way you can alert loyal customers is through email marketing via newsletters. A notification on their phone will do the trick as well!
7. Digital Restaurant Loyalty Program
A digital restaurant loyalty program is a great way to increase customer retention and brand awareness.
With a digital loyalty program, customers can sign up for an account online and earn rewards for dining at your restaurant.
The rewards can then be redeemed for discounts on future purchases. This would provide an incentive for customers to visit your restaurant more often.
Plus, with digital programs, customers won’t be at risk of losing their loyalty cards since the information is all stored online.
8. Offer Free Delivery
In this delivery-centric world, offering free delivery can significantly boost your sales, especially on slower days of the week.
If you’re planning to offer free delivery, ensure you make a reasonable offer. For example, if a customer orders above 20$, they can be entitled to free delivery. Or those who’ve gathered x number of loyalty points don’t have to pay any delivery fee.
Moreover, having an ordering website that’s always up-to-date is one of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction and, in turn, encourage customer loyalty.
To optimize this type of restaurant loyalty program, you need to revise your ordering website and make sure it’s up-to-date. The last thing you need is for a customer to order something and end up disappointed when their favorite meal option is unavailable.
9. Experiential Rewards
Sometimes selling people “an experience” can help strengthen your brand loyalty.
With experiential rewards, customers can earn rewards and then redeem them for experiences, such as tickets to a concert or a day at the spa.
You can create such rewards during holidays or events like Valentine’s Day, where you know people will be looking for unique experiences.
By doing so, you’d provide an incentive for customers to visit your restaurant more often.
10. Having a Secret Menu
Your secret menu can be designed just for special customers.
These customers who order often, let’s say twice a week, can have access to an exclusive secret menu that’s not published anywhere. This could include a special entree or cocktail that’s only available to them.
Not only does this make your customers feel appreciated, but it also encourages them to visit more often to see what new items might be added to the secret menu.
Extra Tips for a Successful Restaurant Loyalty Program
To maintain program momentum, it’s essential to keep your loyal customers engaged.
The best way to do this is through consistent communications and updates about the program. You can accomplish this through emails or SMS messages.
There are also these additional tips to help you out:
1. Keeping Your Loyalty Program Simple
Your loyalty program should be easy for customers to understand and easy for you to administer.
The last thing you want is for customers to be confused about how the program works or for you to be bogged down with a complicated plan.
2. Making It Easy for Customers to Sign Up
Make sure it’s easy for customers to sign up for your loyalty program.
The sign-up process should be quick and easy, and customers should be able to sign up either online or in person at your restaurant.
3. Ensuring Delivery Drivers Aware of Your Program
If you’re offering delivery, make sure your drivers are aware of your loyalty program and how it works.
This way, they can properly inform customers about the program and answer any questions they may have.
And keep in mind that loyal customers deserve the utmost attention and care. So when it comes to delivery, it’s essential to improve your last-mile delivery to make sure the food quality is retained and delivered on time.
4. Train Your Staff on the Loyalty Program
Make sure your FOH staff is properly trained on how the loyalty program works.
They should be able to answer any questions that customers may have and help them sign up for the program if they’re interested.
FOH staff is often the face of your restaurant, so they need to be able to answer any questions customers may have about the program.
Not to mention, if customers don’t feel like they’re getting the attention they deserve, it’ll reflect poorly on your brand and could result in them taking their business elsewhere.
5. Give Your Guests FOMO
FOMO, or the “fear of missing out,” is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to encourage customers to visit your restaurant more often.
There are a few ways to do this, such as offering exclusive deals or discounts to loyalty program members or promoting on social media.
You can also use FOMO to create a sense of urgency, such as by offering a limited-time-only menu item.
By using FOMO, you can increase brand awareness and encourage customers to visit your restaurant more often.
Create Loyalty Programs and Win Over Customers
Loyalty programs are an excellent way to reward your best customers and incentivize others to visit your restaurant more often.
Keep these tips in mind when creating your loyalty program to ensure its success.
With a little bit of creativity, you can design a loyalty program that’s perfect for your restaurant and sure to win over customers.