5 Effective Restaurant Loyalty Program Ideas in the Year 2022.

Business environment prevailing today can be described as a dog eat dog world, gone are the days of the 90s when few businesses had monopoly and customers had to buy the product due to lack of choices.

Post economic liberalization with the increase in choice of products and services in the market the concept of customer loyalty is redundant. It is very difficult for a business to remain profitable by selling the same thing in the same way due to competition and the same is true for the restaurant business.  

Restaurant business has been facing numerous challenges along with the competition. For restaurants, 2020 was a devastating year as the Covid-19 pandemic forced many F&B businesses to shut down their businesses.

As per National Restaurant Association more than 110,000 food businesses were shut down due to lockdowns and subsequent loss of business. Due to the health risk, people felt unsafe eating at dine-in restaurants. Restaurant businesses that have survived the pandemic will have to bring new patrons and restaurant loyalty program can be a key strategy.

Those food businesses that have survived the onslaught of pandemic and devised strategies to survive the difficult times will also have to bring new patrons along with retaining the old ones if they want their business to grow.

Devising a restaurant loyalty programme is one of the important strategies restaurants will have to work on if they want to survive and thrive in future.  In this article let’s go through the strategy a restaurant can workout to retain customer

Tips to work out a restaurant loyalty program

 Working out a strategy to reward customer

Statistics suggest customers dine at restaurants where they can get additional rewards. But it may not be possible for the restaurant to reward each and every guest due to the economics.

The restaurant management has to strike a balance when working out a loyalty programme based on the amount spent and the duration of the visit to the restaurant. Depending on the type of the food business a restaurant can work out a reward programme on the number of visits or the amount spent

Programme based on frequency of visits

A reward program based on the frequency of the visits can be apt for quick service restaurants and casual dining.

As the amount of the bill spent is not taken into consideration this kind of reward points are based on giving freebies rather than cash discounts.

The restaurants can provide free drinks or desserts for the certain number of visit by the guest. This kind of reward programmes can make the client special without much spending by the restaurants.

Programme based on bill spent

A rewards programme based on the amount spent is more effective for fine dine restaurants and bars where the bill amount is higher. These kinds of restaurants have patrons who are high end and pampering them and giving attention to their fine requirements is appreciated.

Since profit margins are high on the bill spent the restaurant can work out a reward plan either based on the providing points on every thousand rupee spent or providing complimentary gifts like a fine wine or champagne on the high worth client.

It’s highly recommended to get POS software for your restaurant loyalty program to make things easier for you to manage since it take care of more things than billing.

Make the restaurant loyalty program easy to understand

Customers are pretty well informed these days and a restaurant need not waste its time in educating its patrons what a restaurant loyalty program is. However it is important that the restaurant loyalty program is easy to understand and not very complicated. The entire programme should easily register with the clients so that they consciously consider your restaurant to attain that goal for eg earning that death by chocolate dessert on the 5th visit to the restaurant.

Loyalty gift cards is another tried and tested strategy which gives flexibility to the loyal customers to use the points as per their convenience. Once a client earns a certain number of points he can order a certain dish this is usually the way points are redeemed. 

Restaurant can be given an option of selecting a menu item rather than the restaurant pre-deciding a dish or dessert from the menu and limiting the option.

 Personalised restaurant loyalty program

Every individual has a unique take on how they preserve things and so are their aspirations. If two persons are not similar why should their loyalty programme be the same ? Personalising a loyalty programme like extending special discounts on their birthday, anniversary is a great way in earning customer loyalty. Looking at the customer order history a food business can get an idea what the menu items they order regularly will surprise them on their next visit.

Personalising a loyalty programme not only satisfies the client but also encourages them to recommend the restaurant to their friends and family. There is no better word of mouth publicity than a happy client who feels pampered.

Staff participation in promoting loyalty programme

Restaurant staff especially on the front of the house have a key role in the success of the restaurant loyalty program. The staff should be trained about the benefits of the loyalty programme and in turn encourage them to propagate its benefits to the patrons of the restaurant.

The clients who have already enrolled into the loyalty programme should be reminded about the new features of the loyalty programme and the way it will be beneficial to them. The restaurant can also encourage the staff by giving them some kind of cash or other kinds of benefits for enrollment of new joinee to the restaurant loyalty program.

Digital initiatives

The world is going digital and the food industry has been the least digitised industries in the world.

As most of the individuals are mostly glued to their mobile handsets it’s crucial that restaurants have a digital presence. Some of the ways restaurants can promote their loyalty programs is by asking patrons to follow their social media pages and keep them updated about the latest updates, benefits and offers.

Another option is by asking patrons to download the restaurant apps and add loyalty features in the app so as to keep guests updated about the new offers.

Restaurant loyalty program cannot be static, food businesses have to continuously strategize and reinvent their programme so as to get clients attention.

 A loyalty programme just like the marketing of a food business has to be an ongoing process which is a two way communication on the business side to communicate new offers and from the clients side get feedback.

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