Customer retention is highly crucial to running a long-term business. Everyone is aware of its importance, from a kiosk owner to a CEO of a multinational company. Most importantly, loyalty programs are one of the most effective methods of retaining customers.
A customer must never feel like your restaurant is a one-time experience and don't intend to visit again. It's significantly cheaper to maintain old customers than to attract new ones. This is why you should sit down and think about getting more repeat customers for your restaurant.
Here are some loyalty program ideas you can use to retain customers.
One of the most popular kinds of loyalty programs is the reward network system. There isn't much of a difference between traditional loyalty programs and reward networks; the method is the same, but the restaurant doesn't handle the customer points, a network does.
Restaurant directories play a significant role in restaurant reward networks. These restaurant directories are websites where people can check out all restaurant reviews, menus, and more.
You won't have to do much work to establish a point system and offer it to your customers. The network uses loyalty points for a group of restaurants, so there's a possibility that customers might shift to other restaurants in the same group. They could become loyal to the reward network rather than your restaurant.
Turning to reward networks is the best choice when you don't wish to create a loyalty program.
Loyalty points are allocated to each customer depending on how much they spend in your establishment. You'll have to draft an entire program that will suit all kinds of customers that frequent your restaurant.
You could go for a point-per-dollar system where each dollar spent gets one point, and accumulated points can get you discounts and some free menu items. Generally, people use specialized software that analyzes the restaurant's purchases, customer demographics, and accounting to produce a customized plan for that particular restaurant.
Loyalty point programs are most effective because customers can easily decide when to use their points and spend their money accordingly. You can make enticing offers to first-time customers, like offering them a bonus for initiating the loyalty program membership.
Tiered Loyalty Programs
Tiered loyalty programs are your best option if you want a loyalty program that appeals to new and frequent customers. It's an extrapolation of loyalty point programs. Tiered loyalty programs carefully consider the demographics of a restaurant's customer base to create personalized programs effective for each group.
For example, if 15% of the customers are students, a restaurant should make the most out of it and offer student loyalty programs. Usually, tiered loyalty programs have a hierarchal system where each tier provides more benefits than the last.
You can start slowly by using the number of orders as a basis for tiers. The number of points required could increase non-linearly; reaching tier-one requires 1000 points but reaching tier two requires 1900 points. This motivates the customer to spend more so they can enjoy more benefits.
Referral programs provide an incentive to the customer to help with the restaurant's publicity and reviews. People mostly trust their family and friends when it comes to new experiences. So using existing customers for marketing is an excellent strategy to retain old customers and bring in new ones.
You can combine a loyalty program with a referral program. Provide excellent service and food to your customers, so they're already inclined to speak well about their experience at your restaurant. Then introduce the referral program and inform your customers what rewards they'll receive when referring the restaurant to others.
Sometimes, it's challenging to implement different kinds of loyalty programs in a single establishment. Adding special discounts, deals, and free items will increase the likelihood of customers coming to your restaurant to avail the deals.
You can add special deals exclusive to customers who are already part of your loyalty program. These rewards will encourage non-loyalty program members to be a part of the program and enjoy more benefits.
If you have an online order system for your restaurant, then you'll have a database with customer information, including mobile numbers, email addresses, and their date of birth. You can send automated text messages and emails to customers, letting them know that they can avail special discounts on their birthdays if they're a part of the restaurant's loyalty program.
This instills the idea in the customer's mind that they should visit the same restaurant for their next birthday.
Many people prefer ordering in than eating out, more so now during the pandemic. The online food delivery segment has been growing steadily, and its revenue is expected to reach 31 million USD at the end of 2021.It would be best to learn about consumer behavior during the pandemic and make the most out of the situation.
Your restaurant's loyalty programs should be able to benefit those who prefer not to dine in. People who order food online should be able to gain the same benefits. You can choose to place discounts and deals that are only applicable on online orders or provide free delivery.
You don't need to provide free delivery on every order. Restaurants and fast-food chains usually have a monetary limit or a minimum number of food items a customer must order to avail the delivery service. You can rearrange these conditions to offer a more enticing deal to potential online customers.
You can also combine this with an existing point system loyalty program where a set amount of points provides free delivery.
Digital Restaurant Loyalty Program
As the name suggests, this is applicable to restaurants that use online order systems or have the technological capacity to cater to online orders. It was common to see special membership cards for different clubs and restaurants back in the day.
You should get ahead with the times, especially during the pandemic. People don't want to carry around an extra card to avail meal discounts. You should choose a paperless, electronic alternative to cards. A digital loyalty program involves a customer earning points without using a physical card, which applies to online orders. It can be linked directly to their customer profile.
Experiential rewards are rewards that are experience-based. The experiential reward system works as an add-on to loyalty programs that are already being implemented. You can add this to a tier-based or point-based loyalty program.
These rewards aren't the same as getting a free menu item if you spend enough money and collect points. Providing experiential rewards is like providing VIP treatment to a customer. This could include inviting them as a guest to restaurant events or getting to try out new foods that haven't been added to the menu yet.
If you like, you could have a partnered experiential reward, like a gift voucher to a shop or spa. It can be a little tricky to think up experiential rewards in line with your establishment, but it will help you boost customer experience and retention.
You can keep your customers engaged and feel special by allowing them access to special menu items that are exclusive for loyalty program members. You can allocate a tier and a set number of points for all special menu items.
You could update your secret menu each month and place point discounts on some days to appeal to your customers.
How to Create Premium Quality Loyalty Programs
If you're trying to create a loyalty program for your restaurant, Menucrm is your best choice. We're the best suppliers of high-quality POS and loyalty program software for restaurants.
Our team has over 20 years of experience in the field, and over 800 restaurants put their faith in us, so you can rest easy knowing that your restaurant is in the right hands. Our company offers modern solutions to create customized rewards programs for small businesses and restaurants. We create mobile applications, websites, automated emails, and SMS, all integrated into one point of sales system.
Our POS systems are equipped with double-walled cyber security to ensure no hackers can get their hands on your customers' payment information. We also offer SEO social media optimization so everyone can hear about your restaurant's loyalty programs.
An up-to-date restaurant's online ordering software ensures timely management of all operations. Menucrm will create the best CRM software for restaurants for maximum customer satisfaction and, ultimately, customer retention. So you can focus on what you do best.
We also provide customer tracking software, food ordering software for restaurants, and more. You can visit our website to learn more about our services or contact us to schedule a free demo.