Thinking about starting a restaurant loyalty program, but haven’t made a final decision about it? Now is the time to make a move. Here are the four important reasons why you should offer a restaurant loyalty program to your customers:
1. Capitalize on Consumer Demand
According to a recent study by Technomic, participation in loyalty programs is on an upswing, with 48 percent of consumers taking advantage of more restaurant rewards programs today than they did two years ago. And a survey by the National Restaurant Association revealed that all other things being equal, 57 percent of adult consumers are more likely to patronize an establishment with a restaurant loyalty program than to spend their dining dollars at a restaurant that doesn’t offer this option. So a restaurant loyalty program not only satisfies a growing customer demand – it gives you a competitive edge.
2. Increase Traffic and Sales During Otherwise Slow Times
Every restaurant has less-than-busy periods, but a restaurant loyalty program minimizes the negative effects by filling otherwise empty tables and encouraging customers to spend more money during their visit. Using a combination of what you’ve observed about your restaurant and data from your point of sale (POS) system, determine which hours, days, or seasons of the year your business is slow. Then, create special offers to coincide with these times, leveraging the email marketing component of your restaurant loyalty program to do so. If your restaurant loyalty program integrates with social networks, such as Facebook, use those platforms to get the word out, too.
3. Loyalty Program Encourage Repeat Visits
In the same vein as an increase in sales, a loyalty program can turn an occasional patron into a frequent diner. When he/she gets the coupons right on their phone, thoughts of other places to eat will be pushed from their mind, and your restaurant will be pulled to the forefront. American consumers are especially obsessed with the idea of value, and when you make it valuable for a consumer to return to your establishment, they are much more likely to do so.
Even the perception of greater value over another restaurant will create the incentive to choose your restaurant over a competitor. Repeat customers are the lifeblood of most businesses. Making and keeping consumers happy through a loyalty program that rewards them for their continued business is a great way to achieve this.
4. Build Loyalty and Engage with Customers by Celebrating Special Events
Seventy percent of consumers celebrate their birthdays at restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association. With a restaurant loyalty program in place, the chance that customers will select your establishment for their special celebration increases many-fold. Simply ask for the date and month of customers’ birthdays when they enroll in your restaurant loyalty program, and send them an offer a few weeks before the big day. Of course, as few individuals dine out alone on their birthdays, a birthday offer can yield big returns in check size (and even bring you new customers from the birthday celebrant’s group).
Other milestones—e.g., customers’ wedding anniversaries, the anniversary of joining the loyalty program, the first or last day of school in your town, etc. —are also easily celebrated using a restaurant loyalty program. The more you leverage the program this way, the higher the degree of customer loyalty, and the more customers will want to engage with your restaurant brand.
From satisfying customer demand, to increasing sales and visit frequency, to engaging customers, a restaurant loyalty program can benefit your business in multiple ways. The above mentioned reasons for introducing such a program are only the beginning.