3 Important Concepts for a Successful Loyalty Building Restaurant Campaign

No one is likely to disagree that building customer loyalty in the restaurant industry is important, yet there are a surprising number of restaurant businesses who have yet to implement any sort of loyalty rewards program. The most cited reasons are cost and limited ability to measure results. That noted, there’s also no doubt that loyalty programs are effective, and if done properly, can be just the incentive needed to get that customer’s foot out of your competitor’s door and into yours.

Restaurant Loyalty Programs Can Run the Gamut from Simple to Sophisticated

The first thing to recognize about loyalty programs is that they can come in many forms. They can be as simple as a paper punch card that gives the user something like “buy 10 get one free,” or as sophisticated as a mobile application that integrates with the POS, collects data and provides a mobile payment platform that doles out rewards the instant they are earned. There are pros and cons to both sides of the spectrum, but there’s no doubt that the expectation of rewards is a big motivator. In fact, customers will often spend a good deal more on a ticket when they are about to receive an incentive than they do on the average transaction. As a result, the restaurant often makes back what it spent on that reward in a single transaction.

Regardless of how you go about your loyalty building campaign, in a highly competitive arena like the hospitality industry, it’s risky not to employ every viable way of enticing customers into your restaurant (and then taking measures to ensure their continued engagement)—especially when your next-door competitors are doing so.

A Restaurant Loyalty Program Needn’t Be Discounting

Another important understanding to have about loyalty programs is that it needn’t be all about giving your customers frequent discounts and promotions, if that is not consistent with the brand image you’re trying to create. It’s important to recognize that the point of a loyalty program is you’re telling your most valuable customers that you value them, by creating a program that is personalized and relevant to their interests and needs.

If you’re building for the long-term, you’re trying to create a loyalty program that engages and rewards customers, enticing them to make the extra effort to visit your establishment over a competitor’s. This kind of loyalty program can actually build your brand up.

Providing a Consistent Customer Experience is Key to Building Loyalty

One of the keys to building loyalty is to provide a consistent customer experience. This concept applies at the single store level just as well as it does across an entire franchise system. It doesn’t matter how good your promotions are, or how spiffy your loyalty rewards program, if the quality of service can’t be relied upon. People need to know that they can count on having the exact experience they are after if they are going to be loyal in seeking it out. It’s as simple as that.

Recognizing that you have a lot of options when it comes to what type of loyalty program you are going to build, as well as how you are going to implement it, is a liberating understanding. You know how important it is to build a loyal following for your restaurant if you hope to see it succeed long-term. Having a commitment to consistently providing the best customer experience possible, as well as finding ways to reward your most valuable customers for their business, goes a long way toward ensuring the success of a loyal following for your restaurant.

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