Stepping up your loyalty program

Repeat business is a restaurant’s bread and butter, and this means loyalty and retention is top of mind for many operators. According to studies, it costs a business 25 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep one, so it’s in your best interest to make customer loyalty your top priority.

Loyalty apps are the way to go, with 43 per cent of consumers saying the apps encourage them to visit restaurants. Are you looking to give your loyalty program a makeover? Step it up by giving guests what they want, being flexible, and getting to know your customers.

Address their needs

Loyalty is always about the guest experience, but you can’t truly deliver unless you know what members really want – and the best way to find out is to ask them! You can do this through online surveys, trend data from the app, or comment cards. Asking your members for feedback empowers them to help make the program better and make it more appealing for them to participate.

For example, based on feedback, you may want to introduce a tiered system, with separate levels of memberships and perks to help offer something for everyone. Or, you may find out that they don’t want free drinks, that they’d rather hold out to earn a free entrée. You may think you know what guests want, but asking them will ensure that your loyalty program is delivering the best experience for your guest ad getting the best results for your restaurant.

Make it personal

Your loyalty app provides you with a ton of insight into your customers, but that only helps if you use it. 75 per cent of consumers say that they are more likely to stick with a brand that connects with them on a personal level.

Adding customized touches like suggestions based on past purchases, recognizing regular choices, and welcoming them electronically upon arrival are all ways to show that you appreciate their support. Be sure that you know when their birthdays and anniversaries are so you can offer a reward or even just a message to let them know you are thinking about them. This shows customers that you care about them, and it keeps your restaurant top of mind.

Promote it

Getting more loyalty members helps you build your business, so spread the word about your program. Include details on your website, post about it on your socials, and get your servers talking it up to dine-in guests. To encourage your members to help out, consider rewards (like extra points) for people who refer the program to new members, post about it on social media, or engage with any of your related posts.

RELATED: How can you boost enrolment for your loyalty program?

Making your loyalty program top-notch is a win-win: your guests get perks and added value, and you get repeat business and happy customers.