Restaurant loyalty programs are powerful tools for winning new diners and retaining the old ones. In an increasingly competitive restaurant business, building customer loyalty is a momentous task. Happy diners are the key to driving your revenue. Hence, implementing simple, yet effective restaurant loyalty program ideas is an inherent part of marketing strategy. When customers are delighted and surprised by earning rewards, it compels them to make emotion-driven purchases rather than a necessity-driven one.
Here are five restaurant loyalty program ideas to convert regular diners into your brand evangelists:
1. Spent-based and Visit-based Restaurant Loyalty Program
This program is designed for gratifying your loyal diners based on their total expenditure rather than individual transactions. For instance, the popular coffee chain, Starbucks, made a transition into a spend-based rewards program from a previous transaction-based one in 2016. For you, as a restaurant owner, opting for inresto’s spent based loyalty program will enable seamless management of reward points and also enable you to heighten sales.
2. Design Secret Menus for Loyal Diners
Secret or hidden menus are increasingly becoming popular to entice loyal diners, particularly in quick-service segments. Millennials love the idea of customization and special experiences thereby making this program a highly successful one. Delicious new creations not only build loyalty but also encourage word-of-mouth marketing. However, such programs will only be beneficial if they are combined with good customer service and good training.
3. Use of Customer Relationship Management for Marketing Campaigns
Integration of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with the restaurant’s loyalty program will allow you to run personalized email and SMS campaigns. Through technological intervention, you can enhance your brand presence by adopting unique promotional strategies. Using CRM for informing customers about things such as the reward points they need to earn to win a free meal will bode well for your restaurant’s sales.
4. Capitalize on Real-time Motivation
Diners are attracted to real-time incentives rather than prospects of earning rewards in future. For instance, if you offer certain future benefits in return for joining your loyalty program as soon as the diner places the order, he or she may not be motivated enough to make the purchase immediately. However, apart from future benefits, if you offer real-time motivation such as free dessert, the diner is more likely to sign-up for the loyalty program.
5. Share Diner Testimonials on Your Website
Schedule interviews with loyal diners who have benefited from your restaurant’s loyalty program. Asking them to share their experiences and posting their testimonials on the website is paramount in this digital age. These testimonials can be in the form of creative videos or quotes and photographs.
Many diners turn to these insights to decide whether to make a visit to your restaurant or not.
Price differentiation strategy is becoming complicated due to expansion of e-commerce players such as Zomato and Swiggy. It is extremely convenient for diners to scroll through a list of restaurants and compare the prices. Therefore, an efficacious loyalty program will allow you to promote your restaurant using a different and viable strategy.
6. Create a Digital Loyalty App
How about an app that notifies the diner when they have earned reward points? Developing a restaurant loyalty app for your regular visitors where they can easily redeem their rewards is highly convenient. With the help of a digital loyalty app, there is no need for conventional paper punch cards. Many restaurants are implementing digital loyalty apps as part of their restaurant reward programs. All your diners need to do is to download the app and create an account. As a restaurant owner, it allows you to offer rewards tailored according to the needs of your diners.
7. Refer-A-Friend Loyalty Program
This is perhaps one of the most conventional restaurant loyalty programs out there. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating its power! Many diners don’t want to sign-up for any long-term program. Therefore, as simple as asking them to refer your restaurant and services to their friends in return for 10% off, is a perfect idea in this case. You can just send the voucher code to the diners via email and the job is done!
Diners love this restaurant loyalty program idea because the more friends they refer your services to, the more discounts they receive. You can now gain more walk-ins by using the inresto Loyalty Program
8. Membership Programs for Loyal Diners
You can opt for paid membership programs designed for exclusive diners. Through paid loyalty programs, diners can get access to members-only promotional events, members-only prices and vouchers that non-members cannot redeem. As it was pointed out earlier, the millennial population prefers exclusivity and customization. They are more likely to choose paid membership loyalty programs. Of course, it does not have to be mandatory for diners to sign-up for membership programs. However, they would most certainly be motivated to if they want such exclusive rewards at their favorite restaurant!
9. Key to Successful Loyalty Program: Keep it Simple!
While implementing a perfect restaurant loyalty program idea, do not forget the key success factor here – to keep it as simple as possible. If your loyalty program has tons of stipulations, rules, and regulations, chances are no diner will sign-up for that. You do not want to overwhelm the diners with a complex loyalty program. It should be quite easy and convenient for your guests to redeem their points.
10. At Last, Spread the Word!
It’s important to have a strong social media presence for promoting your restaurant. Create Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page for your restaurant if you haven’t done so already. What better way of promoting your loyalty program for people visiting your city and staying somewhere nearby? Another great idea is to partner with an influencer or local business owner to help spread the word. Remember to place table tents in your restaurant from where your diners can easily read the benefits offered by your membership program. Local diners are the ones who are going to visit your restaurant more often. Hence, these measures are absolutely necessary for a successful rewards program.