Archive for the “Guest Engagement” Category

How to Create a Restaurant Loyalty Program That’s Right for Your Brand

September 13, 2019

Building customer loyalty can be a challenge, but if your goal is to motivate guests to visit more often and spend more when they do, then creating a restaurant loyalty program that works for your brand is essential. Because guests aren’t all the same, the ways they want to interact with your brand will vary. Before you start creating a loyalty program to boost incremental visits and revenue, there are four key areas to address: 

  1. Determine which loyalty program will best engage your guests. 
  2. Discover the type of program that best aligns with your brand concept.
  3. Decide what kind of program your staff can effectively execute.
  4. Establish which program will help you best achieve your restaurant’s financial goals.

First, you will want to arrive at the type of rewards program that will resonate with your guests. This is unique to each restaurant and will be influenced by brand concept, menu, server interactions, and business needs.

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Revamping Your Loyalty Program

Are your numbers for loyalty penetration and new member enrollment declining? Is there evidence that you are over-discounting customers? Does your program conflict with your corporate strategic objectives? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to consider a program redesign.

Product offerings change, concepts evolve, and priorities shift. To get the most from your loyalty program, make sure that it always aligns with your corporate strategic objectives. If your program doesn’t reflect what your brand represents, it isn’t benefiting the organization as well as it should. 

J.P. Licks, a 17-unit Boston-based ice cream concept, came to the realization that its loyalty program no longer fit its price structure and corporate priorities. Before the redesign, members were required to accumulate 50 points to earn $5 off. Among the benefits was getting a free sundae on their birthday and on the anniversary of joining. The company also wanted to promote its fresh-roasted coffee at the time of the program launch, so registration included a free coffee.

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Motivate Incremental Visits with One-to-One Visit Challenges

Visit challenges are a great way to boost sales and increase customer engagement while motivating guests to dine more frequently. With the help of machine learning, this marketing technique has evolved from using the same challenge for all guests or even segments of guests to fine-tuning both the number of visits required and the timeline for completion. The approach has been shown to engage more customers without increasing discounts or cannibalizing sales.

HuHot Mongolian Grill, a 65-unit all-you-can-eat stir fry concept, had run simpler versions of visit challenges in the past. The members of its loyalty program were assigned different visit requirements based on the bands they belonged to, and the promotion would last for two weeks. But the results left considerable room for improvement.

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The Future of Gen Z and Convenience Stores

Convenience stores have been an American staple for close to 100 years, serving an important function for the average consumer. But with technology changing so rapidly and major retailers like Amazon making moves that threaten the market, will c-stores continue to be relevant to the next generation?

It’s necessary to answer this question because Gen Z (the next generation with purchasing power) constitutes nearly 27% of the entire U.S. population and is on track to be the largest generation of consumers. However, its shopping habits are substantially different from other groups. If convenience stores can’t capture the interest of this generation now, they’ll struggle to stay relevant … and stay in business.

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