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:
- Determine which loyalty program will best engage your guests.
- Discover the type of program that best aligns with your brand concept.
- Decide what kind of program your staff can effectively execute.
- 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. Keeping those factors in mind, you can then start to create your customer loyalty program, which consists of these three main elements:
- Core Program: This is the heart of your loyalty program and defines the rewards as well as how they are earned and redeemed. Successful core programs will motivate guests to visit more often and spend more of their dining-out budget with you. The format of your core program can be one that automatically rewards guests for accumulating a set amount of points or one that rewards them after reaching a certain number of visits. This is where picking the program that best aligns with your brand and your business objectives is crucial to your success.
- Layered Programs: These are additional benefits that run concurrently with the core program. Examples include rewarding guests on their birthday and donating a portion of an individual’s spend to a selected charity. These layered programs can differentiate a brand and strengthen your guests’ connection with it.
- Promotions: These are targeted offers sent to boost traffic during slow periods, increase guest spend, or even win back lapsed guests. A means of influencing buying behavior, promotions can be fun one-off interactions that create urgency and drive sales.
By giving careful consideration to each of these three elements, you will be able to structure your loyalty program in a way that appeals to your guests. A fast-casual restaurant wanting to increase visits may choose a core program of visit frequency that includes birthday rewards and promotions like double points and visit challenges. Meanwhile, a restaurant looking to build relationships may opt for a core program of bankable points layered with limited-time offers and surprise-and-delight rewards. Aligning your program with your business goals and your customers’ behavior will provide the best results.
To learn more about the various types of loyalty programs, download the article “Choosing a Loyalty Program That’s Right for You.”