Repeat customers are what keeps many restaurants going. One way to show appreciation is through a carefully crafty loyalty program. Loyalty programs have been around for a while. If you’re a restaurant owner, you probably already have some variation of one. But have you ever considered taking your loyalty program to the next level? Do you even know where to start?

Your Customer is Unique. Your Loyalty Program Should Be, Too

Personalization is your ‘not-so-secret weapon’ to staying ahead of the competition. Consumers expect fast quality service – that’s a given – but to truly take your loyalty program up a notch you will need to examine your current efforts and align with your audience’s attitudes. 

According to recent research from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, “Certain purchases are better than others at sparking people’s in-the-moment happiness.” It can be gleaned from the research that spending on experiences versus possessions advances a person’s more immediate happiness. In addition, a 2021 Zendesk trends report found that “75 percent of customers base purchasing decisions on their experience.” 

This is something restaurants can leverage in their loyalty program to provide a truly unique and one-of-a-kind experience. Since so many people assign a high value to experiences, consider how your loyalty program can fulfill that desire.

How to Make Your Loyalty Program More Personal.

  1. Create memorable moments
    • It’s no secret that customers are willing to pay more for better service and a stellar dining experience. So, how do you get them to pay more for your products and services? Some restaurants are doing this by serving up fresh dishes tableside. Others are doing this by serving up iconic hand-crafted beverages that leave a lasting impression and tease all the senses. There are also more subtle tactics—like leaning hard on your awesome kids’ menu that includes hand-tossed pizza in the shape of butterflies and a side of free ice cream with their meal. Tap into this excitement in your loyalty program by offering tailored rewards specific to your different customer bases like families, corporate lunch-goers and the patrons who frequent your happy hour.
  2. Align your loyalty program with customer interests and beliefs
    • If you’ve been around for years you likely know your customers quite well. Do they share common interests? What type of activities are they involved in? If your restaurant caters to families, one example is to offer priority reservations for special holidays like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.
  3. Tailored communication 
    • This goes beyond using their first name in emails. Reach out to your email subscribers asking them to select from a list of items and topics they are most interested in. This ensures you only send them what they truly want to learn more about – like specials, happy hour, events, menu changes, etc. You can also include this process when people sign up for your emails.

Additional Tips for Running a Successful Loyalty Program

  • Earning rewards should be exciting
  • Make it easy to understand and use
  • Offer multiple ways to earn points
  • Consider launching a mobile app to use in conjunction with the loyalty program
  • Ask customers what they would like to get for participating in the reward program
  • Invest in a program that will help you keep track of customer data from various touchpoints
  • Provide loyalty tiers to differentiate between more and less engaged customers
  • Promote your loyalty program on social media, email, your website, in-store marketing material, etc.

Restaurant Insurance Customized Just For You

At Society Insurance, we know that your business is your livelihood and we’re here to help you protect it. Our comprehensive restaurant insurance is tailored to the unique needs of your operation. To learn more, get in touch with your local Society agent.

Additional Resources