Revel Blog

How to Create a Personalized Loyalty Program for Your Restaurant

Coral Drake | July 11, 2023 |

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How to Create a Personalized Loyalty Program for Your Restaurant

A personalized loyalty program can build your customer base and cause customers to spend more money at your business more consistently. Customers will rave about your exclusive discounts and the surprise and delight your restaurant offers. Here’s how to build a choice-based rewards system that will revolutionize your restaurant. 

How to Create a Successful Personalized Loyalty Program

As with any major decision, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place before you take the plunge into offering personalized loyalty programs. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started: 

Collect Feedback Before You Start And Keep It Going Throughout The Process

If you listen, odds are your customers will tell you how they would like to be rewarded for their loyal patronage. You can start to build your rewards offerings based on what they want from a loyalty program. Physical or online surveys are a classic and intentional way to gather this information. 

Train your waitstaff to ask customers for feedback and jot down their responses. Printed feedback forms specifically asking for their input are also useful.

Once your loyalty program is live, monitor and respond to comments on social media platforms and review sites to see what customers are saying about it. Join and monitor different online communities related to your industry to understand how your customers truly feel. Some may share thoughts online that they won’t share in person. 

Want a deeper conversation? Conduct focus groups with members of your target audience to gather feedback specifically about your loyalty program.

Personalize Rewards

Offer rewards that are tailored to your customers' preferences and behaviors, such as choice-based rewards or tiered membership programs. 

Use data to provide offers and suggestions customized to specific groups of guests. For example, based on a customer's recent purchase history you can offer a coupon on a purchase they’ve made in the past. Demographics or geographic area can tell you whether to offer a coupon on a family meal or a discount on delivery as a reward for loyalty points.

By offering multiple ways to earn rewards you can engage customers more thoroughly. They may earn points on purchases, get exclusive discounts if they make particular purchases, or cash in on big rewards in a limited time frame. 

Make it fun by creating dashboards with visualizations motivating customers to keep progressing towards a reward. Make it competitive by recognizing top users. The goal is to use customer loyalty program data in a way that makes the experience of eating at your restaurant and using your loyalty program easier and more rewarding.

Meet Emotional Needs

Revel client Teriyaki Madness loyalty guests spend 8 to 12% more on orders than their non-loyalty guests. In fact, research routinely supports the concept that emotionally loyal customers spend more and visit more often than those without emotional bonds.

Surprise and delight your guests to create a unique experience that encourages members to keep engaging with your brand. Create emotional connections and trust by offering rewards that go beyond money and personalized value that members can’t get anywhere else. 

Build a feeling of exclusivity. A personalized and sincere message from top management or priority customer service makes customers feel special.

Additionally, exclusive events, previews that nonmembers don’t get, or excellent discounts give customers the sense that their loyalty is paying dividends. Here are a few more ways to meet the emotional needs of your customers and provide surprise and delight:

  • Extra in-store services to complement the experience, like a free loaf of bread or slice of pie to take home
  • Free classes highlighting what your restaurant does best
  • An invite-only online community where members can share stories, exchange favorite dish alterations, and talk about upcoming or past restaurant events 

Shared values also build a strong emotional connection. Incorporate social and environmental responsibility into your loyalty program by letting customers opt in for renewable ingredients, donate to causes, or otherwise share in your restaurant’s commitment to sustainability and civic responsibility.

Foster Friendly Competition

A tiered membership program incentivizes customer engagement by encouraging friendly competition among customers. A whopping 37% of customers would actually pay money to rank higher on reward programs, demonstrating the power of a little competition. 

A tier-based system lets customers earn different levels of rewards and perks. You can choose the behavior that increases a customer’s rank, but it’s typically based on their spending or activity levels. 

People love engaging tiers like Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Plan different rewards or perks at each tier. Make sure the reward is tempting enough to encourage customers to want to climb tiers. 

For example, customers in the Silver tier may receive a free appetizer, while Gold tier members may receive a free appetizer and drink. Platinum members might get a free meal or menu item everyone doesn’t have access to, or special access to exclusive events.

Make sure customers know the benefits of each tier. It won’t matter how good the rewards are if people aren’t excited to get them. To motivate customers to keep going, make it as clear as possible where their progress is at any given time. 

Go further to encourage customers to level up by offering bonus points or rewards for reaching a higher tier, in addition to the advantages of being at that tier. For example, a restaurant could offer a bonus of 500 points for reaching the Gold tier, or a special event for the Platinum level. 

Promote the Program

Personalized loyalty programs are also only effective if people know about them. Advertise your loyalty program with display screens at tables, pop ups on your website, notifications through an app, and any other ways that come to mind. Encourage urgency by promoting incentives like a free meal or a big influx of points if you sign up within a set time period. 

Take advantage of the data collected by your POS system to inform and customize incentives for different customers. Email or text customers about personalized offers that will motivate them to sign up.

Build a Personalized Loyalty Program You’ll Love

A choice-based reward loyalty program can be a game-changer for restaurants. Creating a meaningful relationship with customers that goes beyond the dining experience brings tremendous advantages to your restaurant. Even better, it’s easy to do by choosing a POS system with an incorporated loyalty and data collection system. 

Have you explored personalized loyalty for your restaurant? If not, hopefully the content in this blog post have sparked a few ideas!