Should Your Business Consider Restaurant Loyalty Programs?


Revel Blog | Sydney Kida | May 17, 2022 |

loyalty Featured

Are you looking for a way to boost patron retention for your restaurant?

Well, restaurant loyalty programs may be the answer you're seeking.

Whether you're a restaurant owner or a customer, loyalty programs can significantly impact your experience at a restaurant. These programs reward customers for their visits and encourage them to return by offering them various perks and benefits. As a restaurant owner, you can use loyalty programs to build a stronger relationship with your customers, improve your brand awareness, and increase profits.

What is a Restaurant Loyalty Rewards Program

The restaurant industry is dynamic, with new concepts opening and closing frequently. Each new restaurant owner has a unique background and aims to create a unique dining experience for patrons. Finding ways to stand out from the crowd in today's competitive market is crucial to building a loyalty restaurant customer base. One way to accomplish this is through restaurant loyalty programs.

Read Four Quick Ways to Delight Your Guests

A restaurant loyalty program is an agreement between a restaurant and its customers that details the benefits that each party will receive due to the other party being a customer. 

Programs can take various forms, but the most common type of program is a card-based system where customers receive a card that they can use at the restaurant to receive a discount or special offer. Many restaurants also offer complimentary appetizers or a free dessert to customers who are cardholders, which can increase both the customer satisfaction rate and the likelihood that the customer will return to the restaurant in the future. 

Are Restaurant Loyalty Programs Effective?

Restaurant loyalty programs are an effective tool for building a solid customer relationship with your restaurant. Most customers are already familiar with the concept of a loyalty program, which means that they are already prepared to receive the benefits offered as a cardholder.

In this respect, loyalty programs are a form of word-of-mouth marketing, which is especially effective for new restaurants. Restaurant customer loyalty programs can effectively help your business in various ways:

Client Retention and Acquisition

You may convert casual consumers into devoted customers by implementing loyalty programs for restaurants. According to a study, 45% of restaurant-goers will choose an eatery if they are subscribed to its loyalty program.

Additionally, devoted customers will refer their favorite restaurant to their family and friends. This implies that the more loyal consumers you have, the more new customers you'll be able to attract. Because you have a consistent and ongoing business, having a considerable number of frequent clients will result in more money. Furthermore, if customers are motivated by prizes, they are more inclined to spend more.

Many eateries have lost a significant number of clients due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you will be more likely to keep your consumer base if you develop a loyalty program. The key to retaining clients is to continually provide them with exceptional offers on their purchases. Many restaurant loyalty programs are structured around:

  • Loyalty points
  • Referral bonuses 
  • Special event discounts 
  • Free delivery 
  • Exclusive access to a secret menu

Increased Food Orders

According to a recent study, 37% of people subscribed to a restaurant reward system are more likely to spend more on food orders.

How? Upselling and cross-selling are two ways that customer loyalty programs may help you increase your income. For example, customers who purchase a combination rather than a la carte dishes will spend more money on beverages and sides if you give them additional points. Customers may also pay more than they intended to get extra points.

Gather Vital Metrics

A loyalty program is more than just a method to get to know your customers; it's also a terrific strategy to bring in new ones. For example, digital customer loyalty programs for restaurants, such as a restaurant loyalty app, will make it simple to collect information like your customers':

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Favorite dishes
  • Buying habits
  • Their frequency of visits
  • Which days do they go

You'll be able to provide customized products, promotions, and unique offers to your consumers using this information. It will be difficult for customers to avoid returning to your place if you provide a customized rewards program incorporating their favorite meals.

Generates Brand Awareness

You have a possibility of raising brand recognition among potential consumers if you employ restaurant loyalty cards. You must include the branding and colors of your company on them. A loyalty card with a big logo can readily recognize your firm as your brand grows in popularity. Other forms of advertising, such as emails and social media postings, can also be used to promote your company. You may send consumers a notification whenever a special deal is available, making it easier to share the offer with others.

8 Restaurant Loyalty Program Ideas for Return Customers

When you open a small business, you're usually willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that your business thrives and grows. This often means investing a significant amount of time and money in improving your restaurant's appearance, developing a unique and fresh menu, and developing customer loyalty programs. As a result, you may find that loyalty programs are one of the most critical aspects of your restaurant's success. Here are eight ideas for restaurant loyalty programs to get you started:

1. Loyalty Points

Giving loyalty points when clients spend their money at their favorite places is perhaps the most effective loyalty scheme. The number of points you provide these clients is determined by how much money they spend at your business. These restaurant loyalty rewards programs are seen as the most effective since customers are willing to spend more money to earn more points, which they can then redeem for prizes. Larger bills are rewarded with a higher quantity of points.

You may also consider giving a client more reward points than usual on their first visit, which might inspire them to return to your restaurant. Customers loyal to your restaurant will earn more points and receive more incentives, which is a terrific incentive for them as long as the benefits are enough. If you want this loyalty program to be effective, make sure you match it with some attractive branding. If you already have a client database and want to expand it, loyalty points are a great way to do so.

2. Free Delivery

While COVID is still in effect, it's critical that loyalty rewards programs for restaurants include benefits that consumers who shop online may use. Customers will be more likely to order meals from your restaurant if you provide free delivery. However, it is advised that you should not offer free delivery on every order. Instead, if a consumer orders a particular amount of food, you may provide complimentary delivery. For example, any orders above $25 may be eligible for free delivery. You might also offer free delivery to consumers who have earned a certain number of points. 

3. Special Days Discount

If you employ a tiered loyalty program or any other form of reward program that allows you to create a customer database, one type of loyalty program you may include in your incentives is the addition of free items/discounts for specific days throughout the year. For example, customers who are members of your loyalty program can receive a discount or a free menu item to commemorate their birthday or wedding anniversary. While you may only use this specific program a few times each year, it helps to increase client loyalty.

4. Tiered Programs

A tiered loyalty program may be the way to go if you want to boost client loyalty while simultaneously bringing in more first-time consumers. Because of the general ease of this sort of service, first-time clients will join. You will also attract more loyal clients who will continue to do business with you since they will receive higher benefits. While you may add any number of levels, categorizing these tiers into categories for varying quantities of orders is a terrific method to introduce them.

You should be able to persuade potential and current customers to continue dining at your restaurant and purchasing meals online while COVID is in effect by giving layers of rewards. Customers might receive a modest number of points for their first few orders and a more significant amount of points for subsequent orders. 

5. Referral Programs

It's strongly advised that you match your loyalty program with a referral program, which may help you improve the number of consumers who choose to purchase from your restaurant, regardless of the sort of loyalty program you develop. Customers typically tell their close friends and family members about their positive experiences.

While outstanding cuisine and quick orders will undoubtedly entice some customers to recommend your restaurant to their friends, implementing a referral program adds an extra incentive. It would be best to compensate your patrons for introducing new customers to your business. When you adopt a loyalty program like this, you're assisting in creating positive word-of-mouth backed up with concrete benefits.

6. Secret Menu

If you decide to build a reward-based restaurant loyalty program, one of the higher reward categories may be based on a secret menu. You can make secret menus out of whatever you desire. You might offer twists on your popular menu items or other culinary items that don't quite fit your usual menu. Consider switching your mystery menus every month or two to keep your clients more involved with your business.

7. Unique Experiences

Whether you construct a point-based loyalty program or another form of rewards program, an experience reward, which offers members benefits beyond regular transactions, is one reward you may give. These incentives can present your consumers with one-of-a-kind experiences that they might not otherwise have.

While creating experiential incentives might be challenging, they can help you give guests unique experiences that they won't find at other restaurants. For example, if your loyal customers have a particular number of points, you may give them early access to new menu items. If your restaurant has any upcoming events, such as hosting a celebrity chef, members may be able to attend for free.

8. Reward Networks

Reward networks, which are very similar to the loyalty point system, with the primary distinction being that a network will administer the program, are among the most popular loyalty programs that restaurants may participate in. Restaurant directories are in charge of managing a network of restaurants, so you won't have to put in a lot of effort to reward your consumers.

The most significant disadvantage of a network-based rewards system is that some consumers would grow loyal to the network rather than to specific restaurants. Even if the network is well-known, there's still the chance that your restaurant may be neglected. Remember that loyalty programs for dine-in restaurants are not supported by rewards programs. If you don't want to put in the time and effort to establish your own loyalty program, joining a reward network might be one of the most incredible restaurant loyalty program ideas.

Create the Ultimate Restaurant Loyalty Program

Restaurant loyalty programs can be a massive game-changer for many businesses, and entirely digital systems are the newest trend in loyalty programs. You'll be able to keep track of customers' purchases, issue awards and presents, and update points or redemptions once your loyalty program is integrated with your restaurant's POS system.

The Revel iPad POS system provides company owners with the most up-to-date retail technology, restaurant loyalty software, and various tools to help you better manage your operations.

Schedule a free demo now to learn more about our industry-leading POS platform.