If you’re asking these questions, it might be time to set up a customer loyalty system for your restaurant.
Customer loyalty systems can take on many forms, from “Buy 10 Sandwiches, Get One Free” punch cards to a customized app that allows visitors to collect points and earn rewards. Loyalty programs are a great way to separate from the crowd, keep customers coming back and enhance overall value. These benefits of a customer loyalty system will pay off in increased repeat business, organic brand marketing and more.
Loyalty programs provide a practical reason for continuing to buy – namely, collecting points for a reward, premium buying options or a higher level of service. This same system also helps you, the restaurateur, help them – information about your customers gathered through your loyalty program makes it easier to meet their needs more efficiently and effectively. This, in turn, makes them more likely to keep coming back, which gives you additional information, and the relationship keeps on growing.
Business owners know that it’s far more profitable to keep an existing customer than attract a new one – but that doesn’t mean new customers aren’t important. By signing new customers up for your loyalty or rewards program, you can encourage loyalty and create an incentive for them to return.
Loyalty program operators often report that when a customer starts redeeming rewards, enthusiasm and engagement both increase, an effect that translates into longer and more frequent visits. In short, visitors are more likely to come back if they can earn rewards for doing so, and are more likely to stay longer to unlock those rewards.
Studies also show that the best form of advertising is organic – when happy customers tell their friends and family about their great experience at your restaurant, for example. These lovely souls are marketing your business for you, without even drawing a paycheck! Actively engaged customers are more likely to participate in a loyalty program, which can lead them to become advocates for your brand.
A properly established customer loyalty program won’t just keep customers around – it can help you track spending habits and find out what your visitors are interested in. The program can also help you identify what menu items are most popular, what days and times are the busiest, which items are commonly purchased together and more. This data is valuable for creating sales, targeting promotions, and tracking demand increases.
Your newfound customer knowledge will allow you to target segments of your client base with specific deals and promotions based on previous purchasing history. This targeted advertising is far more cost-effective and provides a much higher return on investment than a generalized campaign.
The digital explosion has made it easier than ever to start your own customer loyalty program and customize it to your needs. Thanks to companies like FiveStars, Belly and Perkville, startups and small businesses can take advantage of the benefits of a customer loyalty system without exorbitant initial costs.