How Your Restaurant Can Destroy The Competition In 2015
The restaurant industry is becoming more competitive by the day. Customers are more fickle than ever. And loyalty is at an all-time low.
That’s why smart restaurateurs are taking matters into their own hands with formal programs that stimulate loyalty through relevant rewards, promotions and messaging.
In this post we’ll explore how they do it, to show you how you can massively increase your restaurant revenues this year.
There are loads of benefits to running a restaurant loyalty program, including:
- More repeat business
- Increased brand visibility
- The power to influence buying behaviour
- The ability to keep users informed of new developments
- A better understanding of and deeper connection with your customer
- Unique branding opportunities
- In-depth insights into customers’ buying behaviour
Following is a brief explanation of each of the above benefits with examples for clarification. You can jump to each section by clicking on the relevant lick above.
More Repeat Business
A loyalty program’s most obvious benefit is the ability to draw customers back in to your stores after a single purchase. The idea of getting a free product or a discount will often compel any customer to return.
And the basic cashback (earn and burn) model, has proven to be highly effective in most businesses regardless of the industry. But cash back on every purchase is just the tip of the loyalty iceberg.
When we move into more advanced tiered based models, buying becomes a game, and members get to the next level through purchases. This makes shopping a lot more exciting as loyalty card holders can tally up their points to see how close they are to getting better rewards.
Increased Brand Visibility
A successful loyalty program gets attention. People who have rarely or never visited your restaurant may hear about it through their friends who are talking about your loyalty program.
Some brands get noticed by virtue of their incredible loyalty programs alone, driven by word-of-mouth, social media, and even through the press.
Happy customers are vocal customers, especially after being pampered with rewards. Companies like Starbucks get thousands of tweets a year as members reach the top tier of their loyalty points program. These higher levels come with access to unique prizes, creating even more inter-person buzz.
The best restaurants will also always have signage of their loyalty programs in their shop windows, on their websites, and even in their advertising, all of which creates interest and increase visibility.
The Power to Influence Buying Behaviour
If you’re tired of seeing your staff mulling around an empty restaurant every Monday night, you can change it by offering a free drink with every meal ordered on Mondays. Best of all, you can setup and manage the entire thing quickly and easily by yourself without any help.
You can encourage the purchase of sides, by offering a free one for groups of four or more customers. When everyone shares, they will likely want to order other items.
You can launch limited time offers that are sent out at specific times for maximal effectiveness. For example, you can send out a promotion at 4pm with a one day only supper special.
Better still, you can focus promotions at specific groups of loyalty customers based on what they eat, how much they spend, and how often they come in.
Keep Customers Up to Speed on New Developments
One of the greatest benefits of using a loyalty program in your restaurant is that once your customers have joined, you have a direct line through to them (over SMS or email). This means you can communicate whatever messages you want to your customers (as long as it’s not too often and always relevant).
This means you can tell customers about everything that’s happening at your restaurant, when new menu items come out, or if you ever change anything.
This will often make them feel like they’re a part of your little community. And in turn help you to create a meaningful relationship with them.
Foster an Emotional Connection with Customers
Different customers have different wants and needs. And with a holistic loyalty program, you can cover each of them.
Some customers love loyalty programs for the games. They enjoy nothing more than the thrill of winning, getting to the next tier of your program. For these types, tracking loyalty points can be addictive. And they feel a connection with you as someone who’s given them a new game.
For other customers, loyalty programs are all about the discounts. They’re the deal focused type who will go out of their way to take advantage of a special you offer.
Then there’s those who just want to feel appreciated and understood. Taking notice of them is enough to touch their hearts. And they actually read the birthday messages from brands like yours.
To them, a birthday coupon means the world. Even if it’s only for a small amount of money, it’s the thought that counts.
With the right loyalty software, this is something that can quickly and easily be automated.
Unique Branding Opportunities
You can tailor loyalty programs to match your brand in a number of compelling ways. You can even create your own currency which loyalty members can redeem for rewards.
Give “Cactus Bucks” for your burrito joint, or offer “Preferred Customer Rankings” for your elegant bistro.
Aside from that, there’s a loyalty card. This is a powerful branding exercise in itself. You can design your loyalty card be so unique and interesting that members want to show it off to their friends.
In-depth Insights into Customers’ Buying Behaviour
Perhaps the most powerful benefit of a loyalty program is that you know exactly which items your customers are buying.
You know when your customers are visiting your stores. You know which products are the most popular. You know how much every customer spends.
And with the right loyalty software, you can get an overview of all this info in a simple dashboard.
All this Amounts to an Almost Unfair Competitive Advantage
Very few restaurants are taking advantage of all the benefits of a powerful loyalty program. By investing in loyalty, and ticking off all the boxes to create a comprehensive rewards offering that truly excites your customers, you’ll become untouchable by the competition.
For more information on the most powerful, flexible and easy to use loyalty program on the market click here.