While it has been made clear to most restaurant businesses that customer is the king, most fail to really understand the depth of this statement and end up coming up with loyalty programs that do not fit in with their business. Just like each person is unique, each business is unique, too, and so are its customers. Now, if you want to retain the lost ones or attract new ones, you need special loyalty programs for your restaurant.
No matter how good your food is and how cosy the ambience of your eatery is, you still need tailor-made loyalty programs to lure customers. This can only be achieved if you collect and analyze enough data. If you have that in place, you need some special tips to establish an effective loyalty program for your customers. Here are some of the tips to follow.
1. Shortlist Your Options
While there are innumerable loyalty programs to choose from, the one that suits your kind of setting and crowd should be preferred over any other. Moreover, choose one that is compatible with your point-of-sale (POS) system. This way, you wouldn’t have to maintain other software for loyalty programs.
Example: You could give loyalties to the people who order food to be delivered from your restaurant. This way, the system that is responsible for food deliveries will also be responsible for giving you data of the customers the food is delivered to. This way, you can offer tailored programs to the people who order a specific kind of food from your restaurant.
You could offer loyalties in the form of points, depending upon the money they spend in your restaurant. This is the most recommended way to retain customers as over 35% of the millennials ordering food to be delivered find this to be the best loyalty program. Other ways include offering discounts and offering points each time a customer pays a visit to your eatery.
2. Keep It Simple.
There is no denying that your program’s terms and conditions should be comprehensible and easy to understand. However, in the midst of all the creativity and attempting to be unique, do not end up adding several steps for the customer to gain from the loyalty program. Customers get tired easily and won’t spend too much time on saving just a few bucks. Make your program simple, with fewer steps, and user-friendly to leave a positive impact on your patrons and engage them more often.
3. Take Regular Feedback.
When you see a customer using your app/service regularly, send them a pop-up customer feedback form on your POS. Ask simple and short questions with multiple choices, if possible. This will not consume a lot of time and will be easy for your customers, thus giving you accurate data as to where your service needs improvement.
If you take a suggestion and implement it, send an email or a message to that customer, thanking them and reminding them that you take your customers’ suggestions seriously. This will add a sense of trust to your business and before you’ll even realize it, there’ll be an excellent word of mouth, bringing in more people to your restaurant.
4. Analyze the Data and Use it to Generate Business.
Let’s say you sit down to analyze the data and see that your dessert sales are way lesser than the coffee or sandwich sales. Use this information to drive customers to purchasing more desserts. How? Loyalty programs! Offer special discounts on dessert orders. This will lure your customers to at least give your specialties a shot and who knows, maybe they’ll love it and come back for more. Another such example can be offering heavier discounts or double points to the customers who walk into your restaurant during the not-so-busy hours. Find out the time of the day when the sales are not as high and start offering time-specific loyalty programs.
5. At Last, Sustain Loyal Customers.
It’s no big deal to lure customers to your business with loyalty programs. However, the real catch lies in you not forgetting the ones who have been loyal to you since the very beginning. Offer those loyal patrons a higher tier. One way this can be done is by initiating a program wherein after someone has gained a certain number of points, say 500, they get a place in the higher tier. The higher tier customers may get special treatment in the sense that they would be served first or they wouldn’t have to pay delivery charges, etc. Sit down to think and you would surely come up with more such ideas.
The Bottom Line
Remember, customers should come first. And with your loyalty programs in place, it shouldn’t be difficult to lure more customers to your business and drive sales. But again, don’t forget to treat those who’ve been loyal so far with some special treatment. We’re humans, after all. Why wouldn’t we appreciate a little pampering?