Delightful Loyalty Program Ideas for Restaurants

Want to know which loyalty program is right for your restaurant? Growing customer loyalty is the cornerstone for the success of any restaurant-type business or fast-casual restaurant, and we’re going to share restaurant loyalty program ideas to help you succeed.

Gaining new and engaged customers isn’t just a simple question of posting on social media and advertising online. For example, in recent years, ads have become 91% more intrusive. This means that your consumers will “filter out” ad content from brands like yours. Instead, consumers are leaning towards brands that offer personalization and a better customer experience to win their shares of wallet and loyalty.

How do you personalize your brand’s customer engagement and grow a loyal base of customers across ordering channels, especially when data exchange is not seamless from one channel to another? Here are some of the best loyalty program ideas for restaurants.

Easy-To-Implement Restaurant Loyalty Program Ideas

Let’s get to it! Here are some of  easy-to-implement restaurant loyalty program ideas to get you started:

Restaurant Loyalty Program Idea 1: Create Loyalty Points

In today’s competitive market, your customers want to be rewarded for spending their hard-earned dollars. However, many restaurant-type businesses don’t have any kind of loyalty program. Without a loyalty program, you can leave loyal customers thinking that your restaurant, coffee shop, QSR, or other hospitality business doesn’t value their trade. 

A loyalty point program is a fantastic way to entice and engage customers to buy more from your brand. 

The best loyalty programs reward valued customers and show you’re grateful for their business. We’ve all seen the, Buy ten coffees, get one free! loyalty systems, and while these aren’t a poor choice, a program that is a little bit more sophisticated can work wonders where it matters most: driving revenue.

Loyalty points are often the most straightforward way to execute a loyalty program. In this program, the more your customer spends as a member of the program, the more points you will offer them in return. Your customers can redeem rewards using their points. 

One of the main benefits of this type of reward program is that you can entice customers to spend more in return for more exciting and sought-after rewards.

A graph with an example of Loyalty Programs with three tiers growing with increased benefits and conditions
With a Tiered Loyalty Program, customers gain access to additional perks by advancing through the different memberships or tiers. Tiered programs encourage customers to spend and engage to increase their access to privileges.

Restaurant Loyalty Program Idea 2:
Celebrate Your Loyal Customer's Special Days

As we already covered, your customers love to feel appreciated and valued. Sometimes, it’s great to show that appreciation with offers, promotions and sales. Other times, it’s surprisingly easy (and cost-effective!) to show your customers some love with small, meaningful gestures that show how much you value them. Celebrating your customer’s special days is a great way to do this. You might want to send a message for their birthday, anniversary, or a special occasion. It’s a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level.

Restaurant Loyalty Program Idea 3:
Create A Secret Menu

Okay, first up, who doesn’t love a secret menu?! Secret menus are such a fantastic way to entice customers to your loyalty program. They’re exciting, desirable, and give participating customers a great community feeling because they have access to something that not everyone can buy from you.

To encourage signups to your loyalty program, you can offer customers who are part of the program a secret menu. You can design your menu however you’d like and in a way that makes sense for your restaurant or hospitality business. That could be creating new dishes or simply serving fun variations of your most popular orders. 

Loyal customers will enjoy a sense of special treatment, and you’ll find that it’s an easy way to get non-members to consider joining your loyalty program.

Restaurant Loyalty Program Idea 4:
Provide Experiential Rewards

These days, customers want more than just a discount or to be offered an item they repeatedly buy for free. It’s also hard to stand out from the competition with these generic kinds of loyalty program ideas. You’ll often find that a reward or experience makes the customer feel more valued than a free product. 

So, what does this look like? You could decide to invite exclusive groups of customers who are part of your loyalty program to have a unique or special experience. Be as imaginative as you like! Anything from a step to the front of the queue pass, or a special seating area would be a great way to make customers feel extra-special.

See what is possible.

Talk to sales.

Restaurant Loyalty Program Idea 5:
Integrate A Referral Program

Referral programs work like a charm, and they’ll help you gain more loyal customers. The process can be simple to implement. For example, you could offer a small reward when a loyal customer brings a new customer to your restaurant or coffee shop. As these new customers have great experiences, sign up for your loyalty program and then bring in new customers themselves, your business will gain many more patrons. 

It’s the ultimate win-win. You get more clients in return for providing a small reward and your clients who refer new customers feel appreciated and valued for bringing you new business.

Tips On How To Implement Your Program

Happy senior consumer shopping at a fruit market and looking at her phone

We hope you’ve already found some inspiration for different ways you can set up your loyalty program and encourage customers to join through these restaurant loyalty program ideas.

Up next, we’ll share a few ways you can implement your loyalty program as efficiently as possible. Let’s go!

Make It Easy For Your Front Of The House Team

Integrating a loyal program in your POS that is unique for your brand is possible!  Your POS turns into an actionable CRM that informs your front of the house team about the guest in front of them, making it easy to personalize a menu or product recommendation.

For your guest, it makes the process of enjoying loyalty benefits more streamlined. Customers like being able to enjoy the benefits of a loyalty program quickly, and they will enjoy being able to enjoy instant benefits and rewards.

Execute Through An App And Your Website

These days, your customers don’t want to be fumbling in their wallets or purses for loyalty cards. Whether you’re implementing a loyalty program for the first time or you’re making upgrades to an existing program, consider using an app. Digital loyalty programs are very convenient, and they are also future-proof. Businesses implementing more traditional loyalty programs that require cards will need to upgrade to a digital version of their program at some point in the future. You can save costs by going through the process once. 

You’ll also find that your customers – especially if they are young – will be very eco-conscious. Many are thinking about reducing unnecessary plastic waste, and they will particularly appreciate not having a plastic card printed for them. It’s a small detail, but one that matters.

Digital loyalty programs are easy to track. You’ll also find that they capture more valuable data, which you’ll be able to analyze quickly and easily.

Keep It Simple

Customers want loyalty programs that make them feel valued and appreciated, and are also easy to use and enjoy. Many restaurant-style businesses think adding all the bells and whistles to a loyalty program will make it more irresistible. Ultimately, you’re likely to find that this won’t be the case. If customers can’t enjoy the experience—if your loyalty program is hard to use or if there are too many rules and regulations—customers will simply avoid signing up.

Customers need to understand how to enjoy your program. Keeping your loyalty program simple and easy to use is always likely to be the winning approach.

Train Your Staff

Training your staff to persuade customers into loyalty programs will help you see a significant uptake in your offering.

Even something as simple as a member of your team asking your customer if they’ve heard about your loyalty program can make an impact on the number of signups you get. An ideal time to raise the subject and get your staff to explain more about the program is when customers are paying.

Training your staff to explain the benefits of the loyalty program in exactly the right way to customers will also result in more signups for the program.

Always Market Your Loyalty Program Heavily

It’s not enough to create a great loyalty program. To get signups, you need to invest time and effort in marketing it. Predominantly, you’ll want to make sure your customers are aware of the program and understand why it’s an attractive proposition.  

Many restaurants tend to avoid marketing their loyalty programs, hoping that it’ll get signups by itself. You may get some traction, but you’re most likely to see slow registration and less interest than if you market it effectively. 

In many ways, marketing a loyalty program is as important as creating one. A loyalty program is an extension of growing brand awareness and increasing audience engagement and yes, conversions! 

GoGoGuest’s Customer Loyalty Engine Takes You A Step Ahead!

GoGoGuest’s API-centric customer loyalty engine brings all your data sources from in-store and online systems (think POS, online ordering, WiFi, eCommerce merchandise sales). This means customers can earn rewards and milestones across all your ordering channels.

But let’s start at the top. Just what is an API Centric engagement and loyalty engine, anyway?

Application Programming Interface (API) is an approach that makes it more flexible and easier for platforms like POS systems, online ordering, eCommerce, and other third-party applications to exchange data with a customer engagement and loyalty platform like GoGoGuest. 

This means that seamless exchange of information about customer’s engagement activity, preferences and interests, purchase history and more are updated in real-time regardless of ordering channel (in-store, online, eCommerce or third-party) or engagement channel (POS, email, SMS, app or web).

An API Centric engagement and loyalty engine elevates the level of transparency and personalization across your business organization and functions. You are making it easier for your teams to create personalized customer experiences that surprise and delight. Meanwhile, the customer experience can be 100% controlled by your brand, across your POS, website, apps, email marketing, and SMS marketing.

But is it really possible to achieve 100% customer satisfaction? Yes, with measurable data, insights and predictive analytics as a backbone to run your business.

By knowing and understanding the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that matter to your customers, you can address the enhancements and improvements needed to achieve 100% customer satisfaction and improve efficiencies across business functions. 

Here are a few examples of how GoGoGuest helps brands deliver delightful restaurant loyalty program ideas:

  • Gather, organize and understand all your customer data in one place
  • Seamlessly communicate actionable insights to your ordering and engagement tech stack (if you are not using GoGoGuest modules)
  • See common behavioral patterns from your most engaged and loyal customers
  • Understand which campaigns gain the most engagement and conversions by customer cohort and/or profile
  • Discover new engagement opportunities and compare performance across email, SMS, web and/or third-party apps
  • Measure the sales and revenue performance of each ordering channel
  • Anticipate consumer behaviors through Market Basket Analysis
  • Enhance, adjust or revamp menu design based on best performing product or menu combinations
  • Better predictability on food and merchandise inventories

API centric engagement and loyalty engines give brands sophisticated access to data, flexibility, and scalability to craft the best customer experience across every ordering, purchasing and engagement channel.

Next Steps

It’s time for your brand and business to take control of your customer experience in-store and online. Learn how to increase audience engagement and grow customer loyalty that seamlessly works with your POS, app and website. Book a consultation.

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