The Stone Grill in Blackpool is fortunate in that it has a loyal customer base we can depend on to keep coming back, as long as we maintain standards. Not all restaurants are so lucky, which is where loyalty programs can come in useful.
If you’re running a restaurant, you know how important it is to keep customers coming and a loyalty program is a great way of doing that.
As long as the loyalty program is easy to use, has decent rewards and you promote it enough, it could make a serious difference to footfall in your restaurant.
Here are a few ideas to help you along.
Email signup in return for free drinks
Encourage customers to sign up to your newsletter or for promotions in return for a free soft drink. Use a simple code or email check to verify membership and provide the free drink on the visit.
It’s a simple but effective way to reward signups.
Points for pounds
Many chain restaurants offer loyalty programs where points are awarded on spend. Accrue a certain threshold of points for a free dish or drink or keep gaining them for a main meal or something more.
These points can be managed on the website, in the app or manually using your POS.
Using an actual card you stamp for every visit is a very easy loyalty program to set up and can be controlled by front of house. Starbucks used to use something like this, you get a stamp every visit and once you have 10 or 12 stamps you get a free dish or drink.
Using a card and stamp means this is very low maintenance as long as you check stamps carefully to make sure they aren’t faked.
People love feeling special so using exclusivity in a loyalty program can work well in some restaurants. Create a VIP club that involves membership and rewards with special nights, signature drinks, reduced prices, advanced access to new dishes, priority access to a chef’s table or other incentive.
By charging, you make a little extra while also helping that exclusivity. It will help cover the extra expenses involved in running the program too.
Refer a friend
Refer a friend can work anywhere, at any time. Offer a discount, priority seating or other incentive for people willing to refer a friend while they are there. Collect the name and email address of the person being referred in return for the incentive.
This is a simple, one-off incentive that would work for people who don’t want to commit or want a longer term incentive.
Invite only or ticketed events
Holding invite only or ticketed events for regular customers or those with a loyalty card can be marketing magic. Hold them as one offs for customers you know, subscribers or members or something else.
This feeds the same exclusivity as VIP but works with occasional customers or those who don’t want to commit too.
Do you have any loyalty program ideas? Use any that work well for your restaurant?