We are sure NO restaurant wants them!
From five-star only diners to the ones living on takeouts, restaurateurs come in all shapes and size. Everywhere out there is a potential pool of customers but it is only the loyal ones who are here to stay. Customer loyalty programs are one of the few things to keep your loyal customers keep coming back for more.
Although customer loyalty programs are as old as the term “restaurant” itself but over the years, the tactics have changed. Today we are covering why a customer loyalty program is important for your restaurant and how to kickstart one in the ever changing customer landscape.
If you truly want to build customer loyalty, offering incentives to your customers is one way. Inducements that involve additional bonuses such as extra food or free drinks are much better received.
Though general discounts coupons or punch cards may have worked in the past, they are now old schools tactics. Today’s customers want to feel special, unique and valued for their purchases, even when it comes to coffee shops or burger joints. They want to get more from the brand they are going to spend their money on. Restaurants everywhere should rise up to these expectations as 80% of your future revenue will come from the 20% of your existing customers!
Sounds intimidating? Through loyalty programs, there are so many strategies your restaurant can take to dive right into building reciprocal loyalty with your customers.
The success of your restaurant lies in building emotional affinity with your customers. When customers connect with a brand on an emotional level, true loyalty takes place.
When your customers feel like they are the voice behind your brand, they feel like they “know you” on a personal level, which makes them feel comfortable and helps foster loyalty. Keep the tone of your brand light and fun; a little bit of humor never hurts.
Make your customers recognize the tone and semantics of your restaurant, keeping the emotions consistent across all customer touch points – whether they’re eating in your brick and mortar point, engaging with your brand online, purchasing your merchandise, or even if calling to make reservations.
Sharing your brand values is one of the ways to find your brand a loyal brigade of foodies. The more your customers relate to your brand, the easier it is for them to decide whether their values align with your own. Once your restaurant ﬁnds customers whose values match yours, they are much more likely to become loyal to your brand.
Take Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” initiative as an example. One of Chipotle’s values is using humanely and responsibly-raised ingredients, and their “Scarecrow” marketing campaign placed this value on a pedestal for all to see. From movies to micro-sites, “The Scarecrow” spread Chipotle’s message to the masses and ended up securing thousands of loyal customers for the food chain.
One of the perks digital age has provided us is bridging the gap between the customers and our brands, thanks to the rise of social media channels. And it’s high time for restaurants everywhere to get social with their customers. (You’re still not? What? Stop reading and go sign up for a Facebook account!). No matter the channel your brand prefers, make sure you engage with your favourite foodies regularly and be available to answer their questions in real time.
Use social channels to share regular updates from inside your restaurant, from fun pictures to new dishes to special discounts.
The best way to give your customers something special is to be useful to them and what’s better than teaching them how to cook! From your signature dishes to the secret ingredients you use, trust us when we say your customers are dying to know.
The Palm Restaurant has been one of the first restaurants to cash in this strategy. Their Youtube channel is dedicated to teaching their customers how to prepare the restaurant’s famous dishes. From mouth watering cocktails to their popular side dishes, Palm is educating their customers in their niche, thus providing them value as well as entertainment.
The way restaurants practice their customer loyalty programs may have changed but the importance of customer loyalty is still the same. Putting in our experience with Penthouse Pool Club, Pete’s Apizza, Bethesda BBQ, Trusst Catering, and Dino in Shaw, we hope our post gives you a few ideas on how to keep your customers happy.
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