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How to Reward Your Guests With Every Purchase or Visit

Here is ‘The Clear Guide Light’, a weekly column highlighting the most important actions you can take now to get your communications strategy in place.

BY Andrea Klar-Nathan May 28,2021

You can’t buy love. But restaurant loyalty programs are the next best thing. With every purchase or visit, these programs will show your customers some love – and bring them back for more.

It’s important to: 

  • reward loyalty on each and every visit.
  • make your restaurant loyalty program simple – the easier it is to understand the benefits, the more take-up you will see. 
  • go beyond monetary rewards. Customers love discounts and savings — but just as much, they value personalized rewards and experiences. 
  • make sure to collect every single email address possible (GDPR compliant of course!).
  • make sure your staff knows about the loyalty program. Encourage your employees to ask customers if they’re a part of your restaurant loyalty program and train them to be confident in talking about the benefits. 

Restaurant loyalty programs that sync with POS systems make analytics and tracking easier. You can measure the program’s performance against sales data in a few clicks. You can also pull stats for customers who visit most often, spend the most money etc and send them Thank You perks now and again or invite them to events etc. Before implementing a loyalty program, it is imperative that you have a fully equipped and functional restaurant POS system that can do simple things like create customer profiles and record spending.

So what kind of reward schemes are there for restaurants? 

 

  1. Points-Based Schemes

A point-based loyalty scheme is the most common programme, as it's used in many restaurants and is proven to be a success for both restaurants and your consumers. It's a simple scheme, too. Customers place their order, they're asked if they have a loyalty card and when they present it, their points are added.

Why Customers Like It

Customers will have a target in mind. They'll want the rewards that points can bring – they are effectively trading their loyalty points for food and drinks. Offers like these will have customers coming back and spending more money so that they can continue adding points to their cards. 

 

  1. Membership Programmes

You also have the option of creating an invite-only membership scheme. You then have the chance to offer special rewards, unique benefits and discounts which non-members don't receive.

Why Customers Like It

Customers like exclusivity and therefore this scheme because it might include rewards like off-menu dishes, member-only events and promotions, or vouchers that only members can redeem. 

 

  1. Stamp Cards

Stamp Card loyalty programmes work on a visit or purchase basis, rather than on a percentage of money spent. Customers get a stamp on their card each time they visit or each time they buy a meal. Once the card is full and the reward has been redeemed, customers are given a new one to start the process all over again.

Why Customers Like It

The main selling point of this loyalty programme is that customers won't be pressured into paying a certain amount, unlike other schemes. They’ll want to visit your restaurant because regardless of what they order, you'll be giving them a stamp and moving them one step closer to the reward.

 

  1. Refer-A-Friend Scheme

This is a scheme where your customer refers one or more friends. Once they have given you email addresses (or other contact details), they get a reward.

Why Customers Love It

This is ideal for when customers don't want to be pressured into committing long-term. It's a one-off option to receive a discount which they can use again and again, depending on how many friends they refer. 

 

  1. Digital Loyalty Programmes

Loyalty programmes don't need to be determined by physical items like cards. With the increased use of social media, it could be beneficial for your restaurant to build your online presence while creating a digital-only scheme. 

Why Customers Love It

A digital loyalty scheme means your customers won't have the headache of remembering to bring a loyalty card with them. 

Don’t forget! Having loyal staff members is just as important as loyal customers. Hospitality staff turnover rates are exceedingly high so, what are you doing to ensure your employees are happy and willing to stay with your restaurant? 

Overall, what scheme will work best will depend entirely on your restaurant, so when looking to start a new scheme, consider who your customers are and what is going to make them feel valued. Positive customer experiences are the foundation of every successful restaurant and well-executed loyalty program. 



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About Andrea

Andrea Klar-Nathan is MD of Clear Communications. With over 15 years of hospitality communications experience; she co-owned her first agency by 2011 which she then sold 7 years later. Her experience includes everything that’s connected to hospitality: Michelin starred restaurants, pop-ups, venues, events, even wine storage solutions. You name it, she’s done it.

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