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Restaurant Marketing Ideas: Building a Loyalty Program that Works

Server Entering Restaurant Loyalty Program

One of the great truths of the restaurant industry is that it costs much more to acquire new customers than it does to retain current customers. That’s why one of our favorite restaurant marketing ideas is building a loyalty program that keeps your customers coming back for more! Here’s how to do it the right way.

What’s a Restaurant Loyalty Program?

A restaurant loyalty program is a formalized initiative to reward customers for spending money at your restaurant.

Tips for Creating a Successful Restaurant Loyalty Program

Whether it’s an app, a punch card, or an automatic rewards system through your POS system, the ultimate goal of a restaurant loyalty program is to incentivize customers to spend more money at your restaurant. Here are some tips for creating a successful restaurant loyalty program.

Keep it Simple

One of the best ways to get customers to sign up for your restaurant rewards program is to make it as simple to participate as possible. Remember, any barriers to the system—difficult sign-up processes, easy-to-lose punch cards, extensive surveys—can prevent people from signing up or consistently using your loyalty program. You’ll also want to make sure your customers can use their rewards whether they’re getting no-contact curbside pickup, takeout, delivery, or dining in-house.

Make Rewards Enticing

If you want people to actively participate in your restaurant loyalty program, you need to make sure the rewards are enticing to your specific customer-base. In order to do this, you need to understand your clientele. If only a small percentage of your customers order dessert but lots of guests order starters, for example, a free dessert might not be as enticing as a free appetizer.

Make Rewards Attainable

When creating your customer loyalty program, it’s best to create a tiered system that offers varying levels of rewards. That way, there are different types of rewards available to different types of customers. While it’s okay to have big prizes for big spenders, don’t forget to offer some shorter term goals for customers who only frequent your restaurant occasionally.

Consider a VIP Membership Program

These types of programs, which include mug and growler clubs, typically offer better rewards than other types of loyalty programs, but they do require an up-front cost. If you’re a brewery who offers monthly brews, for example, a VIP membership program might offer discounted growlers, discounted pints, or free appetizers to get people through the door. By paying up front, you can offer your customers rewards that pay for themselves if they visit just once or twice a month, and once you get them in the door, they’ll likely spend more money.

Need more restaurant marketing ideas? McDonald Wholesale doesn’t just provide high quality wholesale food ingredients, we also provide restaurant marketing and other helpful services to our foodservice customers. Check out our restaurant industry blog, where we cover everything from how local restaurants can compete with chains to the best restaurant patio ideas for winter.

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