Loyalty Programs: Building Customer Love from 1 to 100


By Corinne Watson

SEP 24, 2021


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Customer satisfaction is incredibly important for any restaurant: it’s a core consideration in determining success. However, most food chains find it challenging to build a loyal customer base.

Increasing satisfaction levels can improve loyalty among diners, which is an advantage since acquiring new customers can cost 5x more than retaining them. But while it remains an unquestionable fact that getting customers to revisit your eatery can benefit the business, how do you trigger such loyalty? 

The answer is: by building a thorough experience with customer touch-points like digital ordering, swift delivery, and assurance of a top-quality product.

Where to begin?

Customers will only come back to your restaurant if you take care of the basics: reasonable pricing, ambiance, service and the quality of your food. According to a Deloitte survey, augmented services come second to the core aspects of your restaurant. Ensure periodic quality checks on your food, acquire customer feedback, and deliver excellent customer service to build loyalty for your brand. Here are a few ways you can get started.

1. Develop a rewards program.

Introducing restaurant loyalty programs is an excellent way to reward your faithful customers — they can accumulate points with each order that can earn them special discounts and other freebies. Although creating loyalty programs for restaurants helps retention, it does not guarantee that your customers won’t still be interested in what your competitors have to offer. 

You have to make it easier for your guests to opt-in to your restaurant loyalty program and redeem the points. This means using mobile apps to keep track of their purchases and alerting them when a reward is within their reach.

2. Improve communication online.

Use social media and email marketing to deliver a personalized experience to your patrons when they are not even in your restaurant. According to research, 86% of users prefer using the internet to find authentic info about products and services. This makes it imperative for you to set up profiles on Facebook, Google and Instagram at least. 

Use these pages to disseminate information about new menu items, special events, live music nights, promotional offers and coupons. Keep reminding your clients that they had a great time eating at your fine establishment and that they don’t need to go anywhere else when they are hungry because you’ve always got the best deals. 

3. Build a simple, secure, and convenient purchase journey. 

People want ease and convenience when ordering food, which is why digital ordering is gaining traction these days. It’s essential to offer hassle-free customer experience and you can do that with mobile apps that enable your customers to book a table ahead or order food for delivery. 

You can set up digital ordering with Lunchbox that can help you cater to web orders, app orders, catering orders, and more through a single platform. A simple and integrated online platform will encourage people to order from your restaurant, allowing you to build customer loyalty. 

4. Get feedback.

For restaurants, it is of utmost importance to acquire feedback from customers and work on those responses to improve services.

Yelp is a leading review site where millions of customers leave their praises and criticisms for restaurants they have dined at. Make sure you have an active presence on this site as you keep track of all the reviews, compliments, and possible disapproval left by your existing customers.

Reply to each of them because people like restaurants that take the time to respond to reviews.  

So stay active by thanking anyone who’s given positive feedback and own up to your mistakes while addressing angry customers. Make sure that you can prove the accuracy of the good reviews by providing a simple, secure, and convenient purchase-journey time and again, to the customers — because that’s how leading brands build a loyal customer base.

5. Segment marketing.

Personalized communication delivers brand loyalty for restaurants as it makes your patrons feel valued. Send a personalized message via social media or email to the customer, making an upsell. Ask them how their experience with a particular order went, and offer them to try out something new from your restaurant. 

This way, the consumer would know that your restaurant values their purchase, thereby fostering a healthy relationship and building loyalty to your brand. 

Digital ordering platforms can help gather insightful data, allowing you to construct better marketing strategies. Developing a bespoke pitch becomes easier when you have a complete profile of your customer, which includes their name, previous orders, and willingness to spend. 

For example, you probably ask for their birthdays when they sign up for the rewards program. Send automatic emails to your guests to wish them and give them a special birthday offer! It’s just one more super-effective way to build customer loyalty.

Impact of Brand Loyalty on Your Restaurant

Brand loyalty revolves around customer experiences that can be improved by answering a few simple questions. How convenient is it to place an order? Do you provide personalized customer services? Do you offer quality food? Do your orders reflect the same value you provide in your dining-in experiences? 

There is no denying the fact that loyal customers translate into customer satisfaction and improved retention rates for your restaurant. In fact, a 5% increase in retention rates can lead to a 25% - 95% increase in revenues, allowing you to scale operations and expand your business.

Brand loyalty is a by-product of quality service and your ability to make your customers feel special. Did you know that 68% of diners will stop eating at a place they have visited often in the past, all because they perceived indifference from the business? Train your staff to prioritize the individual customer. They can do this by remembering names and repeat orders; try giving away free dessert on birthdays. These factors invariably make restaurants a more pleasant visit for the customer and eventually more profitable for you.

See how Lunchbox can transform your restaurant’s digital ordering into a powerful omnichannel system.

Book a demo to Learn more


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