Loyalty Programs and Restaurants: How to Make Them Work

If you run a restaurant and are looking for ways to expand your customer base, then consider implementing a loyalty program. Put simply, restaurant loyalty programs offer incentives to encourage return customers. Here's a closer look at how they work, as well as examples of successful programs that can revolutionize your business.

What Are The Benefits of Loyalty Programs?

The purpose of loyalty programs is to increase your consumer engagement and give your brand a positive reputation. The more people that enjoy your brand, the higher your revenue. If you're still not convinced, consider the following statistics:

  • 39% of US consumers say loyalty programs incentivize them to spend more.
  • 44% of consumers claim that loyalty programs improve their guest experience.
  • Rewards program members spend 92% more than non-rewards program members.

Whether you run a traditional restaurant or a ghost kitchen, connecting with your customers is key to success. At the end of the day, you can't expect to increase customer satisfaction rates if you don't make the effort to curate a positive consumer experience.

What Are Examples of Successful Loyalty Programs?

Now that you understand the benefits of loyalty programs, you might be wondering: how do I get started? Here are some unique loyalty programs that you can try out.

Referral Programs

If you've tried online ordering, you might have noticed that many delivery platforms offer users discounts in exchange for sharing the delivery application with friends. You can apply the same concept to your restaurant by giving online users a special code with their order. This code can be shared with friends, who will receive a discount at your restaurant. When they make a purchase, the original customer gets a discount too!

Premier Rewards Programs

Restaurant chains like Outback Steakhouse and Del Taco have successfully incentivized customers to return by offering premier rewards programs. Every time a customer returns to the restaurant, they receive loyalty points that can be applied to future meals. You can track these points either manually (such as through stamp cards) or digitally (such as through email).

First Order Discount

If you're on UberEats, GrubHub or another delivery platform, then a first order discount is an absolute must. This loyalty program offers discounts to first-time customers, which is a great way to introduce people to your brand. Ideally, they'll become return customers after trying out your food!

"Kids Eat Free" Promotions

If you own a kid-friendly business, consider implementing a "kids eat free" program. You could keep this year-round or only apply it to certain days (such as "kids eat free" Tuesdays). While you won't be earning money on kid's meals, you will be earning money from the parents or guardians that accompany the kids. It's important to recognize that these families may not have ever considered going to your restaurant until they learned about your loyalty program!

Collaborative Rewards Programs

There are tons of advantages to collaborating with other local businesses. In addition to gaining a new audience, you're helping out another hard-working entrepreneur. Collaborations offer a great way to implement a loyalty program -- simply reach out to local companies and see if anybody's interested in working with you. For instance, you could partner with a gym and offer a discount to anyone with that gym membership. In exchange, the gym can distribute coupons or use your business for their catering needs.

Job Rewards

If you respect a certain profession, such as teachers, firefighters or social workers, why not demonstrate that by creating a program that rewards those specific workers? Lots of restaurants offer free meals to teachers on National Teacher's Day or discounts to veterans on National Veterans Day. Not only does this encourage customers to visit your restaurant, but it also gives you the opportunity to show your support to people you respect.

How Do I Make Loyalty Programs Work?

It's one thing to come up with a loyalty program — it's another thing to implement it successfully. When multiple customers come in with loyalty points or meal discounts, it can be difficult for employees to manage. Forgetting to apply a discount or accidentally subtracting the wrong amount can frustrate customers, cause monetary losses and harm your brand's reputation.

If you plan on incorporating loyalty programs, it's important to have the restaurant technology to support it. One of the best ways to manage programs is through POS integration — making your program sync with your POS lets you enter data, track sales information and supervise the program with ease. The more efficient your management system, the better your customer service.

At Cuboh, we offer a high-quality order management platform that integrates seamlessly with your POS system and streamlines all your delivery orders to a single location. From providing centralized reports to assisting with loyalty programs, you can trust our platform to help you succeed!

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