The Importance of Restaurant Loyalty Programs

February 10, 2015 - 7 minutes read

The presence of loyalty programs has proven to be an essential facet when it comes to maintaining a flow of revenue. This is particularly true for the restaurant industry. According to an article by Ideas and Insights for Full-Service Restaurants (FSR), The Basics of Building a Loyalty Program, “Loyalty customers are 70 percent more likely to make a repeat visit.” This is a significant number when speaking about an audience that can easily be swayed by deals and discounts in this type of economy. So how do we get them to keep coming back?

A common concern for restaurant entrepreneurs is how to go about combating the issue of how to compete with existing franchises. Many restaurant owners would like to believe that guests will always pick them for their juicy, hearty burgers and forego the dollar burger from McDonald’s that has been around for ages. For many, however, this idea proves to be unrealistic and leads to them having to close their doors in just a few short months. FSR also addresses this concern when speaking with Lance Brown, Vice President of Product Development for Huzzah Media, who said, “Restaurants are always good at communicating and the word of mouth seems to be strong, but giving people just one extra reason to come back seems to really start chaining the dynamic in the table turnover and the ticket.” This is only a small justification as to why loyalty programs time and again have made a noticeable difference. As restaurants begin to see familiar faces in their restaurants due to loyalty programs their entire demeanor begins to change. They begin to believe in the program when guests start to become like family to them. Coming to work is no longer something to dread, but a time to spend with a different type of family.

Loyalty programs are not a one-sided relationship: The loyalty program is only as good as the restaurant allows it to be. Lance Brown also touched on this by saying it, “entails sitting down with the owner.” He also claims, “This is only as good as the number of people who know about it, or it’s only as good as your staff gets excited about it’” (FSR). This has been proven to be of the one of the key issues that loyalty programs have to face. For example, would you create a Facebook account and not ask to be anyone’s friend? No! Why? Because you would not be using any of the applications or amenities that Facebook has to offer and was created for. The same rule applies for loyalty programs. Once you are able to begin “turning the wheels” for a loyalty program, it is then and only then that you are able to begin to tailor your program to retain loyal guests while also attracting new ones. If this relationship is one-sided it will not work.

In an article from SmartBlog

on Food & Beverage, entitled “Report: Challenging and Redefining Consumer Loyalty,” they suggested that after analyzing research on consumer loyalty, “the time is right to take a deeper look at loyalty programs to see what more can be done to create efficient, affordable programs that work for both businesses and consumers.” Breaking down the research even further that was compiled, SmartBlog discovered that one of the key aspects of making a beneficial loyalty program, is to “think beyond cash-back and other traditional rewards structures in an effort to attract high-value consumers.” For a restaurant loyalty program to prove effective for the guest and also for the restaurant, they must contribute added value by giving the restaurant some form of information on better ways to reach their guests while also giving the guest a reason for returning. customers

At eateria not only do we believe in our company and our mission, but we believe in the restaurant industry as a whole.

We are built on this idea of consumer loyalty and the power that it has to not only change the restaurant industry, but also how much it can benefit everyday consumers. We enjoy staying up to date on what new ideas and tactics are being shared on consumer loyalty, and based off of these two articles it sounds like many people are on the same page as us. We know that restaurant owners are overwhelmed by everything that they have to manage on a daily basis so our mission is to help by taking one of those things off their plate. We know that restaurant loyalty programs are essential for the restaurant industry and our goal is to make sure they continue to make a positive impact on the industry for years to come.

Sources

Chudgar, Sonya. “The Basics of Building a Loyalty Program.” Ideas and Insights for Full-Service Resturants. N.p., 9 Sept. 2014. Web. 4 Feb. 2015. <http://www.fsrmagazine.com/marketing/basics-building-loyalty-program?utm_campaign=20140925&utm_medium=email&utm_source=fs_insider>.

Russell, Julia. “Report: Challenging and Redefining Consumer Loyalty.” SmartBlog on Food & Beverage. Ed. Amy Sung. SmartBlog, 2 Feb. 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2015. <http://smartblogs.com/food-and-beverage/2015/02/02/report-challenging-and-redefining-consumer-loyalty/?utm_source=brief>.

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