While many restaurateurs have made loyalty programs a part of their marketing strategy, many are still on the fence for initiating one. Loyalty programs have proven to be extremely successful for many types of businesses such as retail, travel, entertainment, banking, etc. However, the F&B industry can witness its benefits in a more obvious way.
Loyalty programs are not expensive to initiate or maintain, unlike what most marketers believe. They, in actuality, boost growth and turn out to be much cheaper than getting new customers. By acquiring returning customers or those who are likely to repurchase, and by understanding the limits of those who wish to repurchase but don’t, a loyalty program can become a bridge between the two. A successful loyalty program also helps you win back upset and disappointed customers.
Another advantage of having a loyalty program is that you can turn your guests into your brand advocates. A referral system intertwined with a loyalty reward program can work wonders in acquiring new customers. It also helps you reduce your advertising and marketing costs since the customer database provides all the information required to connect directly with them and thereby keep all the tables occupied. The CRM system can be integrated with your restaurant management software to capitalise on your loyalty program. This can make the customer experience better by you knowing their personal contact details, order history, preferences, expenditure, etc. As a result, you can segment your customers on the basis of high and low paying guests and service them accordingly.
The biggest benefit of running loyalty programs is creating long-term relationships with your customers. This personal relationship manifests itself in birthday / anniversary discounts, corporate discounts, priority reservations, express deliveries, reward system, etc. Therefore, a loyalty program witnesses a shift from a one sided communication of bombardment of invites and coupons to random customers, to an interactive relationship between your restaurant and guests you regard as valuable.