When you think of the toughest part of customer loyalty programs for restaurants, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the tactics. How do I launch, control and measure a customer loyalty program? However, the most difficult part of a restaurant loyalty program is understanding – and believing – that a returning and increasingly frequent customer is more valuable to your business than simply attracting new customers.
The toughest component of a successful restaurant loyalty program is spending time, money and resources on a current customer. While the implementation of tactics to attract new customers is always smart business, it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t overshadow the focus on existing customers. Every customer is not the same. As operators, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves on the existing customer base.
Since the frequent diner is the core of the restaurant loyalty program, we must determine the best methods to create and maintain that loyalty. Past tactics have attracted new customers at the expense of current ones, causing them to feel devalued in comparison to new patrons.
Utilize the data surrounding your existing customer base. We need to understand the loyal customer’s purchase habits. This includes the factors that motivate spending and the channels they utilize to make dining decisions, as well as the ability to understand the customer and their behaviors (both off and online) – instead of just their demographic and/or geographic profiles.
Looking beyond the demographic and psychographic profiles and truly understanding the customer’s behaviors is what provides the basis for sustaining customer loyalty programs for restaurants. Once you recognize and understand this information, you can provide a meaningful motivation to alter their purchase habits and keep them coming back for more
New customers will always be a significant factor for the growth of any restaurant. A well- constructed loyalty program can help attract new customers, increase the frequency of current customers and become a valuable asset for your brand.