Build It And They Will Come

Are your first quarter numbers sagging? Economic uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff and the sequester have had an noticeable impact on restaurants sales in the first quarter. A well-designed loyalty program may be the medicine for what ails your business. As discounts deals like Groupon are on the decline, loyalty programs are on the rise.

According to an independent study by a loyalty program consultant group, diners are 35% more likely to increase their visits to an establishment with a value added rewards program and nearly two thirds of consumers would recommend a restaurant to others if that restaurant has an appealing rewards program.

Here are some helpful tips on creating a quality program for your restaurant:

  • Consumers prefer a clearly-defined points system over punch cards. Punch cards have become generic and one dimensional tools for building loyalty as customer’s no longer place much value on them.
  • Make the enrollment process uncomplicated on the front end, gather additional information online afterwards. Loyalty programs are a great way to gather behavioral data, collect contact information, and they are an added incentive for customers to choose your restaurant over your competitor.
  • Most consumers would be willing to pay for a program but only if the program is of adequate value. Remember this is about building loyalty by offering incentives to your guests without a huge cost to your business.
  • If you have more than one concept, you can increase your appeal by offering a rewards programs that covers all of your restaurants. Or team up with a local restaurant organization that can offer a comprehensive rewards program for all participating restaurants.

Finding the right loyalty program for your brand can create long term benefits to your customers and your business. You can offer programs where rewards are automatic, redeemable at different levels determined by the customer, discounts on purchases or frequency based.

Chef U Consulting can help you determine and implement the right program for your brand.   

Originally published 3/15/13