Top Strategies for Building Customer Loyalty at Your Restaurant

Customer loyalty is crucial for restaurant growth. We’ve put together a list of the top strategies for building customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty is crucial for restaurant growth since repeat customers tend to spend more than new customers and retaining customers is five times cheaper than attracting new ones according to Business News Daily. Tough financial times, such as the height of the recent pandemic, have taught the restaurant industry the importance of cultivating a strong customer base. Hence, intentionally engaging and retaining customers should be a top priority for restaurant owners. We’ve put together a list of the top strategies for building customer loyalty:

Keep in Touch Via Email & Text

Emailing mouth-watering images of your food or texting exclusive discount codes is sure to bring customers into your restaurant. An easy way to build your email and text lists in the first place is to promise a 10% discount on their next purchase or a similar incentive in exchange for their contact information. Let them know that going forward, you’ll send weekly offers or monthly updates their way. By being consistent in your communications, you’ll build trust with potential customers and it’ll be more likely that they take you up on the deals you offer. 

Track Customer Preferences 

Restaurants can gain a lot of useful information for tailoring their marketing by allowing customers to create profiles on their website. For example, knowing your customers’ dietary restrictions can help you shape a more popular menu, and knowing what time of day is most popular for guests to visit can make scheduling employee shifts more cost-effective. Another impactful way to gain customer loyalty is asking for customers’ birthdays at the time of subscribing to communications, and then sending a personalized message and discount on their birthdays to demonstrate your appreciation for their business. Finally, securely storing payment preferences makes ordering online easier for guests and incentivizes repeat purchases. 

Partner with a Charitable Organization

Customers will care more about your brand if you share a mission. They’ll feel good dining at your restaurant, and continuing doing it. Not only are you making more sales, but you’re also doing good in the world. Giving back to your community doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming – for instance, with our program GiftAMeal, each time a guest takes a photo at your restaurant, we donate a meal to a local food bank near you. Find out more about GiftAMeal here.

Establish a Referral Program

Encouraging loyal customers to spread the word about your business to their friends in exchange for rewards not only increases their loyalty but also helps your restaurant acquire new customers at a lower cost. A study from the American Marketing Association found that using referrals yields customers that are more loyal, have higher lifetime values, and contribute higher margins per year compared to customers not achieved through referral marketing.  To best structure your restaurant’s referral program, give both your customer and their referral a discount on their next purchase when the referred makes their first purchase, or when the referred signs up for texts and/or email communications. It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved!

Launch a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are all about rewarding your repeat customers, and if implemented correctly, customer conversion rates and average spending will increase. Fast casual chain Panera Bread launched a unique subscription program that offered unlimited coffee for $8.99 a month. They signed up over 800,000 customers, effectively encouraging them to make more frequent trips to Panera Bread stores. Another popular type of loyalty program involves rewarding customers with points each time they make a purchase. For example, global beverage chain ShareTea rewards customers with one free drink for every ten drinks purchased. Whether it’s a subscription or points systems, loyalty programs are highly beneficial towards guaranteeing repeat customers.

Impact your community,
Impact your business

Book a no-obligation demo today and see how GiftAMeal can make your customers feel like heroes -- just for choosing your restaurant.

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