| | Print
Happy Couple In A Coffee Shop Using Digital Tablet

The success of a restaurant customer loyalty program is largely based on the restaurant’s ability to sign up their guests. Once you design the program and have a meaningful number of guests are enrolled, a well-executed loyalty program is a powerful tool for increasing guest frequency and average spend, both of which lead to increased revenue.

One of the best places to sign up guests into your loyalty program is at the restaurant POS. At this point, your guests they are actively engaged with your brand and focused your restaurant customer service (they’re paying, after all).

First, you have to convince customers to sign up for your restaurant loyalty program. Here’s how:

1. Make it easy to sign up

Focus on acquiring the most basic information required to on-board a guest into your rewards program. The faster and easier it is for the customer, the more likely they are to sign up. Instead of asking for a lot of details (e.g. name, home address, birthday, etc.) simply ask the customer for their email address.

Chances are you will be able to capture additional information about the guests once they’re signed up. For example, offering bonus points for completing registration is an effective way to get more details.  Mobile technologies like SMS text messaging can be used to make signup as easy as ‘texting’ an email address to a phone number. Reduce complexity in the signup process as much as possible in order to maximize enrollment.

2. Place restaurant marketing collateral strategically

Focus marketing efforts where guests have the highest likelihood of reading the material and taking action.

For restaurants, the check presenter is a great place to include information on your restaurant loyalty program. The customer has just finished a great dining experience and their attention is focused on your brand. The time between the first check drop and when server picks up the credit card is an ideal time to promote your loyalty program – especially if the server mentions the program when they drop the check.a server in a restaurant helping many guests on a long table

3. Train restaurant staff

Staff is your most valuable marketing asset. They are the ones interfacing with the guests and it’s imperative that they are up-to-speed on all the customer loyalty program details, the value of loyalty to your business and answers to frequently asked questions that customers might have.

Want to read more about improving your restaurant service? Click here.

4.  Reward staff on signups

Let’s face it, most employees are highly motivated by money. Friendly competition between employees also goes a long way in focusing staff on signing up guests.

Offer a prize to the staff member who signs up the most guests in any given month. Include a staff leader-board in the back office area to keep the contest front-of-mind. A $50 gift card or nice bottle of wine is a small price to pay to have the entire staff focused on building a lasting relationship with your guests.

5.  Give an incentive to the customer for signing up

If your guests see an immediate benefit to enrolling in your rewards program, they will be more likely to sign up. Offer a coupon towards their next visit if they sign up, points on their current visit, or a free dessert to create an additional reason and sense of urgency for signing up.


So you have customers in your loyalty program- here is how to keep them happy.

6. Create A Point-Based System

Many successful restaurant rewards programs give customers one point for every one dollar they spend. For example, BJ’s restaurant loyalty program follows this model, and customers are given ten dollars off once they spend 100 dollars using their card.

This type of points program works best for families and group-friendly restaurants because the customer knows they’ll likely spend $100 at the store. Alternatively, sandwich counters, ice cream shops, and other small-scale eateries might opt for a slightly different model that has a lower purchase requirement to receive a reward.

Netker Juice Bar Loyalty Program

7. Use Restaurant Loyalty Program Software

If you’re still using punch cards at your restaurant, you might consider digitizing your restaurant customer loyalty program. For example, leading restaurant POS systems have the ability to track your customers inherently, providing you with insights on their past visit history and purchasing behavior.

Armed with this information, you can provide a superior dining experience that anticipates the needs and desires of your most loyal customers, no loyalty card needed. A restaurant loyalty program app can also help you access this information from anywhere, making it easier to support customer needs if an issue or problem arises.

8. Track Restaurant Loyalty Program ROI

If you’re not tracking the ROI of your restaurant loyalty program, it’s a good idea to start. Return customers are one of your greatest assets, and understanding their behavior can lend insight into how you can reform and improve the program. Many restaurant loyalty program providers are equipped with statistics and tracking to help you correlate loyal customers with ROI.

You can also look at restaurant loyalty program statistics to glean insight on your most loyal customers’ behavior. For example, you might try to understand what time of day they come to the store, or what menu items they’re buying most often.

When you’re seeking to create a loyalty program in a restaurant, remember to be honest and forthcoming about what you can offer your clientele. This will make them feel valued while encouraging them to dine with you more often.

Written by   |  
As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.
Restaurant Insider