Best Practice Guide – Restaurant Customer Loyalty Program

Thinking about creating a customer loyalty program for your restaurant? But not sure where to start?

What Is A Loyalty Program & What’s the Purpose?

You may be asking yourself this question, nowadays with the rise of customer loyalty programs. From large department stores to restaurants to hotels and so on, it seems like many businesses are working on a loyalty program.

So, a customer loyalty program is a strategy used to attract and retain customers. Thus, allowing companies to build and foster deeper relationships with their customers, while customers earn points as they shop with the company.

A company which invests in creating a customer loyalty program can gain benefits from long-term loyal customers, which will increase profits. As for customers, they benefit by receiving special rewards, such as free samples, early access to new products, or special sales/offers.

Sticking out from your competitors is challenging in almost any industry, but especially challenging in the restaurant industry. There are thousands and thousands of restaurants in the U.S. alone, being able to stand out can be the difference between your restaurant succeeding or not.

Over the past years, restaurant owners and marketers have tried various ways to stand out to retain their loyal customers and attract new ones. Well SailPlay has found a solution for you and it’s called Customer Loyalty Program.

A good customer loyalty program will help you stand out from your competitors and create a more rewarding experience for your customers. And the truth of the matter is, your customers want a loyalty program.

According to the Oracle, 65% of US consumers are already part of a restaurant customer loyalty program. And customers are looking for 2 simple things in your loyalty program.

  1. Make the program and the benefits easy to understand.
  2. The rewards should be relevant and easy to redeem.

Check out our 7-step guide designed to help build your ideal restaurant customer loyalty program.

Step 1 – Who Are You Targeting? – Like starting a business, your customer loyalty program needs a focus. Decide who your program is being designed. Are you targeting to attract families, young couples or an older crowd? Defining your target customer base will help you tailor your message and rewards.

Step 2 – What’s Your Value Proposition? – So you have your target customers. Now you need to give them a reason why they should sign up. Remember, customers want a program that is easy to understand.

Make sure your value proposition is aligned with your overall company value proposition and is tailored to your loyalty program target audience.

Step 3 – How Are Points Earned? – Now onto step 3, how are your loyalty customers going to earn points? Deciding how your customers earn points is important to keeping customers engaged. Plus the easier it is to earn points, the more likely customers are to continue participating and refer friends to the program.

The table below shows a list of possible examples of how guests can earn points at your restaurant.

Actions Earn Points
Order of $100 or more 20 Points
Order of $50 to $100 10 Points
Every $5 Spent 1 Point
Loyalty Program Registration 20 Points
Like Restaurant Facebook Page 10 Points
Share Restaurant on Facebook 10 Points
Share Restaurant on Twitter 10 Points
Review on Facebook 10 Points
Review on Yelp 10 Points
Review on Restaurant Website 10 Points
Refer-a-Friend 20 Points
Newsletter Subscription 5 Points

Step 4 – What Are Your Benefits? – It’s time to decide what your customer rewards will be. How will customers redeem their points for rewards? Rewards are an important way to show your customers that their business is valuable to you.

A 2016 study by Software Advice showed 59% of millennials quit restaurant loyalty programs because the rewards were not valuable enough. So be sure that you pick rewards that are valuable, relevant and easy to redeem, otherwise your loyalty program may fail. For example, if a group of loyalty customers have expressed interest in discounts on their purchases, create a reward offering 10% discount in exchange for 50 points. This gift shows you understand their needs and makes their experience with the loyalty program positive.

For a list of potential gifts and the number of points they are, please see the table below.

Gifts Gift Value – Points
Free Order – Between $50 to $100 200 Points
Free Order – Between 0 to $50 100 Points
Gift Card – $50 Value 100 Points
Free Desert – Up to $10 50 Points
Free Appetizer – Up to $10 50 Points
Free Beverage 25 Points
Line Cut 50 Points
Birthday – Free Entree (Value up to $30) 0 Points
Exclusive New Menu Item Tasting 0 Points

Remember, you set what gifts to provide and how many points each gift is worth. Just remember, provide gifts that are valuable to your customers.

Step 5 – What Is Gamification? – Alright, you must be thinking what’s left to do other than choosing a customer loyalty software and building out your program, well certain loyalty platforms, such as SailPlay, can create a more engaging experience through gamification. With gamification you can create incentives and increase engagement, through tactics traditionally found in video games, to reward your guests with badges for various actions or create competitions. For example, if your customer visits your restaurant 5 times, they earn a badge as a Silver Status member. Their incentive to reach the new status could be earning double the points as a standard member.

Remember 65% of US consumers are already part of a loyalty program. If you want to have your loyalty program stand out, gamification can be a game-changer for you.

Step 6 – How to Pick The Right Loyalty Solution For You? – Now it’s time to choose which company will help you build your ideal customer loyalty program.

Choosing a customer loyalty software companies can seem overwhelming with all the different options in market. While there are many options, remember you want a software that seamlessly integrates with all your customers’ touch-points, such as your website, in-store and mobile app. Customers are expecting an omni-channel experience whenever they are interacting with you. SailPlay provides an omni-channel customer loyalty software that seamlessly integrates with your touchpoints. In addition with SailPlay, you can customize your program, plus manage your guests, their activities, points and rewards from just one platform. And also you can easily create automated, customized marketing campaigns to keep connected with guests and them stay engaged.

Step 7 – How To Mark Your Customer Loyalty Program? – Now it’s time to notify your current customers about your new loyalty program. Email, text, call, advertise, or do whatever it takes to let your customers and new customers know what your program is all about.

When you are alerting your customers about your new loyalty program, be sure to create a splash page (landing page) for your loyalty program. The splash page should entice guests to sign up. We recommend including the following information:

  • Purpose Of The Loyalty Program
  • Sign-Up Instructions
  • How Bonus Points Are Earned
  • What Rewards Are Available
  • How To Redeem Rewards
  • How To Earn Badges

The easier you illustrate the key aspects of your loyalty program to your customers and new customers the more successful your program will be. And remember, this guide is a secret, but your program isn’t.

Alright enough reading now. Your guests are waiting for you to make a kick-butt loyalty program. Go out and get your loyalty program created! And remember if you have any more questions on customer loyalty programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can be contacted at 800-277-2342 or

P.S. Never forget that this is a customer loyalty program, so personalize the program for them.

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