Customer loyalty is a crucial driver of business growth. In one study, over 65 percent of all the revenue into a business are courtesy of repeat customers.
That’s not all.
Businesses that ignore building solid relationships with their customers suffer in the long run. It costs at least five times to get a new customer than to keep the one you already have.
Also, more customers are willing to share the good news if they like your service. And one sure-fire way to keep them interested is via loyalty programs. Statistically, 73 percent of loyalty program users refer their friends if they like the program.
If you are serious about remaining competitive in your niche, then you don't want to ignore this strategy.
This article features top restaurant rewards programs that'll help inspire yours!
Top 5: Restaurant Reward Programs Review
Product Image & Rating (Out Of 10)
Chick Fil A remains one of the top restaurant and food businesses across the country and for a good reason too.
They serve fantastic chicken burgers, amongst other things. But that’s not the only reason why they are hugely successful.
The company is a firm believer in retaining customer loyalty and patronage that they one of the most successful loyalty programs in the industry.
With their program, every member gets 10 points for every dollar spent. Better yet if you are a gold or silver member as you can earn as high as 12 or 11 points respectively.
You can redeem those points for free meals. But you could also luck out and win grander prices like backstage tour tickets to your favorite band’s tour.
The winning stroke for the Chick-Fil-A program is its simplicity. The program spells out its rules clearly, and you can tell exactly how many points you get for your loyalty. The extra rewards also spark excitement as literally, anyone could win these grand prizes.
All these prizes and rewards keep their customers returning to the brand. These buyers then form a massive community of loyal brand heralds that convert new visitors.
Chipotle is another relevant example of a superb loyalty program. The brand’s strategy focuses on personalization and generous rewards.
The restaurant chain, like many others, focuses on digitizing their reward programs. They offer a mobile application for customers to sign up and order their offers.
For each dollar spent you get 10 points from the app. Even if you order in person, you can redeem your points using the app.
They run bonus point days where you can earn 1.5 times the usual point allotted. You also get 100 points every time you try a new offering.
Their app also features gamification to let you win bonuses and points for completing tasks and challenges. In the end, you get to redeem all these points for free Chipotle meals.
P.F. Chang’s are a top player in the restaurant niche. With outlets across the country, they’ve been able to etch a name for themselves in this competitive space.
The brand offers special treats from ancient secret family recipes to your vast customer base, but they also offer more.
The business runs a robust loyalty program that is both as personalized as it is generous.
They give you 10 points for every dollar you spend on their business. Once you hit 2000 points, you get any culinary delight that you crave for free.
The company also prioritizes their relationship with customers and sends free appetizers to you during your birth month.
There are also tons of surprise prizes and bonuses included in their reward system. It’s no wonder they have some of the most ardently loyal customers.
Another superb example of a robust loyalty program strategy is BJ Brewhouse. Unlike others on this list, the business is a full-fledged restaurant serving up everything from beer to Pizookies.
They offer a long list of loyalty benefits it’s impossible not to go for a second visit.
First off, they provide an excellent mobile application for you to download as a new customer. Upon successful registration, you immediately qualify for a Pizookie.
They also give you one point for every dollar you spend. And after you rack up 100 points you can claim any $10 treat you fancy; free of charge.
You also get access to their special app-only offers. Did we also mention that they offer a 50 percent discount on every large deep dish or pizza every Mondays?
It’s easy to understand why they have such a considerable volume of loyal customers. Their loyalty program is nothing short of impressive.
However, the business hasn't made excellent inroads in the personalization of their app experience. They offer superb discounts for users but stop there. Available feedback shows that they do very little to understand their customer’s preferences and adapting their offers accordingly.
It’s impossible to reel out a list of excellent loyalty programs without mentioning Starbucks rewards.
The business took the strategy of loyalty programs and perfected their offering to make each customer feel unique and truly special. The perfection of the personalization lets the app even preempt the user's choices with pin-point accuracy too.
Their system depends heavily on their full-featured mobile app. The app is a Swiss army knife for all of Starbucks services. It allows the customers to order their coffees, track their spending, claim timed offers, and also rate Starbucks services.
Their recent updates offer a game styled approach to winning points and loyalty bonuses.
In return, Starbucks has been able to personalize and improve their relationship with their customers to a remarkable extent. Their revenues have also spiked as they process over a billion dollars using the mobile app only.
The Starbucks loyalty program is a work under construction all the time. They create new features and test them first before release. They also listen to their customers' feedback and use these insights to create better offerings.
Using these techniques, they've significantly increased their conversion rates and introduced more new successful offers in the process.
This program is among the best. But it can also be complicated and overwhelming to new users. It has lots of active rewards, and each has specific rules.
Albeit, this Starbucks reward structure hasn't performed poorly. The brand has lots of loyalists on its system.
Many restaurants and food businesses sport impressive loyalty programs. But there is an exclusive group that goes the whole way to give their customers a fulfilling experience. Here’s our favorite among them.
Not much of a surprise as all their moves in the loyalty rewards space have been short of legendary.
Their innovative mobile application is superior to anything available on the market today. With this app, all customers have direct access to the core of the brand. It is akin to their own space in the entire Starbucks enterprise even. The customizations and personalizations possible make each user's app experience utterly different from the next.
Also, with the new ability to transfer your points to our credit cards for spending, they took the bar up another notch. Even better, these points never expire.
It is no wonder they've been able to manage over a billion dollars worth of liquid funds across their cards and mobile applications as of 2016.
The Starbucks loyalty program is now a template for all brands, no matter the size.
Must-Have Features of Restaurant Reward Programs
If you're looking to joining a restaurant's rewards program, what should you be looking for in them? And if you're looking to build one for your restaurant, what should it be like?
Well, look no further. Below, I've outlined the critical elements to consider in your ideal restaurant rewards program.
The backbone of every successful loyalty program is the simplicity of the rules around it. If you intend to design a winning strategy, make it easy to understand.
Keep all your offerings one layer deep. In practice, your rewards program should be, at most, one dependency for them to win rewards. For instance, Customer A needs to do B (and only B) to earn so-and-so rewards.
Avoid placing difficult obstacles and hard to win offers for your customers. Many of them don’t appreciate having to go through mental twists and turns to figure out how your point system works.
Secrecy does not help in the loyalty program business. You must make your program details and process as publicly available as you can manage.
Go live on social media and publicize it. Create banners and flyers and offer them to customers and passers-by.
The goal is to get as many people in on the program as you can manage. Always remember, the more people you can get in on the program, the higher your returns.
Offer Rewards That are Within Your Means
Let’s face it. You may not have the financial muscle of Domino’s or Starbucks, and that’s fine too.
These big companies can get away with offering a lot to their customers as they have a huge revenue stream to fund these giveaways.
You can’t afford to compete in that manner so you should be reasonable about how much you are willing to offer your customers.
They’ll appreciate the freebies no matter how little as long as you maintain a healthy relationship in the process.
Digitization is Key
Don’t sleep on the digital revolution. A long time ago, the winning idea was printing flyers and mounting billboards to create awareness.
Today we have social media.
Invest in creating a solid social media strategy and brand presence. This way, you have a cost-effective way of sending out new offers to the public.
Reach out to influencers and famous people in your region to help promote your brand and create awareness of your loyalty program.
Customer Feedback Matters
The end goal of every loyalty program is to keep the customer happy. No matter how much you are giving out, if it doesn’t meet their expectations, they’ll leave.
Have a simple survey or short question sheets for them to fill and give you feedback. Not only will they feel valued, but they’ll also respect your brand more for trying to improve their experience.
This effort has its upsides as your customers will soon begin to feel like part of your brand even.
You also want to encourage reviews from your best customers. As much as 61 percent of customers read reviews before a purchase. So getting customers to share their experiences increases your chance of winning more customers.
Each customer is different. To improve the chances of your loyalty program’s success, you need to tap into these tiny differences to maximize their experience.
In this case, a robust mobile app is a recommended option. The app can aggregate customer data and preferences in one place. You can employ modern tools to study and draw insights from these data to improve your loyalty program and their experience too.
Loyalty programs are all the rave today for one reason – they work and very well too. The examples we have listed above are some of the best loyalty program strategies in use today.
You don't need to have the budget of Starbucks to craft your rock-solid program. All you need is to study your customers and offer a thoughtful loyalty reward system to keep them coming back.
You can also tweak one or more of the strategies above and adapt them to your business’s peculiar niche.