Restaurant Loyalty Program Tips

5 Tips for an Effective Restaurant Loyalty Program

Restaurant loyalty programs help businesses keep their customers coming back. There are many types, like earning points or getting a spot only for members. Having these options, including an app, makes everything easier for customers. Keep the program easy to understand. Make sure your team knows how to talk about it. And spread the word through social media to get more people involved.

Key Takeaways:

  • Customer loyalty is measured by a consumer’s willingness to do repeat business with your company or brand.
  • Loyalty programs are effective when they offer perks such as preferred seating, skipping the line, and tiered rewards.
  • Digital loyalty programs, accessible through mobile apps, are preferred by customers.
  • Simplifying loyalty programs and educating staff are crucial to their success.
  • Creating awareness among customers through social media and other marketing channels can drive enrollment and participation.

Putting a good loyalty program in place can really help your restaurant. It makes your customers happier and more likely to come back. If you get customer loyalty right, they’ll keep choosing your place.

Understanding Customer Loyalty and Its Benefits

Customer loyalty is key to a restaurant’s success. Loyal customers choose a specific brand often, even when there are other choices. They’re willing to pay more for what they like and give feedback to help improve. Loyal customers also try new items from the same place and stay faithful, even when there are issues. They even tell others about the brand. This makes them true brand advocates.

Having a loyalty program in place can work wonders for a restaurant. It can boost the number of repeat customers. When people feel connected to a place, they choose it over others. This leads to steady growth and income for the restaurant.

Loyal customers are very satisfied because they trust and know the brand well. They’re not easily lured by sales or other tactics. Their loyalty is strong because of the good and constant service they get. This satisfaction helps spread the good word, bringing in more customers and growing the base.

Rewards programs also show what customers like and want through their actions. By looking at what they do and what they like, restaurants can get to know them better. This allows for menu improvements and better marketing. In the end, it helps the business earn more money.

Take OpenTable’s Bonus Points, for instance. They encourage customers to come back by giving them Dining Rewards Points. This shows how well reward systems can build a loyal customer base.

Soon, loyalty programs will get even better with new technology. Think about programs that know what customers like before they do, or apps that keep track of rewards. These will make the customer experience even better and loyalty stronger.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a 5% boost in loyalty can greatly raise revenue for restaurants. This proves how much loyalty can change a business for the better.

Getting new customers is much harder and costlier than keeping the ones you already have. In fact, it can be 25 times more expensive. This shows why loyalty should be a restaurant’s top priority.

Restaurants often use points to keep customers loyal. A place like Epik Burger gives points for checking in, which customers can use for free drinks or milkshakes.

Epik Burger also has the “International Burger Connoisseur Club.” Customers get rewarded for trying all the burgers on the menu. This way, the restaurant promotes trying new things and offers a fun challenge and a sense of achievement.

Subscriptions, like Au Bon Pain’s Endless Coffee Mug, also work well. For a monthly fee, customers can drink all the coffee they want. This encourages them to stay and enjoy their favorite beverage without extra cost.

Special promotions at specific times can also drive sales. Dunkin’ offers its DD Perks members unique discounts during slow hours. This makes the customers feel special and encourages them to visit when it’s less busy.

Lastly, including online rewards in loyalty programs is vital today. People want to be rewarded, whether they buy in-store or online. Making this possible ensures all customers feel valued, no matter how they shop.

By making sure to understand and prioritize customer loyalty, restaurants can ensure continued success. A good loyalty program not only brings in repeat customers but also increases overall satisfaction and growth.

Point Systems

Restaurant Loyalty Program

Restaurants often use a point system as a loyalty program. This system is well-loved by customers. It offers a clear way to earn benefits, which makes people want to spend more. As customers collect points, they can get free or discounted items from the menu, making their visits more enjoyable.

Harvard Business Review notes that keeping customers coming back is cheaper than finding new ones. Just a small increase in customer loyalty can lead to big revenue jumps. A point system makes it easy to reward and encourage regulars. It gives customers a reason to come back by making each visit feel more valuable.

Earning points in a loyalty program is simple. Let’s take the loyalty program at Epik Burger as an example. They give customers points for different things. For instance, 75 points get you a free drink, 100 points get you a milkshake, and so on. This kind of system is easy to understand, making customers want to earn more points.

A point system can increase both sales and customer visits. By pointing out how close customers are to earning something for free, restaurants can persuade them to buy more. This approach fits well with the fact that most Americans like brands that feel personal to them.

Research shows that 41% of people shop more at places with loyalty programs. Being able to earn and spend points gives customers a feeling of being valued. It encourages them to choose the same place over and over.

Preferred Seating for Loyalty Members

Want to make customers feel extra special? Offer preferred seating for loyalty members. This treat makes valued guests feel exceptional. Plus, it attracts new ones to join the loyalty program.

Here’s how it works:

  • Patio Tables: For sunny days and nights under the stars.
  • Terrace Seating: High-up seating for a private, luxury feel.
  • Secluded Booths: Quiet, private spaces for cozy dining.

Treating loyal members to these spots enhances their visit. It’s more than great food and ambiance. It’s about elevating their experience, step by step.

Picture arriving and being seated at a prime spot; maybe a patio table with a view. Or a secret booth for two. These aren’t just any seats; they’re exclusive, making guests feel priceless.

Loyalty members love the special benefits, like top-tier seats. It’s not just about the view or privacy. It’s a personal touch that says, “We appreciate you.”

Preferred seating is a big deal. It keeps customers coming back for more. Want happy, loyal customers? This is one way to make it happen.

Restaurant Loyalty Program Benefits
Tin Shop Social Club $39.99 per month Preferred seating, VIP treatment, exclusive events
Anchor Bar App Perks program with points Preferred seating, redeemable rewards
Sabrina’s Cafe Points for every dollar spent Preferred seating, $10 off the next bill at 100 points
El Lopo Take-Care-of-Me Club with a monthly fee Preferred seating, VIP treatment
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse BJ’s Premier Rewards Plus Preferred seating, loyalty point redemption

Skipping the Line for Loyalty Members

Letting loyalty program members skip the line is simple but effective. It can bring people back to your business. This is very handy on busy days like Valentine’s or during popular hours. By helping members skip the wait, you give them a big convenience. You also show everyone else the good they’re missing, which can make them want to join.

Tiered Loyalty Programs with Increasing Rewards

Tiered loyalty programs are a smart way for restaurants to reward their customers. They base these rewards on how often customers order or how much they spend. This system encourages more orders and boosts loyalty.

These programs can make customers spend up to 20% more. Customers earn better rewards as they order more. This keeps them coming back for more.

Not just that, they also help keep customers around 25% more than other loyalty systems do. So, customers enjoy coming back to earn and use their rewards.

Research shows these programs can make each customer worth 15% more in the long run. That’s because the customers keep spending money over time.

The goal isn’t just rewarding current customers; it’s also about drawing in new ones. With clear, step-by-step rewards, new customers should feel they want to join in. This helps grow the restaurant’s fan base.

As customers move up the levels, they feel more valued. The gaining benefits make them feel special. This motivates their loyalty even more.

It’s important to have different rewards for each level. The top levels should have more perks. This keeps customers ‘aiming high’ in loyalty.

Choosing Between Spend-Based or Point-Based Tiers

Restaurants choose between spend- or point-based tier systems. Spend-based systems reward how much money you spend. Point-based ones reward the points you earn from buying.

The choice depends on what the restaurant wants to achieve. Spend-based systems encourage bigger purchases. Point-based ones can make customers come back more often.

For a program to work, the reward levels should be just right difficult to reach. This makes sure the rewards mean something to the customers. It stays fair for all.

Programs can come in different types, like free, freemium, or paid. Some might even have subscriptions for the best offers. The options are endless.

David Slavick points out how paid programs can be special. They offer unique items and a feeling of exclusivity. This extra value keeps customers happy.

Building a Sense of Community

Tiered loyalty programs can build a real sense of community. Special events or contests just for members can do this. It makes the program not just about rewards but about belonging.

So, using a tiered loyalty program is great for restaurants. It can increase engagement, loyalty, and how much customers spend. It works by offering special rewards based on how much customers buy. Plus, it builds a community of dedicated food lovers.

Secret Menus as Exclusive Rewards

A secret menu just for those with lots of loyalty points can make customers feel special. It changes now and then, so they stay interested. This way, they keep coming back to earn more points.

Secret menus are now found in many places like restaurants and fast-food spots. They let certain customers see and order things others can’t. This adds a cool factor and makes these customers feel like part of a special group.

Now, here are some top brands that have made great secret menus:

Restaurant Secret Menu Offering
Burger King Royal Perks members have early access to the Big King XL
Chipotle Introduced Guac Mode as an exclusive offer for members
Papa John’s Rewards members with early access to new products
Dunkin’ Provides DD Perks members with early access to limited-edition merchandise drops

These examples show how secret menus can be a big win for restaurants. They keep customers excited and engaged by offering special new items. This can get people talking and more interested in what the restaurant offers.

One cool thing about secret menus is they let cooks and bartenders try new things. These items show off their skills without making big, permanent menu changes. And it’s a chance to play with tasty, seasonal foods.

Having a secret menu can really boost a restaurant’s success. It gives a special reason for customers to keep coming back. This can really build loyalty and keep the best customers happy.

If you want your loyalty program to stand out, think about adding a secret menu. It can bring excitement and special rewards to your most loyal customers. This can make their time at your restaurant even more memorable.

Next, we’ll see how a restaurant loyalty app can make things even better for customers.

Going Digital with a Restaurant Loyalty App

In today’s world, many customers like having a mobile app for loyalty. A simple digital loyalty program with a mobile app can meet their needs. It also brings great benefits to both the eateries and their clients.

A mobile app makes it easy for customers to use the loyalty program. They can easily check their points, use rewards, and see the latest deals. Everything they need is just a few taps away.

Restaurants can collect useful information when they go digital. They learn about what their customers like to eat, how often they visit, and more. This info lets them offer a personalized service that their customers truly appreciate.

This move to a digital platform also makes things smoother for restaurant workers. They can conveniently keep track of customer activity and see what promotions work best. This helps them make smart decisions to make the loyalty program even better.

Why Choose a Mobile App for Your Loyalty Program?

Recent studies show that 60% of current users like using smartphone apps for loyalty programs. Only 18% still prefer physical cards, while 22% have no preference.

When looking at new members, 33% like using apps, showing a digital trend. But, 39% still prefer cards. So, it’s important to offer both options.

81% of consumers of all ages would join a loyalty program if their favorite restaurant offered one. Going digital with a mobile app allows restaurants to attract more customers. It also makes the loyalty experience better for everyone.

Investment in Loyalty Programs and Rewards Systems

The business world is waking up to the importance of digital loyalty programs. Many plan to invest more in them. In fact, 61% of limited-service operators and 52% of full-service operators want to increase their loyalty program investments by 2024. This shows a big push for the digital future.

Loyalty Programs: A Win-Win Situation

A digital loyalty program with a mobile app gives advantages to both customers and restaurants. Customers get easy access and personal service. Eateries get to know their customers better and enjoy more business from loyal customers.

Numbers back up the power of loyalty programs. Active members make 90% more frequent purchases and spend 60% more each time. Also, over two-thirds of customers worldwide are more loyal to brands with these programs.

The bottom line is clear. A digital loyalty program with a mobile app can boost customer happiness, loyalty, and repeat business. So why wait? Start now, and see your restaurant succeed in the digital age.

Loyalty Program Statistics
96% of loyalty and reward program customers find them a good way to earn more “bang for their buck.”
52% of customers already participate in loyalty programs at restaurants, coffee shops, snack places, or delis.
Customers on average sign up for 3.6 restaurant loyalty programs.
81% of consumers across all age groups would participate in a loyalty program if offered at their favorite restaurant.
60% of current users prefer using smartphone apps to access loyalty programs, while 18% prefer cards, and 22% have no preference.
Among prospective members, 39% prefer using cards, 33% prefer smartphone apps, and 28% have no preference.
61% of limited-service operators and 52% of full-service operators plan to invest more in loyalty programs and rewards systems in 2024.


An effective restaurant loyalty program can act as a game-changer. It focuses on keeping customers happy and coming back. With the right program, places like Panera Bread saw a 115% sales jump in 9 years. Plus, over half of the people in a survey use these programs already.

What works best are easy-to-get rewards like free food and discounts. Making these rewards fit each customer, along with easy use on a phone app, really seals the deal. This approach helps build strong, lasting connections with customers.

By just keeping 5% more customers, a restaurant can make up to 95% more money. Loyalty programs draw folks back and get them to spend more. Plus, the data these programs gather can help restaurants better predict what people want and need.

Loyalty programs are gold for restaurants wanting to stand out. They offer a win-win: customers get rewards they love, and restaurants keep people coming back. It’s vital to keep improving these programs to match customer wishes. This way, restaurants lay a solid groundwork for the future.


What is a restaurant loyalty program?

A restaurant loyalty program aims to keep customers coming back. It rewards them with perks like points, preferred seating, and special access. Members get benefits that make them feel valued.

Why is customer loyalty important for a restaurant?

Loyal customers stick with a restaurant even when things get tough. They choose it over others, pay more for familiar items, and bring in new customers. Their feedback and support are invaluable to the business’s success.

What is a point system in a loyalty program?

In a point system, customers earn rewards for their spending. They collect points and trade them in for free items or discounts. For example, they might get a free dessert after earning a certain number of points.

How does preferred seating benefit loyalty program members?

Preferred seating gives members a special VIP treatment. They get to sit in cool spots like private booths or outdoor areas. This makes them feel important and keeps them coming back for more.

Why is skipping the line a valuable perk for loyalty program members?

Skipping the line is a great perk because it saves time and makes life easier. Members don’t have to wait in long lines but can go straight to their table. It also shows others how cool the loyalty program is, making them want to join.

What are tiered loyalty programs?

Tiered loyalty programs reward customers based on how much they spend or how often they visit. They can reach different levels and earn better rewards. This encourages them to spend more, increasing their loyalty.

How do secret menus work in a loyalty program?

Secret menus are a special treat for loyal customers. They can access unique menu items by reaching a certain loyalty level. This keeps them interested and motivated to earn more points. It also attracts new customers who want a taste of these exclusive items.

Why should restaurants go digital with a loyalty app?

Using a loyalty app makes it easier for both customers and the restaurant. Customers can track rewards and get personalized offers. The restaurant can collect data to improve its services and keep customers happy.

What are the benefits of implementing a restaurant loyalty program?

A loyalty program can boost sales and keep customers satisfied. It encourages people to return, and they often bring friends. The program also helps the restaurant know its customers better, allowing for tailor-made experiences.