Putting your restaurant loyalty program to the test

As loyalty programs are becoming more complex within the restaurant industry, it’s important to take time to review your program to ensure it continues to meet the wants and needs of your diners. Schedule time to evaluate your program and test. Ask yourself:

  • What can we do to reduce friction to purchase? With the continued growing number of places and options to purchase food, it’s important for restaurant marketers to minimize friction with their dining experience. It’s easy for consumers to get food at grocery stores or gas stations and order on the go with mobile and so on. For example, if you have a kiosk ordering system in your restaurant, make sure it’s easy to use, allows for customization of orders, and have a service associate available to help answer questions to expedite orders.


  • How can we improve our loyalty program engagement after acquisition? Once you have an engaged customer, it’s important to sustain that engagement. Incorporate social media and use digital media to enhance engagement online. Surprise and delight tactics like gamification, and VIP options can create additional stickiness to your loyalty program. Make sure to include the right mix of points, promotion and experiential offers. And don’t forget to continuously test to make sure your program is optimized to fulfill on your needs.


  • When do we move toward 1:1 personalization? It’s important to personalize during the first day 90 days of your relationship with a customer. And as you continue to develop your communication plan, incorporate overlay data, develop an omnichannel experience, implement machine learning strategies for optimization and activate these insights to market in the moments that matter most.


  • When and why do we need localization? Evaluating your program to determine how you can best localize your program initiatives is essential. For example, franchises should focus on the local level. Having a platform that can manage offers, emails and push at the local level is important.


  • What can you do to ensure your brand story and experience stands out? Your brand reflects who you are. And, your loyalty strategy is a significant component of your brand. Take time to evaluate your brand and how your customers are moving through the lifecycle to achieve loyalty and the offers you are presenting them with. Ask yourself, does it portray your brand image?

Continuously testing your program will help you achieve personalization and a 1:1 connection. And remember, having a 1:1 strategy is not successful if you’re only applying it to only 10% of your audience – it needs to be closer to 40 to 50%.

This article originally appeared on Loyalty360 on April 2, 2018.