Attracting new customers to your restaurant is probably where you put your key emphasis when you think of marketing. Expand your brand, increase your customer base and grow your business!
But how much effort are you putting in to retaining and rewarding your existing customers? These are the people who already love your brand, they’ve come in before and there’s a good chance they’ll want to come back. A lot of restaurants only use the tired, tried and tested methods of rewarding loyal customers. Maybe you do a ‘2 Meals for £10’ night or have a loyalty card that gets them £1 off a round of drinks on a Friday. It is rewarding them, but every pub, bar and restaurant is doing that.
What are you doing to stand out? What are you doing to make sure they come to you rather than any other restaurant or pub with a similar deal?
Encouraging your customers to return
It is obvious that in your restaurant you dedicate yourself to satisfying your customers with perfect service, a great menu and great food to give your customers the best experience when they visit you. Those are the basics, it’s what you know and do well. It’s your job, but it’s not unique.
Unfortunately every single one of your competitors is trying to do the same. Having the best food and friendliest staff is great, but it’s often not enough, and in reality, it’s often not quite possible. Therefore many restaurants develop loyalty programmes. I recently read a study from Deloitte on Restaurant Customer Loyalty, which points out interesting insights about the use of loyalty programmes for restaurants
Interesting Stats on Loyalty Programmes
Loyalty programmes effectiveness:
- 71% of the core customers who belong to at least one restaurant loyalty card will join the loyalty programme of his/her most frequented restaurant and then use it more than any other loyalty programme
Why people don’t join loyalty programmes
- 43% stated that the restaurants they visit do not offer loyalty programmes
- 48% said that they have no information about the loyalty programmes in the restaurants they visit.
- 26% of those who belong to at least one loyalty programme say that their most-frequented restaurant doesn’t even offer loyalty programmes.
What comes out of this study is that involving customers in to a loyalty programme is a great way to turn them in to brand ambassadors and to develop a personal relationship with your brand. The good news is that customers don’t reject restaurant loyalty cards but too many restaurants do not offer such programmes, or don’t communicate and promote it enough.
How many of us have been handed a loyalty card at a bar, stuffed it in a wallet and never looked at it again? What can really set a restaurant apart is a Loyalty Scheme that is more interactive than simply £1 off your next drink on a Friday. Is that really enough to have people convince their friends to come for a meal?
Which Loyalty programme for your restaurant?
Loyalty programmes via Text Messaging
In 2015 almost everyone has a smartphone with them but they’re under utilised in so many sectors. Alright your restaurant or bar probably isn’t big enough to have it’s own App, and if it is, does it really need it? The smart way forward is Text Marketing. No card to lose in their wallet, they don’t even need to be in your restaurant to be feeling the benefit. Your most popular dish is on discount? Text them! Their favourite wine is ‘2 for 3’ so let them know now! Texts cost on average 4-5p to send and you can even attach whole menus and multimedia messages to them.
Text messaging campaigns are an innovative and cost efficient way to keep in touch with your customers.
- 45% of UK customers are willing to receive branded communications via Mobile
- 97% of text messages are opened and read within 5 seconds after being received!
By reaching your customers directly on their phone, you make sure your message will be read. Once you’ve got your customers to opt-in to your SMS list, you can send individuals or groups of customers fully branded mobile pages that contain unique voucher codes and loyalty cards for repeat use, eliminating old-fashioned paper methods.
Have a look at our article on how to increase restaurant bookings with SMS marketing for more ideas on how to use text messaging to grow your business.
For more insights on how you can use text marketing for your restaurant, you can access our library and download a case study from Shelly’s Restaurant, a happy Textlocal customer, and our Free Business Mobile Marketing Guides
Or if you just want to get started, get a 3 months Free Trial with our Corporate Package!