How To Set Up A Loyalty Program For Your Restaurant: 8 Tips For Success

Did you know there is an easy way to retain your current customers and attract new ones.


In today’s fiercely competitive landscape, learning how to set up a loyalty program for your restaurant will help you increase your customer retention and drive brand loyalty. Just as airlines reward frequent flyers with miles and perks, restaurants can turn one-time visitors into devoted regulars with creative incentives. So, in this article, you’ll discover how to craft enticing rewards and create a dining experience with a point of sale system that enhances every aspect of their journey with you.

8 Tips For Success

1. Define Your Goals

What do you want to achieve by creating a restaurant loyalty program? Are you aiming to increase customer retention, boost average spending, or attract new customers? Defining clear goals will guide your program’s design and keep you on track to succeed.

2. Know Your Audience

In alignment with your goals, you’ll need to know your audience inside and out. What motivates them? What are their pain points? Additionally, what is their current level of satisfaction or needs? You can determine this information by creating a survey and receiving their feedback upon check-out or through data received by your restaurant point of sale system. When you understand your audience psychologically, you’ll have a stronger foundation to build a program designed for their needs.

3. Determine the Budget

Managing a restaurant within an allotted budget involves many moving steps. But beyond immediate expenses like marketing, social media, supplies, and staff wages, reflect upon your available budget to customize the program to your goals and ensure it’s operating within your financial means. By doing so, you’ll create a program that satisfies your customers without causing additional stress.

4. Choose the Program

What kind of loyalty program do you envision for your restaurant? Perhaps you want to build a point-based system where customers earn points for each purchase. Or maybe you want a simple approach like a punch card that allows your customers to accumulate stamps for each visit. Think about the type of program you want to offer based on your customer’s feedback and needs, including your goals.

5. Select the Rewards

Now that you have the type of program, it’s time to fine-tune the details. What rewards will your customers receive? You can offer discounts like 50% off on birthday meals, early bird specials, happy hour deals, wine club benefits, or exclusive access to holiday-themed events like a New Years Eve holiday party and menu. For a boost of inspiration, Red Robins offers a birthday burger reward and the 10th item free just for joining.

6. Specify the Rules

Next, establish clear rules for earning and redeeming rewards. For instance, you can apply the scarcity principle to increase demand, like Chili’s, which offers a free entree after 1,250 points within a 60-day window. This principle gently pressures their customers to keep racking up points and continuing the cycle.

7. Promote Your Program

After all of your effort in designing your program, you’ll want to make sure your customers actually know about it. Beyond marketing it on your website and social media platforms, one of the best ways to spread the word is to offer a FREE incentive. For example, train your staff to promote the program upon check-out and sweeten the deal by offering a free cocktail or coffee for signing up. You can also partner with another business like the Dunkin Donuts and Shell relationship that provides 10 cents off per gallon after five drink purchases. Or you can take advantage of one of our favorite techniques, the pos solution, and use existing customer data to market your offer and discover how to take your restaurant to the next level. By organizing and safeguarding their data, you can customize the incentives based on their needs and email or text them to promote the program. A good offer will be hard to resist, especially if they already like your product.

8. Monitor and Analyze

Nothing is ever perfect or a success after the first round. Therefore, observe your program’s performance by tracking customer engagement, reward redemption, and asking for feedback. You can even complete another survey to gather more data about their level of satisfaction and what you could do differently to make your program worth the hype.

Ready To Set Up Your Restaurant Loyalty Program?

Remember, the restaurant and food service industry is evolving quickly. It’s important to stay on top of the trends to compete with the fast-growing chains and specialty restaurants winning their customers’ interests. By learning how to set up a loyalty program for your restaurant and creating a point-of-sale system that delivers better customer service and allows you to streamline orders, advertise your program, speed up transactions, reduce errors, and offer versatile payment options, your customers will remain loyal. However, if you feel overwhelmed by the steps and details, book a demonstration to protect your business’s long-term sustainability with our POS system solutions.