Restaurants, retailers and airlines have been using loyalty programs to drive revenue for nearly three centuries. From their humble, though ingenious, beginnings as copper tokens and stamps, through the era of credit card clubs, to today’s mobile apps, loyalty programs have become indispensable marketing tools.
In the world where consumers are bombarded by options, competition is fiercer than ever. 3rd party delivery apps, ghost kitchens and privately owned franchises are all fighting for the same market share.
In response, we’re now seeing yet another evolution into modernized and technically savvy loyalty programs as an attempt to gain new customers and hold on to existing ones.
Benefits of Restaurant Loyalty Programs
The goal of restaurant loyalty programs is to incentivize customers to purchase from the establishment regularly. A free 10th cup of coffee achieves this but there is so much more that can be done to make customers want to come back time after time.
A key benefit of loyalty programs is obtaining customers’ contact details with their consent to receive marketing.
Since patrons identify themselves for every purchase, the restaurant learns about each customer’s preferences, and can analyze broader demographic buying trends. This data can ultimately go towards refining and updating the offering and how it is marketed.
One of the most famous restaurant loyalty programs is Starbucks Rewards. They have roughly 14.2 million members, all driven through their mobile app. Regularly recurring personalized deals, seamless ordering, and cardless payment all help bring diners back to Starbucks again and again.
Loyalty Programs and Restaurants
Loyal patrons are the most valuable type. With great loyalty programs, restaurants turn casual diners into return customers and brand advocates who promote the restaurant themselves.
In business terms, a good program will increase targeted retention, driving more revenue and decreasing acquisition costs. And thanks to referrals and reviews—aka free but priceless marketing—restaurants can reduce the acquisition costs of new customers.
One example is Chick-Fil-A’s rewards program (Signature Tier) that allows members to utilize their points by giving gifts to friends and family.
Running special promotions for members, like 1+1 deals and happy hours, or sending out Mother’s Day and birthday treats are all examples of what can be done with a basic loyalty program.
Key Features of Great Loyalty Programs
Having a great digital mobile app is the core feature for a successful loyalty program nowadays. Stamps, punch cards or keychain-cards are static and weigh down customers. They also have to be dragged along to the restaurant, and if forgotten – become useless. But no one forgets their mobile phone.
Good brand loyalty apps make it easy for members to understand their earnings and review their purchases. They can find the nearest restaurant on a map, as well as quickly order and pay through the app.
Great loyalty apps allow restaurant operators to push promos and market specials. They can gamify competitions and incentivize social media shares. What’s more, advertising deals about non-core products, like restaurant merchandise and swag, boost alternative revenue streams.
In 2017, for example, Starbucks collected 30% of their revenue via mobile payments on their Starbucks Rewards member’s app, which supports buying Starbucks merchandise anywhere.
Another key aspect of a great loyalty program is the tier system. From American Airlines to Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks, the best loyalty programs excite, challenge, and, of course, incentivize their members to keep going for that gold, signature or elite status.
TapMango - World-Class Loyalty Platform
Cheetah’s newest coalition partner, TapMango, is a leading digital customer loyalty platform. Voted the #1 loyalty platform for 3 years in a row, they have already helped 8,500 restaurants rake in thousands of dollars of additional monthly revenue.
TapMango allows restaurants to create their own unique loyalty program that keeps their customers engaged. They offer a full package of customer-facing counter-top tablets, a branded app, and key tags, all designed with each restaurant’s logos, colors and slogans.
The system provides restaurant owners with multiple ways to personally connect with their patrons, like SMS, email or mobile app push notifications.
And with customizable rewards programs, digital punch cards, coupons and fun gaming competitions, TapMango both invites and excites customers while increasing the average lifetime value per head (or mouth).
Online Ordering With Loyalty Perks
Restaurant owners can also easily create their own online ordering platform using TapMango. It allows full control of digital menu design, complete with pictures and ingredients, and patrons can choose delivery, pick-up or curbside options.
The key benefit of the TapMango online ordering system is that restaurant owners can incentivize customers to link purchases to their loyalty membership, driving online revenue.
For example, through the platform, restaurants can push a flash sale on discounted items from yesterday’s assortment, helping to utilize every ounce of food to reduce waste and increase profits.
As expected from top tier technology, TapMango Integrates with major restaurant POS systems and 3rd party delivery services, like Toast and DoorDash, so serving and understanding customer needs is seamless across all platforms.
Harnessing Referrals with TapMango
TapMango has also devised methods to boost customers’ sharing their experience on social media. For example, with their permission, the customer facing tablet can quickly snap a pic and share it to Facebook or Instagram.
Patrons can also generate referral links that go viral. As friends and family help them gain points, the restaurant’s customer base grows. As an added perk, the customizable key tags double as gift cards.
Turning Loyalty Program Data into Profits
Restaurants using TapMango have full control of the data about their customers’ interactions with the restaurant. After sending out promotions, marketing campaigns, contests and more, restaurant operators can track and analyze their efforts to focus on what works and improve what doesn’t.
For example they can capitalize on events like birthdays or sporting events with automated promos for big orders and catering. There is even an option to send out surveys that invite customers to rate and review their experience on Google and Yelp.
Cheetah Plus Members Benefit Even More With TapMango
TapMango provides a complete solution for loyalty, online ordering and customer outreach. And the cherry-on-top is that their dedicated customer success agents help with everything from support to creating the most successful automated campaigns.
As for pricing, ‘just about everything is customizable’ on TapMango, so restaurants small and large can create an all-encompassing loyalty solution to fit their budget.
Check out our other Coalition partners here!