Loyalty Programs: The Future of Takeout?
COVID-19 permanently changed the face of dine-in seating. Over the past year, customers have had to rely more on online ordering solutions when lockdown orders make sit-down service impossible. If you’re a restaurant owner, you need to find a way to increase takeout customers now that off-premise ordering is a primary source of revenue. Loyalty programs are the fix you need.
Customers who join a rewards program spend twice as much on average as non-members. The National Restaurant Association reports that one-third of consumers said they were more likely to choose one restaurant over another if they had a loyalty program, further cementing their importance in the eyes of both industry professionals and their patrons.
Now that customers rely on takeaway service, restaurants need to focus more on optimizing these programs for their online ordering channels.
Why Do Loyalty Programs Matter?
Rewards incentivize guests to return again and again. A good loyalty program….
encourages more frequent spending.
increases the average ticket size of each order.
is online so customers don’t have to deal with lost or damaged punch cards, a massive problem before digitization.
builds customer profiles that you need to make smarter business decisions and marketing campaigns.
Online ordering platforms are the perfect place to integrate points. By simply requiring guests to sign in before placing an order, you’ll get sales trends and data for your best customers over long periods of time. With an app and website, it’s a quick process for customers to sign up and start collecting points.
Smart Point of Sale systems aggregate all those online channels and generate automatic reports for your analysis. See when your best customers come in and what they order when they do; this lets you build targeted campaigns designed to give your loyal customers what they want. Sales analysis also reduces over- or understaffing; when you see how busy you were over a major holiday last year or on a certain night of the week, you’ll schedule smarter and reduce labor expenses.
Phasing Back Into Dine-In Seating
The limitations on dine-in services makes it necessary to focus on off-premise orders and grow that customer base. Even as contact-free ordering becomes increasingly relevant, keep in mind that your customers won’t have to stay at home forever.
Although your loyalty program should lean on online ordering, dine-in seating will eventually phase back in. When you focus so heavily on optimizing rewards with takeout orders, and incentivizing guests to buy from you that way, you run the risk of making them entirely reliant on your delivery channels. Dine-in services pull more profit on average than takeaway does. Build adaptability into your marketing strategy so you can get the most out of your takeout and delivery now, and still be flexible enough to seamlessly expand it to include dine-in services when you pivot back to normal.
COVID-19 has made online ordering extremely important to customers, so build a loyalty program that caters to their need for fast and contact-free service while also providing incentives to come to your restaurant in-person soon. Especially considering the popularity of third party apps, restaurants have a lot of competition in the online sphere and need a hook to stand out.
For example, QR codes that lead to a digital menu can be placed in the restaurant for customers to use. Self-ordering through a mobile device increases order accuracy and promotes continued contact-free service, while still relying on customer profiles. Sit-down guests who are part of a loyalty program spend an average of over 92% more than non-members do.
Photo courtesy of eatOS.
The Future of Food Service
Get the most out of your rewards program and online ordering platforms when you make them work together. With a superior Point of Sale system, your restaurant will be equipped to handle the COVID-19 situation as it evolves.