May 22, 2014
BDI News: Weekly Tips


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Taking Your Loyalty Program Digital

Digital platforms can provide added flexibility that makes restaurant reward programs even more effective than traditional punch card systems. Programs that reward a restaurant's loyal customers have proven effective because they make those customers feel special and increase the likelihood they will share their positive experience with friends. To date, they have typically relied on punch cards to keep track of customers' progress toward collecting a program's reward. But now loyalty reward apps can give restaurant operators a new tool to manage these programs in the smartphone era.


Some examples of these apps include: Pirq, RewardJunkie!, Level Up, Key Ring, Perka, Punchcard, Belly, Front Flip and Reward Loop.


Below are seven key features of a successful digital loyalty program that will help attract new customers to your restaurant and keep current customers coming back for more.


1.  Rewards

First, your reward card app must offer true value to your patrons. Customers are sensitive to the notion of a "gimmick" and prefer rewards that they consider a real value. A great way to better your relationship with your customers is to offer them a valuable reward that provides a sense of exclusivity. Maintaining what feels like a personal relationship with your customers is essential to keeping them loyal. 


2.  Reinforce Loyalty

Reinforce loyalty to your brand by offering customers incentives for choosing it over competitors. If a competitor offer a loyalty rewards program and you don't, then you're providing a less-compelling reason for a potential customer to patronize your restaurant.


It can be helpful to keep tabs on your customers' visit history, especially when a competitor opens nearby. By examining trends in your customers' visits, you'll be able to pinpoint potential downfalls in your sales numbers and proactively increase them by enticing your customers back with your own incentives. 


3.  Utilize Data

Customer reward apps can provide your business with a wealth of useful data and metrics. By paying attention to this data and aligning your rewards program with information on customer preferences, you'll increase the effectiveness of your program. As you fine-tune your program the quality of customer data improves as the program becomes more effective. Translation: happier customers equal more profit.


Studies estimate that roughly 80 percent of your profits come from only 20 percent of your customers. Thus, it's less expensive to retain current customers than to find new ones. By identifying and paying close attention to that 20 percent, you can ensure that those customers are always happy. Offering additional perks to this group is a great way to ensure repeat business. 


4.  Relationships

All businesses, especially restaurants, need to be focused on creating and maintaining solid relationships with their customers. Digital loyalty programs are a great way to better the communication and thus the relationship between your business and customers. Successful loyalty reward apps will make customers feel special and appreciated. Ultimately, an effective reward app will also incentivize your customers to not only return more frequently, but during specific times.


One useful tactic is to send customers private, VIP deals on their mobile phones shortly after they've visited your restaurant is to entice them to return to your business on specific days and/or hours of the day. This can make them feel special while also trying to drive business during off-peak hours.


5.  Create Brand Ambassadors

Great relationships with your guests translate into brand advocacy. If your customers become ambassadors of your brand, they become a marketing tool with an authenticity that traditional marketing simply can't replicate. This should be the goal of your customer relationships, as they are incredibly profitable.


6.  Target Your Deals

Targeted deals and rewards provide your customers with an incentive that appeals to them individually while also helping your business grow and meet specific goals. Analyzing your sales numbers and customer behavior to determine what your true off-peak times are is a great way to start. You can then target specific deals and rewards around your off-peak hours to increase sales during those times and maximize your resources.


You can also target your rewards program around menu categories you'd like to promote, such as desserts, cocktails or limited-time offers. A good digital loyalty program can be easily adapted and customized to accommodate different seasonal trends or sales goals.


7.  Modernize

A main advantage digital reward cards have over punch card systems is that they're adjustable. While traditional cards are static, reward card applications provide customer data that allows you to tailor your offers and see what really works and what doesn't. The result is a cycle of more effective customer rewards.


Attracting new customers and retaining current ones is essential to the survival and success of your business. Creating relationships with your customers keeps them loyal to your brand and can make them advocates for your business.  Many newer reward program applications aim to make your marketing efforts in this regard more effective.


Have you tried a digital customer rewards program yet?  Which one did you use and how did it work?  Please share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Be sure to add our email address to your contact book to ensure that you continue receiving industry updates, informative articles and tasty tidbits.

Bret Dixon Insurance




Our office will be closed on Monday, May 26th in observance of Memorial Day. 


If you have any urgent  issues over the weekend, please use our Claims & Payments page to find your insurer's direct contact info.


 Everyone have a safe, holiday weekend.  We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, 5/27.