As meals costs proceed to climb so does the worth of a restaurant loyalty program, for each the client and the model.
In itemizing out frequent dominators amongst restaurant manufacturers, one of many first to pop to thoughts can be creating and sustaining a loyal buyer.
That is as a result of loyal clients are gold for a model relating to income and free advertising and marketing.
However constructing a loyal fan base, and rising that fan base, requires each technique and the flexibility to adapt, be versatile, and, most significantly, perceive a buyer’s wants and desires.
The loyalty program technique, in addition to what has confirmed profitable, was the subject of a panel discuss, “Constructing an Urge for food for Loyalty,” on the Quick Informal Government Summit held final month in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is one in all a number of trade occasions organized by Networld Media Group, the dad or mum firm of Fastcasual, Pizza Market and QSRweb.
The annual three-day Quick Informal Government Summit occasion attracts executives from main manufacturers all over the world. The media firm’s subsequent occasion is the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit being held March 20-23, 2023, in Coral Gables, Florida.
Collaborating within the panel, sponsored by Vericast, and moderated by Cherryh Cansler, VP of occasions and editor of Fastcasual.com for Networld Media Group, had been Rob Crews, restaurant trade technique director for brand new enterprise and account administration, restaurant manufacturers at Vericast; Jeff Hemschoot, VP of promoting at Jersey Mike’s franchise techniques and Doug Willmarth, president at Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes.
The loyalty technique
“Once we discuss loyalty it is about driving frequency and shifting clients alongside that frequency continuum,” mentioned Crews, kicking off the one-hour dialogue.
“In beginning one in all these do not attempt to boil the ocean. Simply type of get going. You do not have to get it proper off the bat,” he suggested, including that manufacturers ought to begin with one thing however know the way they need to set it up (loyalty factors or shock and delight choices). “Leap in, small take a look at, there’s numerous take a look at and be taught.”
At Jersey Mike’s, right now’s loyalty program and technique are fairly totally different than it was 14 years in the past when clients held punch playing cards on the register. Hemschoot, who’s been in his advertising and marketing function since 2008 when the sandwich model had between 230 to 240 areas, has seen huge progress round loyalty and describes increase the loyalty program “as thrilling and an excellent experience.”
The model, which now has 2,300 shops, launched its preliminary loyalty app in 2012 with a quite simple strategy because it was all factors based mostly.
The app was do-it-yourself, as was the POS it built-in with, because the model is bullish on funding spending.
“One thing I will most likely say 5 instances right now — preserve every little thing so simple as potential. On the finish of day all we wish is for the patron to shortly order and fix loyalty to that and drive that frequency and incremental visits,” mentioned Hemschoot.
Six years later the app was up to date and, simply as COVID-19 hit, it was enhanced in early 2020 to offer supply service functionality.
“So we had been poised and caught some little bit of luck alongside the way in which,” mentioned Hemschoot.
The model’s app has 22 million app downloads and 24 million subscribers to its factors account.
“It is a testomony to our crew members and our homeowners,” he added.
At Mooyah Burgers the loyalty technique is a bit totally different given the model’s smaller measurement, defined Willmarth, who’s been in his function for a couple of yr.
“As a smaller model it is essential to leverage confirmed out-of-the-box know-how and ensure you have companions which have a very strong platform you possibly can faucet into as a result of we do not have a group of six to seven to customise and implement,” mentioned Willmarth.
The model leverages Punchh know-how which plugs into the POS that was additionally developed internally.
“The communication element could be very essential,” mentioned Willmarth. “With a loyalty program it’s a must to give folks a purpose (to hitch) and ours relies on tried-and-true legacy choice of earn factors and get money and we’re within the strategy of making an attempt to rethink that so we’re at an attention-grabbing time in our program.”
Driving loyalty app downloads
Launching a loyalty app, nevertheless, is simply the primary essential step. An app, in any case, has no worth if nobody is utilizing it so the technique should embody a profitable strategy to get clients engaged and turning into an app person.
At Jersey Mike’s the technique is multi-pronged. The model does fairly a bit of promoting by way of its digital property and communicates to friends by way of textual content and e mail blasts.
“We use all these channels to proceed to push downloads and any type of occasion advertising and marketing — something exterior of TV [such as] fundraising — something the place we will inform clients there’s a straightforward technique to obtain,” mentioned Hemschoot.
“We do crew incentive packages as properly and that engages the crew and so they’re excited by it. There aren’t any money prizes however model merch, headphones, gear.”
One precious aspect within the model’s loyalty strategy is its factors incentive and that is why its app advertising and marketing contains providing double factors, possibly as soon as a month.
“Like clockwork, we see 15% enhance in gross sales the subsequent day [after the monthly double points offer]. We now have a quite simple technique that the client understands,” mentioned Hemschoot.
At Mooyah Burger’s the strategy to driving loyalty app downloads is tied to the way it views its loyalty program general.
“The app is a crucial a part of the loyalty program however the loyalty program shouldn’t be the app. What we’re seeking to do is interact with folks the place they’re to deepen the connection and it really works for us,” mentioned Willmarth.
“We attempt to have a devoted instances of yr the place we’re targeted on [app] acquisition akin to client dealing with contests — like free fries for downloading the app after which having a companion program that runs contest for the shops and group members, in order that they have an opportunity to win one thing too,” mentioned Willmarth.
He used an analogy of a human relationship to explain his model’s loyalty app and buyer relationship.
“Acquisition, the place the only real message is ‘hey would you wish to obtain our app,’ is form of like leaping straight to ‘hey we’re in a relationship’ earlier than we have had our first date. We strategy loyalty on two ranges, group member loyalty and buyer loyalty, and that is vital as crew member retention is so essential proper now.”
The shock and delight loyalty strategy
Many manufacturers undertake a typical aspect within the loyalty technique — informally coined as “shock and delight,” by which this system gives up one thing unexpectedly within the quest to drive deeper loyalty and engagement and spur the client to share the shock/delight with family and friends and associates.
The “shock and delight” at Jersey Mike’s is not an enormous technique at this level, mentioned Hemschoot, although the model does a double factors day.
“Past that a few of the different issues that we do is a tailgate tour the place we went to 14 schools all through soccer season with a makeshift retailer, enjoyable actions, quiz video games,” he mentioned, including “we’ll be wanting to some totally different gamification issues that is shut as we get to any type of shock and delight.”
For Mooyah Burgers the shock/delight facet can also be not entrance and heart and is seen extra as a layer so as to add onto a loyalty program, mentioned Willmarth.
“I believe it is as a result of we’re utilizing loyalty initially as a communication platform and I believe that’s one thing you must be excited about. In loyalty, your clients are providing you with permission to speak to them about issues which might be essential to you, and it turns into your most cost-effective technique to get significant information out to your greatest clients.”
Providing double factors or free fries or the chance to win one thing are points to be layered onto the loyalty program, Willmarth mentioned.
“We’re making an attempt to be extra of a quality-based experiential model so a few of the issues we now have tried to tie into the app are extra of issues within the experiential space,” he mentioned, noting the model’s declaration of nationwide French fry month and providing as soon as in a lifetime expertise akin to staying on the Idaho Potato fee potato lodge.
“Folks beloved it. It is an instance of how we’re utilizing the platform to get model data on the market to folks we all know and who like us,” he mentioned.
“If you do not have a loyalty program right now it’s a must to decide what are your targets for this system and the way are you going to attain ROI as a result of it’s going to be a dedication. As soon as you’ve got rolled out a loyalty program, they’re very tough to roll again. You actually need to ensure you’ve obtained eyes extensive open on what you must see, what do you must guarantee this will probably be an excellent funding.”
Judy Mottl is editor of Retail Buyer Expertise and Meals Truck Operator. She has a long time of expertise as a reporter, author and editor protecting know-how and enterprise for high media together with AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews.