Customer loyalty is an essential component of any successful restaurant franchise business.
Because it turns a flash-in-the-pan success into a long-term, sustainable enterprise.
But with so many food options to choose from, it can be hard to encourage customers to come back and make another order.
The good news is that it’s not impossible. In this article, we’ll show you 4 simple ways to increase customer loyalty for your restaurant. We’ll also go over what customer loyalty is, why it’s important, and give you some inspiration for customer loyalty programs.
What is customer loyalty?
Customer loyalty describes the positive, ongoing relationship you have with your customers. It involves meeting (and often exceeding) customer expectations to provide a top-quality and memorable experience.
There are a few different ways you can tell if you have loyal customers. Here are some examples:
- Making repeat orders
- Buying the more expensive, premium food items on the menu
- Following you on social media
- Engaging with posts on social media
- Signing up to your email newsletter
How does customer loyalty work?
The simple answer is that customer loyalty is the result of a good experience.
Let’s use an example to show how it works.
It’s Friday night, you’re craving a pizza, and you decide to treat yourself. There are two pizza places in your local area: Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe and Pizza by Alfredo’s (if you’re a fan of The Office, you might recognise these pizza places).
You’ve ordered from both in the past, and you need to decide which to order from tonight.
Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe offers good prices, a speedy delivery service, and delicious pizzas. Pizza by Alfredo’s is a little more expensive, the delivery wasn’t as quick, and some of the toppings slid off the pizza during transit.
As the customer, you’ve had a better experience with Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe, so you order from them. This time, you might even upgrade to a cheesy crust or add a side of garlic bread (#treatyourself).
And this is an example of customer loyalty.
Because of your good experience in the past, you chose to order from Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe. In other words, you’re showing loyalty to this restaurant by ordering from them again. Good job Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe!
How to increase customer loyalty for your restaurant
Now that we know what customer loyalty is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can create customer loyalty for your virtual restaurant.
1. Go above and beyond with customer service
Customers might overlook the occasional mishap – but if service continually falls short, you’ve got big problems. In fact, studies have shown that 55% of consumers would stop buying from a brand they like after several bad experiences.
One of the ways to improve the overall customer experience is to provide solid customer service.
For a virtual restaurant, providing good customer service looks like this:
- Having friendly and knowledgeable staff to answer customer queries
- Improving the usability and functionality of your menus and website
- Providing a speedy delivery service
- Offering personalised touches, such as thank you notes or customised offers
To find out exactly how to improve your customer service, you should gather feedback directly from your customers or from customer reviews. That way, you can identify ways to improve your service for your specific target audience.
2. Focus on the long-term training of your staff
Your staff are the customer-facing part of your business. Whether they’re dealing with telephone orders to delivery drivers or social media helpers – they’re the front-line.
That’s why it’s vital that they’re trained in the best practices for your restaurant.
When everyone’s up to speed with your best practices, they all act the same way. They know what your values are, what your mission is, and how to handle different situations. As a result, they can provide a consistent experience for your customers.
It’s also important to invest time and training into the kitchen staff that prepare the food. That way, they can continually provide top-quality, delicious meals that keep customers coming back for more.
If you work with Peckwater Brands (that’s us - hi!) to launch your virtual brand, we’ll take care of all the training. Our expert chefs design a menu based on local customer data, then show your chefs how to prepare it.
Find out more about how it works.
3. Offer unique discounts and promotions
A simple way to encourage repeat purchases is to create discounts and promotions for existing customers.
Imagine that you create a 10% discount code only for existing customers. This code goes straight to their email inbox, and they can use it to order food within the next 7 days.
With this unique discount code, your existing customers feel like they’re getting value for their money. We’ve all been there when we think we’re getting a good deal. It’s a pretty great feeling, and it makes us want to grab the deal before it’s too late.
This is exactly what happens to your existing customers. It encourages them to make another order, but it also makes them feel good while doing it. It’s a win-win.
4. Create cutting-edge recipes
To keep customers engaged and interested in your food, you need to be on top of the latest food and hospitality trends. If you’re not, you risk losing customers to other restaurants that are.
But when you’ve got a million and one things to do, finding time to monitor trends and local data is easier said than done.
This is where working with a delivery franchise partner like Peckwater comes in handy.
When you work with us, we research your local customer demand to identify what your customers want. We’re also monitoring the latest trends in food delivery to make sure our partners keep up with what’s happening in the industry. Take a look at our whitepapers to see for yourself!
With our research, we create new, unique, and topical menus that appeal to your customer base. This means you’re more likely to attract new customers and encourage them to order from you in the future.
Because existing customers will want to try the trendy new food items from a food provider they trust. If they know your quality is good, they’ll be interested in trying your new menu items.
Examples of customer loyalty programs for restaurants
Are you thinking about rolling out a loyalty program but aren’t sure where to start? Take a look at these customer loyalty program ideas for restaurants to get started on the right foot.
Redeemable points for discounts or vouchers
A points-based scheme allows customers to collect points whenever they place an order. When they’ve collected a certain amount of points, they can redeem it for credit or food items.
For example, let’s say for every £10 a person spends they collect 1 point. When they reach 20 points, they get a £20 voucher to spend.
This is a great incentive for customers to return and buy from you again. The more they spend, the closer they get to getting money off a future order.
A subscription program
A subscription loyalty program allows customers to buy a membership with your virtual restaurant. As a member, they receive discounts, special offers, and early access to new menu items.
For customers that order from you frequently, this is a worthwhile investment. They save money on their orders and they get special access to new foods.
The subscription program is also a useful way for you to identify your most engaged customers.
You can find out more about their demographics, what they order, and what they don’t. All of this information can help you make informed decisions about your food delivery service (for example, which food menu items to discontinue).
Family and friend referrals
Referrals involve your existing customer recommending you to a friend or family member.
Let’s say a customer has just made an order. In their email confirmation, you send them a link to £5 off for a friend or family member. When the friend or family member uses the £5 voucher, the existing customer gets a reward.
This could be a discount code, instant cashback, loyalty credits, or anything else that encourages them to buy from you again.
It’s a great way to boost customer loyalty and reach a new audience at the same time, making it a good choice for virtual brands that are new to the market.
Work with Peckwater Brands to increase customer loyalty
There are multiple ingredients for creating a brilliant virtual food brand that increases sales and customer loyalty. Take a pinch of delicious dishes, a sprinkle of excellent customer service, the final addition of some brilliant branding, and what have you got?
A recipe for a great dining experience that leads to repeat business and positive customer reviews.
If you’re thinking about how to put all these elements into motion, consider using a delivery franchise partner like Peckwater Brands.
We can help you transform your business to run a successful delivery franchise from your kitchen. From creating a loyal consumer base to platform listings, recipes, staff training and technology - we support kitchen operators every step of the way.
Get in touch today or find out more about what we do!