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Restaurant Loyalty Programs and Restaurant Membership Programs are great methods to reward your customers, but how are they different?

To learn more please either watch the video above, read the transcript or listen to the podcast below.

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Read the Video Transcript by Clicking Here...


Today I’m gonna help you determine if a restaurant loyalty program or restaurant membership program is right for you. They’re very similar and I’ll explain the differences but we’re not going to get into the technology or the specifics of either one, instead I will only be supplying a general look at restaurant loyalty programs vs. restaurant membership programs.

It’s important to reward your customers instead of strangers. If you’re couponing (using coupons) out to the general public you’re doing one of two things:

  1. You are either giving a perfect stranger an excuse to come eat at your restaurant for a discounted price and possibly never return.
  2. You are giving a customer who would have eaten in your restaurant anyways and would have paid full price, a discount for no reason at all.

There are times and circumstances when I love couponing but I’m not generally a huge fan of it in the way that most restaurants are doing it. I am however a huge fan of loyalty and membership programs.

Restaurant Loyalty Programs and Restaurant Membership Programs

Most of us are familiar with punch cards whether they’re digital like in a mobile wallet or a physical punch card where you visit 10 times and you get something for free. There’s also point systems where you get a card or a phone number and each time you visit you get points toward rewards or something for free.  That’s a great example of a traditional restaurant loyalty program.

Now here is how a restaurant membership program is different than a loyalty program? First of all they’re exclusive and not open to anybody. You either have to be invited, have to do something to get into it or maybe there’s only a certain amount of spots. Members also get certain things that everybody else doesn’t.

One of my clients has a Whisky Club at their Irish bar where only members get access to special whiskey’s that aren’t on the menu. If a guest comes in with someone else who’s a member, they learn about this and ask what it is how to become a member.

In this particular case there’s a very nominal fee of $20 a month and included in that they do a special whiskey tasting once a month with some hors d’oeuvres.  Whenever they do whiskey dinners, members get first priority on reservations. Think about Amazon Prime, Spotify or Netflix…this idea of memberships shouldn’t be all that foreign to us but the idea of incorporating it into your restaurant sometime is.  

Another way that we can do memberships is with t-shirts.  Every three months or so you can come out with a new limited edition t-shirt that you only give to members and when they wear the t-shirt into your restaurant they get a discount or they get a free appetizer.

Another client has a membership that revolves around special hand made ice-creams.

Final Thoughts

Get creative, think about what you can do in your restaurant restaurant that creates a little more exclusivity and fun. Something that is a little more special that just a loyalty program, maybe it’s paid maybe it’s not, but membership has it’s privelage (AMEX).

I hope you enjoyed this week’s video I really look forward to bringing you another one just like this next week have a wonderful week.

Your Next Step

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