The best way to utilize a loyalty program to increase customer spending would depend on where you want to increase spending. When it comes to making more money in the restaurant business or any business in general, you have two options. Make more money from your existing customers or make more new customers. For this blog post, I explore increasing spending from your existing customers. You can increase customer spending by increasing order volume or increasing order totals.

Increasing volume:

A loyalty program that will increase order volume is using a visit system. After X visits, the customer earns a reward and/or levels up. You could also iterate over your visit program to dictate customer behavior, for example, customers should make two visits per week for this month and get a reward or make X visits before X date to receive an exclusive reward. Not all customers have to have the same rewarding program either, you could adjust your visit to push visits harder for customers you want and less for others, along with different incentives. Furthermore, the key area to making your visit program more engaging is to create scarcity, mystery, or addiction.

Another loyalty program to increase volume would be badges and collectibles. This method is rewarding customers with a novelty badge or virtual collectible for completing a task. So to utilize this in increasing order volume, you would create tasks like, “unlock the May exclusive collectible if you order once a week in the month of May.” you can be more creative in how you want to encourage customers to earn badges. For some, badges are enough of a reward but to offer more incentive to customers you could attach perks to badges or simply offer rewards with badges.

The best option I believe is a visit program, when you are looking to increase customer volume. It is a lot simpler and easier to implement and for customers to understand. However, it could become not as incentivizing as other loyalty programs, depending on how many visits are required for rewards and the types of rewards given. There is a trade-off, few visits required means customers do not expect crazy rewards, but the more visits required the more “free” the reward is expected.

You can also adjust your visit program to make visits random or personalized for customers, so for already active customers make them have more rewards or new customers they have fewer visits needed in the beginning. You could also hide rewards per visit to add some mystery and eagerness to the reward. Along with setting rewards, each visit mark is reached based on the customer's ordering behavior, to make rewards more personalized and more likely to be positively received by the customer.

For a visit program, you would consider each order in a time frame a “visit”. Now one thing to look out for when using a visit program is not encouraging customer behavior to split big orders into small orders. You could prevent this behavior by setting limitations usually on time or order minimums. So if you are doing visits, do not calculate a visit off orders but at minimum one order per day or order 12-hour span.