10 Best Restaurant Loyalty Program Ideas You Should Know

By Fatma Humayun -- Monday, 21 Nov, 2022
Restaurant loyalty program

A restaurant loyalty program is very important for every restaurant business. Because it pushes customers to visit more often and spend more on each visit. A restaurant loyalty program keeps your customer happy and loyal to your brand. Whether you are a new restaurant owner or a very old one you know how hard it is to keep your customer loyalty towards your brand. Because the restaurant business is both trendy and competitive. 

Your competitors are always doing something interesting to keep their customer loyalty towards their brand. And also to attract new customers. So if you are not doing something unique, then other restaurants might grab your customer's attention and you might lose your existing customers. As a restaurant owner, consider having a restaurant loyalty program to keep your customer loyal to your brand.

What is Restaurant Loyalty Program?

What is Restaurant Loyalty Program

A restaurant loyalty program is a type of program specially designed for the customers of restaurants to ensure customer loyalty by rewarding loyal customers with discounts, free food like drinks, desserts, dishes, etc, and other advantages such as free delivery. It is a great way to set the seal on customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Customers get rewards based on some metrics. Such as:

  1. When a customer visits more times
  2. When a customer spends more money
  3. When a customer refers a friend or family

Do restaurant loyalty programs work? Yes, it does. It is tough to attract new customers. So making sure existing customers are loyal to your restaurant business is a very good alternative. A study shows loyal customers spend 67 percent more than new customers. And restaurants make 80 percent of revenue from 20 percent of customers who are loyal to the restaurant business. These 20 percent of customers keep visiting your place very often and these customers place the largest orders.

So restaurants should reward these customers with exciting offers that these customers deserve. As they are loyal to your brand and spend so much on your business. Good food and service are not enough to pay off their loyalty. Because there are a lot of restaurants with amazing food and better service than your restaurant in your location. That’s why loyalty program is important.

So as a restaurant manager or owner, you should create a restaurant loyalty program to keep them loyal to your brand. Restaurant loyalty programs also help new customers turn into loyal customers. Also, it encourages new customers to place large orders and spend more on your business.  

Types of Restaurant Loyalty Programs

Types of Restaurant Loyalty Programs

There are a lot of restaurant loyalty programs available that you can integrate with your restaurant POS system to increase customer base and also customer satisfaction. There are mainly 6 types of restaurant loyalty programs available.

  1. Point-Based Rewards

Customers who participate in a loyalty program with points get a particular amount of points for every dollar they spend or just for going to the restaurant. For every dollar spent, several restaurants with this kind of scheme reward one point. Then, customers may exchange their points for the food or services you choose for credit to spend in your restaurant. 

For example, if a client has 100 points, you may allow them to cash out for a $10 credit or exchange their points for a complimentary side dish.

  1. Visit-Based Rewards

Restaurant management gives restaurant loyalty rewards depending on each customer visit. This persuades the customer to return for numerous visits, and as a consequence, they do. 

For example, they may provide a complimentary coffee or a brownie on the customer's fifth visit. 

  1. Item-Based Rewards

If you're familiar with an outdated punch card system, you probably already know how items-based rewards operate. Customers are rewarded under this model for making a particular number of purchases by receiving the next item free of charge. 

For example, if you purchase nine cups of coffee, the tenth is free.

Implementing a points-based system for point collection and offering a specific item as the reward in place of credit is another way to modify an item-based reward scheme. 

For example, with every 50 points scored, you might offer your clients a free doughnut.

  1. Subscription-Based Rewards

A subscription-based rewards program rewards subscribers when they complete particular membership milestones.

For example, you can create a food delivery monthly subscription plan and provide rewards to customers who have been subscribers for a specific amount of time.

  1. Promotional Rewards

Members of this kind of restaurant loyalty program get prizes with expiration dates that tempt them to eat at your establishment or place an order within a certain time frame. These restaurant rewards don't have to be connected to a certain type of spending. Instead, they might be offered as unexpected discounts.

For example, to increase sales during quiet times encourage clients to eat in your place at that specific time of the day and get discounts.

  1. Online Rewards

Although many restaurant loyalty programs simply give rewards to diners, it's crucial to give rewards to people who place online orders as well. Customers have greater incentives to return when they can earn points and awards for both online orders and dine-in meals.

For example, customers will get free delivery when customers place orders online for the tenth time.

Top Restaurant Loyalty Program Ideas

Top Restaurant Loyalty Program Ideas

Reinforcement and rewarding loyal customers are the two main aspects of every customer loyalty program. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to your restaurant when their loyalty is rewarded. They should receive extra prizes along the route to encourage them to decide to keep doing business with you. The top restaurant loyalty program ideas for your company may be found in the list below.

1. Reward Networks

Reward networks, which are quite identical to the loyalty point system with the key distinction being that the program will be managed by a network, are among the most well-known loyalty programs that restaurants may use. You won't have to put much effort into giving your customers incentives because restaurant directories are in charge of managing the network of eateries.

The core problem with network-based rewards programs is that some consumers will develop loyalty to the network as a whole rather than to specific eateries. Even if the network was quite well-liked, there's always a chance that your restaurant might be neglected. This is a reminder that loyalty schemes for restaurants do not support rewards programs. Joining a reward network may be one of the greatest restaurant loyalty program ideas available to you if you don't want to put in the effort to develop your own loyalty program.

2. Loyalty Points

Restaurant Loyalty Points

Giving clients loyalty points when they spend money at their favorite eateries is perhaps the most successful loyalty program. Depending on how much money they spend at your restaurant, you'll give these clients different amounts of points. Higher bills result in more points being awarded to them. Because clients occasionally spend more cash to earn more points that they may later use to get rewards, these programs are thought to be the most successful.

To encourage repeat business from customers, you may consider giving them more reward points than usual on their initial visit. As long as the benefits you offer are enough, consumers that visit your restaurant frequently will accrue more points and awards, which is a terrific incentive for these customers. If you want this loyalty program to be a success, be sure to couple it with some sophisticated branding. Loyalty points are quite helpful if you already keep a client database and want to expand it.

3. Tiered Loyalty Programs

A tiered loyalty program can be the way to go if you want your rewards program to boost client loyalty while simultaneously attracting more first-time consumers. The general ease of this kind of service will encourage new users to sign up. Additionally, you'll attract more devoted clients who keep doing business with you since they stand to earn more from it. Though you might choose to add any number of tiers, categorizing these tiers for various purchase sizes is a terrific approach to introducing new tiers.

With their first orders, customers may earn a limited amount of points. For following orders, they could earn more points. You should be able to persuade potential and present customers to keep eating at your restaurant and place online food orders through your restaurant's online ordering system by providing levels of rewards. One concept for a restaurant loyalty program that allows consumers to eat in or place an online order is this one.

4. Special Days Reward

restaurant Special Days Reward

If you employ a tiered loyalty program or any other form of reward program that enables you to establish a customer database. Another type of loyalty program is that you may include free items/discounts for particular days throughout the year in your incentives. 

For example, you may offer consumers in your loyalty program a discount or a complimentary menu item to commemorate their birthday or wedding anniversary. While this program is only available a few times per year, it can serve to increase client loyalty.

5. Referral Programs

Any kind of loyalty program you design should be combined with a referral program to boost the number of people who choose to purchase from your restaurant from the grand opening of your restaurant. Customers almost always tell their close family and acquaintances about their positive experiences.

While offering excellent cuisine and simple ordering will undoubtedly encourage some of your customers to recommend your restaurant to their contacts, introducing a referral program gives them an extra reason to do so. Customers who recommend your restaurant to others should receive incentives. By implementing this form of restaurant loyalty program, you contribute to the development of positive word-of-mouth that is backed by gratifying benefits.

6. Free Delivery

restaurant free Free Delivery rewards

It is necessary that your loyalty program provides benefits that may be used by consumers who order online. Free delivery is an excellent approach to persuading people to buy meals from your business. However, it is advised that you should not provide delivery service with every order. Instead, you may offer free delivery if the buyer orders a particular amount of food. 

For example, any orders above $10 may be eligible for free delivery. You might also provide free delivery to customers who have acquired a particular amount of points. This form of loyalty program should function as an add-on to a larger rewards program.

7. Secret Menu

One of the highest reward categories in a restaurant loyalty program based on reward points might be built around a hidden menu. The secret item can be anything. You may add variations to your most popular food items or other dishes. Consider switching out hidden dishes once a month or two to increase customer engagement with your business.

8. Digital Restaurant Loyalty Program

Digital Restaurant Loyalty Program

Making sure that your loyalty program is digital should be a top priority when looking for the best customer loyalty program ideas for restaurants. Modern consumers no longer find plastic restaurant loyalty cards appealing. You should offer a paperless option in any loyalty program you design so that users may still receive rewards even if they don't have a physical card. The program you design can function through texts and emails or an app that represents your business.

9. Experiential Rewards

An experience reward, which gives members prizes that go beyond regular transactions, is one form of reward you may deliver, regardless of whether you develop a point-based loyalty program or another sort of rewards program. Your consumers are unlikely to have quick access to these activities, but these rewards can give them something special.

For example, if a person has a specific number of points, you may give them prior access to brand-new menu items. Members might get free entry to any future events that your business sponsors. Even though creating experiential incentives might be challenging, you can use them to provide your guests with experiences that they won't find at other restaurants.

10. Promoting Your Loyalty Program

Promoting Your Loyalty Program

No matter which of these suggestions for restaurant loyalty programs you choose to use, it is important that you strongly advertise them after you launch the programs. Also, assure your customers that you offer referral bonuses. It's advised that you advertise the loyalty program online using various online marketing strategies. We already know the importance of social media for restaurant business promotion. So you should take the advantage of social media to promote your restaurant loyalty programs.

Consider collaborating with a nearby company or an internet influencer to promote your product or service in order to potentially reach a larger audience. Even the finest concepts for restaurant loyalty programs need a lot of advertising to be successful over the long run.


The restaurant loyalty program is a great way to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. The benefits of restaurant loyalty programs include discounts on food and drink, freebies, and exclusive offers. The program is also a great way to build relationships with customers and increase customer loyalty.

Are loyalty programs profitable? If this question is still wandering in your mind. Then you should know that it is important to realize that the success of a restaurant does not come down to how great the food is. Instead, it is about the entire experience that a customer has when they visit. Providing loyalty programs is one way to improve this experience by rewarding customers for their business or spending.