How to Structure a Customer Loyalty Program for Burger Businesses
It’s not an exaggeration to say that consumers love burgers – especially in the US. After all, people in the country consume around 50 million burgers each year. Plus, the burger industry is valued at around $73 billion per year. So, that would mean that running a burger shop is very profitable, right?
Well, not always. Unfortunately, all that data also showcases that anyone starting out in the burger shop industry or running a small-scale business in this market will have to put up with some fierce competition (over 50,000 burger restaurants in the US alone) – unless they also run a customer loyalty program, that is.
You see, a loyalty program can actually help you drive customer engagement and loyalty to such an extent that you won’t need to constantly worry about the competition stealing all your patrons. Keep in mind that, nowadays, around 81% of consumers say they are much more likely to continue doing business with a brand if it has a loyalty program.
On top of that, approximately 73% of consumers say they are more likely to recommend a brand and say positive things about it if it has a decent customer loyalty program.
Now, if you’re not very familiar with how loyalty programs work, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with all the info you need to know.
But first, we have to emphasize how important it is to understand that there doesn’t exist a “one-size-fits-all” solution when it come to loyalty programs. Overall, most programs follow a similar structure, but the details will be different depending on the business’ niche.
With that out of the way, here are the steps you need to follow to properly structure a burger shop loyalty program:
1. Choose a Loyalty Program System First
Essentially, we’re talking about deciding how your customer loyalty program will work in terms of loyalty points acquisition. Please keep in mind that you are not only limited to loyalty points as an indicator. You can choose any type of indicator you want (like stars, for example). However, loyalty points are usually the standard in this industry.
Now, in terms of how customers can accumulate loyalty points, you’ve got a few options at your disposal:
- A Points-Based System – It’s the most popular loyalty system on the market. Basically, for every dollar a patron spends at your burger shop, they get a certain number of loyalty points. For example, for every $1, they could get 2 points. Once a customer earns a certain number of points (50-100, for instance), they can redeem a reward.
- A Visits-Based System – The idea is that for every time a customer visits your burger shop, they earn a certain number of loyalty points. Once they visit enough times, they can redeem their rewards. How much money they spend on your products usually doesn’t influence how much points they get.
- A Products-Based System – With this system, once your patrons bought a certain item on the menu a specific number of times, they get the next one for free. Think of it as the “but X burgers get one free” model.
- A Cashback System – The idea is pretty straightforward. For every dollar a customer spends at your burger shop, a certain percentage of it (5%, for example) is redirected back into their loyalty account.
When it comes to a burger shop, your best bet is to go for a combination of a product-based system with a points-based system. This way, you’d have plenty of flexibility when it comes to rewards, burger business marketing campaigns, and promotions.
If you’d prefer an alternative, a visits-based system can work well too. After all, your customers will most likely visit your place of business quite often. And, if you want, you can pair it with the points-based system to get the best results.
As for the cashback system, we would only recommend using it if your burger business is more centered around people coming in, placing an order, and waiting at their table until it comes. Why? Because the cashback model is able to enhance the interaction between patrons and servers. If you’re more focused on a QSR (Quick Service Restaurants) model, it’s best to avoid this customer loyalty program system.
2. Decide What Rewards You Will Be Offering
To entice your customers to join your loyalty program, you need to offer decent, attractive rewards. On top of that, you also need to make sure the rewards in question are good enough to attract new customers to your burger shop.
Well, we know coming up with adequate rewards about this is not always a walk in the park, so here are some ideas to get your started:
- A discount on a current or future purchase
- A free drink or dessert
- A BOGO deal (a “buy one get one free” deal)
- A free upgrade (from a simple cheeseburger to a double cheeseburger, for instance)
- Access to a cooking workshop with some of your cooks
- A pack of fresh burger patties your own burger shops use
Of course, you don’t need to stop there. You should also pair up your rewards with special offers to further drive consumer engagement. For instance, you could choose a certain day of the week or month (we recommend week) in which you’ll allow loyalty program members to redeem 2 rewards instead of just 1.
Another thing you can try is to run a survey. You could have your staff handle an in-store survey to find out what kinds of rewards your customers would like to get, and you could also run social media polls. Sometimes, the best way to find out how to reward your patrons is to ask them what they want to receive.
Lastly, don’t forget to take referral rewards into consideration as well. Basically, letting program members redeem 2 rewards instead of 1 if they bring a friend along with them. That’s a great way to attract new consumer interest, wouldn’t you say so?
3. Structure Your Customer Loyalty Program into Adequate Tiers
More often than not, consumers need a powerful incentive (that’s more than a simple reward) to continue being part of a loyalty program. Something that makes them feel truly appreciated for all the time and money they spend at your burger shops.
This is where loyalty program tiers come into play. They give many of your customers another reason (besides rewards) to continue investing and interacting with your loyalty program. Better yet, it also rewards them with a sense of progression on top of that.
And here’s the best part – loyalty program tiers work for lower-end consumers too. You know, the ones who just aim for the basic rewards but still continue buying from you. For example, someone who only comes into your burger shop for a quick breakfast snack, and redeems low-tier rewards like a free drink or burger – but do so almost every day.
Overall, here’s a basic outline of how you could structure program tiers:
- Tier 1 (Easy Tier) – This tier could go up to 100 loyalty points. Rewards could include things like a free upgrade, free burger, or a free soda/coffee.
- Tier 2 (Moderate Tier) – The second tier usually stands between 100 and 300 loyalty points. Items that define your brand work well as rewards, such as a branded clothing item, or a decent coupon (especially for affiliate partners’ businesses).
- Tier 3 (Difficult Tier) – This tier should be unlocked by people who accumulate over 300-500 loyalty points. The rewards should be high-quality to really show customers how much you value them. Things like a burger maker, a personalized bracelet or coffee/soda cup, a watch, or even priority reservations can do wonders.
And if you ever need an even stronger incentive to get people to progress through your loyalty program, try surprising them with an unexpected reward (from the First Tier) every once in a while. The incentive of an unpredictable win will usually keep people coming back for more, even if they don’t get rewarded every single time.
Of course, do keep in mind that those were just some standard examples. You are completely free to structure the customer loyalty program tiers however you believe they best suit your burger business.
4. Design Top-Notch Burger Shop Loyalty Cards
In many ways, a physical loyalty stamp card is the image of your customer loyalty program – so to speak. Customers keep those cards in their wallets or pockets, and are usually reminded about your burger business brand whenever they glance at them.
But to make sure your loyalty cards are 100% efficient and get the job done, there are a couple of things you must keep in mind:
- First things first – you need to ensure the logo is clearly displayed on loyalty card (both on the front and on the back). Also, don’t make the logo too small, so that people can easily recognize it.
- At the same time, you need to make sure your burger shop loyalty cards are customized with thematic colors and patterns that properly represent your brand. Whenever someone sees the stamp card, they need to be able to instantly associate it with your brand.
- The cards also need to have an adequate representation of how loyalty points work. Basically, customers must easily be able to tell how many points they earn with their money, and how many points they need to redeem a specific reward or unlock a certain tier.
- Consider making the loyalty cards customizable for customers – so that they can really feel like they made the cards “their own.” A good example of this would be letting people personalize their cards with a favorite quote or a photo of themselves. If you can spare the funds, you could also try letting people opt for a pixelated icon that represents them on the card (it might not seem like much, but stuff like that is popular with modern consumers).
- For customer convenience, make sure your stamp cards come with a keychain hole. In many cases, it’s easier (and safer) for consumers to store their loyalty cards on a keychain.
- Lastly, it’s important to ensure that your stamp cards display your burger shop’s contact details (phone number, email address, physical address), and working hours.
Also, don’t forget to make sure that all your loyalty cards come with a barcode. That will make it easier for your staff to check a specific patron’s loyalty point balance, as they’ll just need to scan the card.
While we’re on this subject, we should also mention that you should consider having a mobile version of your loyalty card developed. Basically, we’re talking about a loyalty program app that allows your customers to digitally interact with their loyalty points and rewards.
Of course, you shouldn’t aim to replace your physical burger shop loyalty cards with their mobile counterpart. After all, there still are people who prefer using physical cards – at least for now. But since loyalty apps are so convenient (both for your patrons and you), there’s no reason not to take advantage of them.
In fact, this brings us to our next – and final – point.
5. Top the Customer Loyalty Program Off with a Quality App
Once you’ve got the main program structure figured out, all that’s left is to add a mobile app into the mix. True, it might seem like a big investment at first, but do keep in mind how much you actually stand to win.
After all, according to a 2016 study, approximately 57% of modern consumers say they want to be able to interact with a loyalty program through a mobile device. It’s just more convenient for them.
And since we just discussed loyalty cards, here’s something you should know: Around 71% of consumers say they would prefer to interact with loyalty cards if they could use a mobile app to engage with them.
Also, don’t forget about the mobile market. It has grown a lot over the past years, and it’s not going to stop any time soon. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2019, the number of mobile users will go up to around 5.09 billion. Many of those users will most likely include your customers, as well as potential patrons as well.
So, giving your customer loyalty program a mobile platform will definitely work in your favor. And here’s the best part – you won’t even need to waste time and money on developing the app yourself, or having developers do it for you.
That’s because we’ve already got you covered with Spoonity – a turnkey mobile loyalty platform that is 100% white-labeled. That means everything is already designed, and the main product can be customized with your burger business’ own branding. And since we have years of experience working in the loyalty marketing industry under our belt, you can be sure the platform is designed to meet all your needs.
What’s more, Spoonity offers mobile ordering and mobile payment solutions. That will give you an edge over the competition, as mobile ordering and payments are popular trends on the market nowadays. How popular? Here’s something to think about: In-store mobile payments are expected to reach $503 billion around 2020. What’s more, mobile wallets will most likely surpass both credit and debit cards by 2020 in the US.
“Okay, but how can I be sure that Spoonity will help me meet all customer demands?”
Well, it’s all thanks to our advanced analytics. Essentially, with our customer loyalty platform, you’ll be able to learn:
- Which items on your menu your patrons like the most.
- What day of the week your customers like to stop by.
- Which burger shop they frequent the most.
- What demographics characterize your clients.
- And – most important of all – which patrons are the most profitable, and what level of loyalty characterizes them.
Plus, our loyalty program app design is extremely user-friendly and intuitive, so your clients will have no trouble getting used to it. It’ll make it extremely simple for them to check their points and interact with rewards as well.
Furthermore, our app also makes it extremely simple to communicate with your customers. Basically, you can easily let patrons know about various burger business marketing campaigns and promotions through:
- Text messages
- Push messages
- In-app notifications
On top of all that, Spoonity will also include referral features in the near future, and our platform already comes equipped with social media marketing tools.
Lastly, we should also mention that Spoonity can be integrated with any POS system. That, and scalability is never an issue for our platform.
And if you ever have any issues (highly unlikely), we’ll always be ready to help you out since we provide 24/7 customer support.
In case you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us. Also, remember to share with article with anyone you think would stand to benefit from reading it.